Many around the country were waiting for No. 4 Ohio State to prove itself against a legitimate team after rolling through four easy nonconference matchups to open the year.
After dispatching No. 23 Wisconsin 31-24 in Columbus Saturday night, one thing became definitively clear: Ohio State is a worthy contender in the BCS title race.
The Buckeyes (5-0) extended the nation's longest winning streak to 17 with the victory. Defeating the Badgers (3-2) also gave Ohio State the inside track to claim the Leaders Division.
The victory also gave the Buckeyes' reputation a huge boost, as they now have a quality win on their resume.
Wisconsin came into the 'Shoe averaging 350 rushing yards per game. Badgers running back Melvin Gordon was leading the country with 624 rushing yards and an unbelievable average of 11.8 yards per carry.
The Buckeyes held Wisconsin to just 104 yards on the ground, and Gordon, who has touchdown runs of 65, 70 and 80 yards already this year, had a long of just 16 against the Buckeyes on his way to a season-low 75 yards and no touchdowns.
The Badgers ended up throwing the ball a lot more than anticipated, but Ohio State defensive end Adolphus Washington thinks that the Buckeyes played a big part in that, according to the team's official website.
“I think a lot of that had to do with us," Washington said. "We prepared this week to stop the run and we did. They had to adjust and made the decision to throw the ball more.”
Ohio State was also very productive against one of the country's top defenses.
Wisconsin came into the game allowing just 10.5 points per game, good for 10th in the nation, but the Buckeyes put up 31 in three quarters before playing ultra-conservative, kill-the-clock football in the final 15 minutes.
Braxton Miller showed no signs of rust, completing 68 percent of his passes for 198 yards and four touchdowns (against no interceptions) to complement 83 rushing yards on 22 carries.
Urban Meyer thinks Wisconsin is better than its record shows, according to Zac Jackson of Fox Sports Ohio.
Meyer on Wisconsin: "I think that team is very good, should have been undefeated if not for some ridiculous call."— Zac Jackson (@FSOhioZJackson) September 29, 2013
Meyer, of course, is referring to Wisconsin's debacle against Arizona State. The Badgers were in an excellent position to beat the Sun Devils with a late field goal in Week 3, but the refs mismanaged Wisconsin's last play, which can be seen in the video here.
That loss hurt Wisconsin's ranking, but it didn't change the fact that the Badgers can field an outstanding squad. Ohio State beat a very talented football team Saturday night, and in doing so, it solidified itself as one of college football's top title contenders.
All stats via ESPN.com.
David Regimbal is the Ohio State Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.
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