Ohio State Game Grades vs. Wisconsin
The Buckeyes looked horrendous early, but they escaped Madison with a win over a Top 10 Wisconsin team. The Buckeyes didn’t do anything particularly well but did just enough to squeak out a 30-23 overtime win in one of the most hostile environments in the country.
Here’s how I graded the Buckeyes' performance on the road.
Rushing Offense: C
Ohio State’s offensive line was pushed around in the run game quite a bit throughout the night, but the line was just good enough for the Buckeyes to gain 185 yards.
J.T. Barrett had 21 carries for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel each added 46 yards on the ground. Barrett had two rushing touchdowns, including one to give the Buckeyes the lead in the fourth quarter.
Passing Offense: C-
J.T. Barrett was 17-of-29 for 226 yards and one touchdown, but he also threw a crucial first-half interception in the end zone that killed an Ohio State scoring chance. He looked more comfortable in the pocket than last week against Indiana, but that isn’t saying much.
There were times when the offensive line gave Barrett what seemed like 10 seconds to throw, and there were times where the offensive line was helpless in pass protection.
Eight different Buckeyes caught passes from Barrett, which is impressive considering he only completed 19 passes. Curtis Samuel caught six passes for 58 yards and Noah Brown had four catches for 48 yards, including the game-winning touchdown catch in overtime.
Rushing Defense: C
The Buckeyes front seven was on its toes but pushed around the entire first half, giving up nearly 100 yards on the ground to Corey Clement in the first two quarters alone. Ohio State stepped up in the trenches for the second half and held its own. Clement had 164 yards on the ground, which looks impressive on paper, but 68 of them came on one run in the first half.
The Buckeyes gave up their first rushing touchdown of the season.
Passing Defense: C+
The Ohio State secondary struggled at times in this game. The unit gave up 84 receiving yards to Badger tight end Troy Fumagalli and also 76 yards and a touchdown to wide receiver Jazz Peavy.
Damon Webb, Marshon Lattimore and Malik Hooker showed their youth at times, but Gareon Conley made a couple of huge plays down the stretch to help will the Buckeyes back into the game.
Special Teams: A+
Tyler Durbin was rock solid, which is what we have come to expect from him. He was 3-of-3 on field goals and 3-of-3 on extra points.
Cam Johnston proved once again why he is one of the best punters in the country, averaging over 50 yards per punt Saturday night. His longest punt was a booming 70-yard kick that helped the field-position battle.
Going through adversity was something this young Ohio State team could benefit from with Big Ten play coming into full effect. Next on the schedule is a trip to Happy Valley to play a night game against Penn State.
How do you think the Buckeyes looked against Wisconsin? Leave a comment below and let me know!