Ohio State vs. Wisconsin prediction and game preview. The Buckeyes visit the Badgers in a Big Ten showdown Saturday night in Madison.
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 15 – 8 p.m. ET
Where: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wisc.
TV Broadcast: ABC
The beginning of Wisconsin’s Big Ten slate couldn’t be any more difficult. At Michigan State, at Michigan, Ohio State, at Iowa, Nebraska. After splitting the first two, they had a week off to prepare for the Buckeyes, who are big favorites to remain unbeaten.
Ohio State had little trouble fending off Indiana on Saturday despite J.T. Barrett having just 93 yards through the air and throwing an interception. However, Barrett showed his dual-threat skills by rushing for 137 yards to help the Buckeyes win, 38-17. He’s going to test a solid Wisconsin defense, and the weapons he possesses offensively could be the difference in this one.
What to Know About Ohio State
The Buckeyes are 5-0 with their smallest margin of victory being 21 points. Barrett is a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender and Curtis Samuel is making a quiet case as well. Samuel rushed nine times for 82 yards and a touchdown against Indiana and is averaging 8.2 yards per carry. The duo has hooked up in the passing game plenty as well, with Samuel having 23 receptions for 345 yards and three touchdowns.
Ohio State’s defense stands as one of the best in the country, too. Only Oklahoma has gone over 300 total yards against the Buckeyes, who have forced 13 turnovers to tie for fifth in the nation in turnover margin at plus-8. They also rank second in the country in scoring defense allowing 10.8 points per game, behind only Michigan’s 10.3.
What to Know About Wisconsin
A stout Wolverines defense shut down Alex Hornibrook and the Badgers, who fell 14-7 in the Big House on Oct. 1. Hornibrook threw three interceptions in his second start since taking over for Bart Houston and finished just 9-of-25. Wisconsin will need to improve on its 159 total yards from that contest if it wants to pull off the upset Saturday night.
The defense might be able to help that cause. The Badgers allowed 349 yards against Michigan, though that was their most on the season. The Buckeyes are going to test every single spot in that defense, and Wisconsin will have to be ready with a scheme that can keep Ohio State from using its speed.
Offense: Ohio State – Barrett, Samuel and Mike Weber are leading one of the nation’s most dynamic units.
Defense: Ohio State – The secondary featuring Malik Hooker can stand up against any offense.
Special Teams: Ohio State – Wisconsin’s opponents are averaging 14.8 yards per punt return – third-most in the Big Ten – and have brought one back for a score.
Coaching: Ohio State – Urban Meyer has built a quality staff in Columbus that uses his methods to perfection.
Intangibles: Ohio State – The Buckeyes have won the last four meetings, with the most recent being a 59-0 thrashing in the 2014 Big Ten championship game before winning their first national championship under Meyer.
Matchup To Watch
Hornibrook vs. Ohio State’s secondary
Ohio State’s 10 interceptions are tied for fourth in the country, with Hooker’s four tied for the national lead and Marshon Lattimore’s three right behind. Hornibrook is a redshirt freshman making his third start, and he’ll need to make some solid decisions against a defense that will be doing everything it can to confuse him.
Spread: Ohio State -10.5
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin Prediction
Barrett throws for two touchdowns, Samuel and Weber run for one each and the defense intercepts Hornibrook twice in Ohio State’s statement victory.
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin final score prediction: Ohio State 38, Wisconsin 21