Ohio State vs. Wisconsin: Postgame Grades from Buckeyes' Win vs. Badgers

Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistNovember 17, 2012

Ohio State vs. Wisconsin: Postgame Grades from Buckeyes' Win vs. Badgers

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    The Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the Wisconsin Badgers 21-14 in overtime in a hard-fought battle. The Buckeyes moved to 11-0 , while the Badgers dropped to 7-4 on the season.

    It was a hard-fought battle between two teams that relied on the running game. The Buckeye's spoiled Wisconsin running back Montee Ball's final game at Camp Randall Stadium. Ohio State took the lead late in the first quarter and never trailed. Wisconsin rallied from a 14-0 deficit to force overtime.

    Ohio State clinched the outright Leaders Division title and now prepare to face Michigan next Saturday for a chance at an undefeated season.

Quarterback—C

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    Braxton Miller—C

    In the first half, Miller was able to lead the offense down the field pretty easily. The offense did not put up a ton of points, but Wisconsin had trouble stopping Miller until the second half. Once the Badgers controlled the line of scrimmage, Miller never had a chance.

    Miller had a couple of key runs in overtime that set the Buckeyes up for the game-winning touchdown. 

    This was probably his worst overall performance of the season in terms of statistics. He failed to go over 100 yards rushing or passing and did not even get 150 total yards.

    Not only did he not get many yards, he failed to scored a touchdown for the first time all season. Buckeye fans are used to seeing him get at least a rushing touchdown, but the team needed Carlos Hyde to pound it in once it got near the end zone.

Running Backs—B+

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    Carlos Hyde—B+

    The numbers look good: 15 carries, 87 yards, two touchdowns. Carlos Hyde deserves an “A” for his performance, but he was unable to ice the game in the fourth quarter.

    His 15-yard touchdown in the second quarter gave Ohio State a 14-0 lead, and it looked like they would be able to control the line of scrimmage. After that score, he got an occasional carry but not many.

    Hyde has the ability to pound the ball, but he did not get many chances to help the team in the second half. His 11-yard run in overtime set the tone, and he was able to score three plays later for the game-winning touchdown.

    Had the Buckeyes lost, fans would have questioned Meyer's use of Hyde. Luckily, Hyde managed to win the game for Ohio State in overtime.

Wide Receivers—C

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    It's tough to grade the receivers because they weren't involved much, but they made plays when they were involved.

    Corey Brown—C+

    Brown was one of the players of the game, and he had a good offensive performance as well. It was a quiet day for the receiving corps, but Brown managed to lead the team with 48 yards on catches. 

    Devin Smith—C

    Like Brown, he did not have many chances to catch the ball. He had four catches for 41 yards, and he did nothing to hurt the team. It's tough to find something wrong with the receivers in limited action.

Tight Ends—F

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    Nick Vannett and Jeff Heuerman—C

    Vannett had one catch for five yards, and Heuerman had one catch for only three yards. It's a generous grade for having such a little impact. However, they did nothing to hurt the team and had some blocks.

    Jake Stoneburner—F

    What has happened to Stoneburner this season? He has rarely been used this season despite making some big plays last season. He did not have a catch in this game, but he killed the offense's momentum in the first quarter.

    On first down at Wisconsin's 40, Stoneburner had a ball go right through his hands. Ohio State punted three plays later. On the next drive, he was unable to catch a ball at Wisconsin's 38. The Buckeyes were forced to punt two plays later.

Offensive Line—B

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    Offensive Line Overall Game Grade—B

    The offensive line did a pretty good job in this game. They opened up holes for Hyde to run through. If they had been able to have a better performance in the fourth quarter, they would have earned a higher grade.

    Center Corey Linsley had several high snaps that forced Miller to reach high to get, but there were no snaps that got past the quarterback. 

    Going up against Wisconsin's defensive line is no easy task, but the Ohio State offensive line was up to the task.

    Most of Miller's short runs came on the outside, where the offensive line had very little impact.

