Wisconsin versus Ohio State isn't the most flashy rivalry in the Big Ten but in recent years its been heating up. Ohio State has pulled out some late football games at Camp Randle; while the basketball teams have been battling for Big Ten titles since Alando Tucker and Greg Oden.
Wisconsin's season was derailed from expectations with the loss to Michigan State and hope to keep Big Ten title and Rose Bowl dreams alive tonight. But the game is much bigger than that, it's the game of the week, and scout.com has confirmed seven recruits are visiting Wisconsin tonight most notably top tight end Nick O'Leary and quarterback Jacoby Brissett. But we all know that there are more than just those seven visiting this weekend and a win against the Buckeyes could solidify next years recruiting class.
This puts added pressure on a Bret Bielema who is 0-3 vs. Ohio State and 1-8 vs ranked Big Ten opponents. Not to mention the distraction from the spiteful two point conversion attempt against Minnesota last week.
Five keys that have to happen for Bucky to get a win tonight:
1. Scott Tolzien can't just be serviceable tonight. He has to stretch the defense early and get the Buckeye defense back pedaling. Tonight has to be one of those pass to run games, Ohio State's defense is far to good to just pound on the ground and throw the ball on third and long.
2. With Chris Borland out for season the linebacker crew has extra pressure to perform against elite level talent. The linebackers must contain Terrelle Pryor and force him to stay in the pocket and throw. Not to mention stop the run.
3. The secondary can't play they're notorious bend don't break defense because any quarterback that's worth a damn will pick it a part underneath, which happens game after game, reference the Michigan State game if you want proof. Wisconsin's corners are going to have to play tight and rely on the safeties if they get beat deep.
4. Terrelle Pryor will make throwing mistakes and the linebackers and secondary have to capitalize on those mistakes to win. If Wisconsin can force multiple turnovers the odds of winning goes up dramatically.
5. Special teams has been Wisconsin's Achilles heel for years now and continues to hurt the Badgers in a big way. If the special teams can avoid giving up big returns and big field position it would go along way in helping the defense.
Odds are not in Wisconsin's favor tonight but there have been bigger upsets in this rivalry notably the 2003 match up when quarterback Jim Sorgi was choked on the bottom of a pile. His replacement, no name quarterback Matt Scharbet hooked up on a perfect pass to Lee Evans breaking the game open in UW's favor. Everything has to go Bucky's way tonight for a victory, if anything it'll be fun to watch.
Go check out my article on the men's basketball team.