Led by the ground attack and saved by one timely miracle, Ohio State virtually controls its own destiny in the Leaders division after an upset-victory over No. 12 Wisconsin.
With two losses in the Big Ten, and a game against Penn State down the road, OSU just completed its biggest obstacle on the road to a conference title.
If the Buckeyes win out, and Penn State loses another game in addition to its meeting with OSU, the Scarlet and Gray will represent the Leaders division in the first Big Ten championship game.
The electric atmosphere with sub-40 degree weather brought much needed life to Ohio Stadium to lift the Buckeyes over Wisconsin on homecoming night.
In his second game back this season after a six-game suspension for various infractions, senior running back Daniel “Boom” Herron proves his value to the largely one-sided Buckeye offense.
Herron was suffering from a tweaked ankle through the entire game, but was able to pick up 160 yards on the ground.
Along with junior running back Jordan Hall and freshman quarterback Braxton Miller, the Buckeyes were able to pick up 268 yards on the ground. Which is nearly all the offense OSU had in the game. Miller threw for just 89 yards through the air.
Forty yards coming on the game saving connection from Miller to freshman wide receiver Devin Smith.
Wisconsin was not fooled by the run-oriented gameplan the Buckeyes came in with, but was not able to stop it.
In OSU’s three previous Big Ten games this season, Miller only attempted 22 passes. Against Wisconsin on Saturday, Miller only attempted 12 passes, completing seven.
Special teams were a roller coaster ride Saturday, highlighted by a blocked punt. In the third quarter, freshman linebacker Ryan Shazier broke through the Wisconsin line and was able to block Wisconsin’s Brad Nortman’s punt.
Freshman linebacker Curtis Grant then jumped on the blocked punt on the 1-yard line that led to a touchdown from Hall.
Hall proved to be an adventure returning punts for the Buckeyes. Hall fumbled twice returning punts, and lost a fumble once that led to a touchdown to keep the Badgers in the game. Later with a comeback from Wisconsin nearly completed, Hall returned the kickoff to the 48-yard line to set up the game winning touchdown pass.
Hall finished the night with 9-yards on the ground and a touchdown. Miller finished the night with 99-yards on the ground and had two touchdowns on the ground and one through the air.
The Buckeyes offense will be no surprise for upcoming opponents, as they will continue to run with their strengths behind the Scarlet and Gray offensive line.
OSU will look for help from either Wisconsin or Nebraska to beat Penn State, and at that point, OSU controls its own destiny.
OSU needs to worry about its schedule, and the blocks will fall into place for a Dec. 3 appearance in Indianapolis.