    The line gave Miller pretty good protection throughout the game. He was sacked only three times, although one of the sacks was due to Miller running around trying to make a play.

Defensive Line—B-

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    Overall Defensive Line Game Grade—B-

    In the first half, Montee Ball was unstoppable. He ran all over the defense but couldn't find the end zone in the beginning. It looked like he was going to dominate the line all day. Yes, he finished with 191 yards. That being said, he had to earn his yards at the end of the game.

    The defensive line allowed the Badgers to run for 206 yards, but Ball only managed to get in the end zone after wearing down the defense in the second half.

    John Simon had himself a game. He had three sacks, including one in overtime. It made the Badgers go even further if they wanted to score the equalizer.

    The defensive line was responsible for the big goal-line stand in the fourth quarter. At that point, it looked like the defense had done just enough to win.

Linebackers—C+

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    Overall Linebacker Game Grade—C+

    It was a pretty quiet day for the linebackers despite having to deal with Montee Ball.

    The linebackers were able to keep Ball from breaking a big run, but they were occasionally out of position.

    Zach Boren found himself in the wrong spot and left a receiver wide open at one point. Boren rebounded with some big hits and made some key plays.

    Ryan Shazier went out with an injury after making a big hit but returned to make the play of the game. He forced a fumble at the goal line on fourth down to give the ball back to the offense with a chance to end the game.

    Other than that, the linebackers played solid defense without making many mistakes.

Defensive Backs—B

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    Overall Defensive Backs Game Grade—B

    The secondary got off to a rough start. Chase Hammond got one-on-one coverage down the field on the first play, but he was unable to hang on the ball as he came to the ground for a big play. Two plays later, Jared Abbrederis got behind the coverage. Again, the pass was incomplete.

    After the shaky first drive, the pass coverage was pretty strong. They held Wisconsin to only 154 passing yards for the game. 

    Bradley Roby came up with a huge pass breakup a few plays before the goal-line stand. It looked like Derek Watt had an easy touchdown, but Roby came out of nowhere to knock the ball out of Watt's hands.

    Christian Bryant came up with the fumble in the fourth quarter and moved it away from the end zone to give the Buckeyes room to work with.

    In overtime, the secondary played well. They got help from the defensive line, but they made it tough for Curt Phillips to find an open receiver.

     

Special Teams—C-

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    Corey "Philly" Brown—A

    Brown got the Buckeyes on the board with a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter. He took a low point right up the middle and went into the end zone untouched. The Buckeyes kept the lead until the Badgers tied the game with eight seconds remaining.

     

    Punter Ben Buchanan—F

    Ben Buchanan was one of the key players through the first three quarters of the game. He pinned Wisconsin in their own territory and even at the 1-yard line in the first quarter. 

    Then came the fourth quarter.

    On consecutive punts, Buchanan failed to get the ball past midfield with a 14-7 lead. That put the defense in a bad spot. The defense came through once but couldn't get a second stop in the final minute.

    Those two punts each looked like it let Wisconsin back in the game. Luckily, the Buckeyes managed to pull out the victory in overtime.

Coaching—D+

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    Coaching Staff—D+

    It would be an "F" had the defense not been spectacular in the second half.

    It is irresponsible to allow Braxton Miller to have 23 carries, or eight more than Carlos Hyde. Miller was taking some shots, which will eventually catch up to him. Some of those carries were option, but the coaching staff needs to take the ball out of his hands. He barely averaged two yards per carry, so it's not like he was being effective with the ball.

    Some fans will say Urban Meyer played "Tressel ball." False. Tressel would have given the ball to his power back in the second half. Hyde had only 10 touches in the second half and overtime.

    Hyde averaged nearly six yards per carry but couldn't move the ball when it mattered the most in the fourth quarter.

    To only take one shot at the end zone when the offense had the ball in Wisconsin territory was brutal. The pass fell incomplete, but it was a sign that they were playing to win.

    Meyer's strategy was good enough to sneak out another win, but he can't allow his quarterback to get hit the way he did against Wisconsin. 

    A win's a win.