Ohio State pulled away from Wisconsin in the third quarter, improving to 8-0 on the season with a 38-7 win over the Badgers on Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
This one wasn’t as easy as the first seven, but it ended up being fairly comfortable when all was said and done.
Leading 10-0, Ohio State received the opening kickoff of the second half with a chance to take firm control of the game.
Instead the Buckeyes let Wisconsin draw within three points.
Ohio State went three-and-out then saw Drue Chrisman’s punt partially blocked.
That gave the Badgers the ball at the Ohio State 30, and they cashed in when Jack Coan floated a 26-yard pass to A.J. Taylor, who was behind Shaun Wade and in front of Jeffrey Okudah and hauled it in.
The Buckeyes responded to that game pressure by flexing their muscles, sandwiching a pair of touchdown drives around a three-and-out from their defense, and cruising to victory.
Justin Fields capped the first drive with a 10-yard run, and J.K. Dobbins did the honors the second time with a 9-yard run to put Ohio State on top 24-7 with a little more than six minutes left in the third quarter.
Dobbins scored again — this time from 14 yards out — early in the fourth quarter, and the rout was on.
The Buckeyes added another score with 7:34 left when Fields connected with Olave again, this time from four yards out.
Dobbins finished with 163 yards rushing and two touchdowns while his backup, Master Teague, added 76.
They both bettered Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor, who entered the day as the Big Ten’s leading rusher but managed just 52 yards on 20 carries.
Chase Young led the Ohio State defense with a single-game school-record-tying four sacks.
FIRST HALF RECAP
Ohio State took a hard-earned 10-0 lead over No. 13 Wisconsin into the locker room at halftime Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
Justin Fields hit Chris Olave for a 27-yard touchdown catch with 43 seconds left in the second quarter to put the third-ranked Buckeyes up two scores after some early misfires.
Wisconsin’s top-ranked defense shut out Ohio State in the first quarter, thanks in no small part to the Buckeyes themselves.
Their first drive was short-circuited when Fields was thrown for a 7-yard loss on a second-down snap that appeared to come before most of the team was ready for it.
They got something going on the second drive before Fields mishandled a shotgun snap and wasn’t able to do anything with it on a third down.
Ohio State’s third drive coming up empty was more the Badgers’ doing as a Chris Orr sack caused an 8-yard loss the Buckeyes weren’t able to overcome before having to punt again.
The Buckeyes got as far as the Wisconsin 27 on their fourth drive but had to settle for a 49-yard Blake Haubeil field goal after a Thayer Munford holding penalty put them off schedule.
Ohio State picked up 85 yards in its final drive of the half to finish the first 30 minutes with 180.
Fields completed 8 of 14 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown while absorbing four sacks.
J.K. Dobbins ran for 51 yards while Olave was the top pass-catcher with 56 yards on four grabs.
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Meanwhile, the Ohio State defense kept the Badgers in check, holding them to 72 total yards and 2.5 yards per play.
The Buckeyes sacked Jack Coan three times, including two by Chase Young, and held star running back Jonathan Taylor to 25 yards on 12 carries.
The Badgers’ best play of the first half was a 27-yard run by receiver Aron Cruckshank, who took the snap and seemed to catch the Buckeyes off guard.
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