ANALYSIS: 5 things to know about Ohio State’s blowout win over Wisconsin

Credit: Jay LaPrete

Credit: Jay LaPrete

Ohio State opened Big Ten play by thrashing Wisconsin 52-21 on Saturday night at Ohio Stadium.

The third-ranked Buckeyes ran out to a 21-0 first quarter lead and never looked back.

Here are five things to know about the game:

1. C.J. Stroud came out hot again.

The Ohio State quarterback hit nine of his first 10 passes as he found receivers open all over the field and delivered the ball to them with precision. He finished 17 for 27 for 281 yards and five touchdowns but also threw his first interception of the season.

“I think in the first half, we distributed the ball pretty well,” Stroud said. “Had some good momentum coming out quick, that’s something that we definitely want to do. And I think really everybody who touched the ball did a great job. But we built that chemistry offseason.”

2. Cade Stover was a weapon early.

The tight end has been mostly a blocker in the Ohio State offense for many years, but Stover seemed to be a key part of the passing game plan in the first half. He caught four passes, including a pair of touchdowns on play action against a Wisconsin team overplaying against the run. He finished with 51 yards receiving.

3. Ohio State had a balanced attack early before leaning more on the running game.

Nine of the Buckeyes’ first 18 plays were passes, but they ended up with 16 more runs than throws.

TreVeyon Henderson ran for 118 yards on 21 tries while Miyan Williams added 101 on 11 carries. Last time Ohio State had two 100-yard rushers in same game was 2020 at Michigan State (Trey Sermon, Justin Fields), and the last time time it was two running backs was at Indiana in 2019 (J.K. Dobbins, Master Teague).

“That’s what we’re looking for, and that’s easier said than done,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said. “You want to be able to do that and when they feel like you maybe are throwing it, then you start running it and when they feel like maybe you’re running and you spread them out a little bit and you try to get that going. Some nights it works and you get into a rhythm. Some nights it doesn’t. Tonight I felt like we did get in a rhythm.”

4. Ohio State played without three starters

Star receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and starting cornerbacks Cam Brown and Denzel Burke did not play. Injuries for Smith and Burke were not publicized by the school, but Burke had a large wrap on one hand.

Day said he does not believe Brown or Burke have long-term injuries, and he hopes to see Smith-Njigba on the practice field Tuesday.

5. The Buckeyes held Wisconsin under 300 total yards.

The Badgers finished with 296 total yards, including 75 on a late-game jaunt by Braelon Allen when the game had long been decided. Ohio State only held three teams below 300 total yards last season but has already done so three times this season.

“I felt like our guys that did a great job of gang tackling,” Day said. “There was a couple of times that maybe he could have squirted out, but we had extra guys come to the party get them down.”

Stat of the game

Ohio State had more than twice as many points (52/17) and yards (539/253) as Wisconsin had allowed in any of its first three games.

Game ball

Tommy Eichenberg had 14 tackles, including two for loss, as Ohio State mostly kept the talented Allen in check until late against the backups.

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