Buckeyes Expect Badger Bounce Back

The general wisdom holds that Wisconsin will have a tough time rebounding from its last-second loss last Saturday at Michigan State that ruined its chances at a national championship. Is that wisdom true? Most Buckeyes say no. Ohio State has been able to come back from tough losses in past years and thus expects the Badgers to be ready come Saturday.

It wouldn't be a stretch to say the Ohio State football team knows what Wisconsin is going through right now.

Heck, it happened exactly one year ago to the Buckeyes.

In 2010, Ohio State was ranked No. 1 in the country after six games, had national title thoughts in its head – and then lost on the road in a nationally televised contest.

That, of course, was to Wisconsin.

Now, the shoe is on the other foot. The Badgers are the ones who must rebound coming into Ohio Stadium as one week ago, they were the nation's fourth-ranked team before losing a heartbreaker on a last-play Hail Mary at Michigan State.

And for those who expect the Badgers to be blue coming into the capital city, take note – the Buckeyes came back from last year's loss to blast Purdue by a 49-0 score.

"We went through that last year," OSU tight end Jacob Stoneburner said. "That next week, you definitely practice a lot harder. You want to come back and you want to blow that opponent out because you're pissed that you lose. We have to make sure that we're prepared for that."

More recently, Ohio State showed the intestinal fortitude to come back from a punch to the gut of its own. The Buckeyes blew a three-touchdown third-quarter lead Oct. 8 at Nebraska, allowing four unanswered touchdowns in a 34-27 loss that was – see a theme here? – at night and on the road to a conference opponent.

In moments such as those, teams find out what they are made of, and Ohio State showed what it takes one week later with a win at then-No. 16 Illinois.

"Anytime you're coming off a loss, you have that nasty taste in your mouth and you have that urge that the next team you play, you want to just go out there and showcase your talent and show them what you're capable of," OSU cornerback Travis Howard said. "Anybody, anytime that they lose, especially a loss like that, it's just tough and you want to get out there the next week and prove a lot of people wrong."

Cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson was a bit more loquacious, describing what goes on in a team facility as a team tries to successfully get over a crushing loss.

"Obviously, anytime you lose, you're crushed," Johnson said. "You're devastated. Once you come in the next day you watch it, you learn from it, you really try to figure out the exact reasons why things happened, just as you do if you win a game, and then you have to let it go. That's why we practice on Sundays because we have to get over it. We have to move on after that film. That thing is done, the book is closed, we're moving on to the next week.

"And then we're going to get out there and start moving around and practicing, and that's the only time you feel better. That's the only time we feel better as coaches, when we get all the guys back in the building. When you get around your team and you get around everyone and everyone has the same goal and everyone wants to learn, (you say), ‘Let's close the book.' Because guess what? The team you play next week, they really don't care."

That seemed to emulate the message Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema gave to his team after the loss to the Spartans. Bielema told the media Monday afternoon that though his team – which has lost only three times in the past two seasons – isn't used to having to bounce back, it expects to be able to against the Buckeyes.

"I think the biggest thing is what kind of kids you have in your program, what kind of character you have, and then also just what are they willing to sacrifice to make it not happen again?" Bielema said. "I said to them, ‘I want everyone to hear me on this one – you should never get used to this feeling. This feeling should hurt. It should be in your mind.' "

Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson said on a conference call that the Badgers can't look ahead at goals still achievable and focus on the Buckeyes, and Johnson said the Badgers' veteran team will be able to move on.

"You talk about a veteran team that is senior-heavy," Johnson said. "They're able to get rid of that, understand it, look at it, learn from it and they'll be ready. There's no doubt. They're not young enough where they're going to hang on to it. They'll be ready to go."

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