5 Answers: Wisconsin at Ohio State

We take our weekly look at Ohio State's most recent win. This time we examine the Buckeyes' start, the Badgers' pass protection, Ohio State's passing game and more from the 33-29 thriller.

1. What kind of start will Ohio State have?

Maybe we should have specified which half to which we referred.

The Buckeyes weren't bad to open up the game, but they did not jump out to a lead like it seemed they would need to do in order to stick around against No. 12 Wisconsin.

The Badgers drew first blood when Christian Bryant narrowly missed an interception of a Russell Wilson pass over the middle to Montee Ball and Ball juked linebacker Andrew Sweat to clear himself for a 22-yard score.

Ohio State was outgained 105-40 in the first quarter but got on the board with a Drew Basil field goal early in the second.

The third quarter opened with a bang, however, as Dan "Boom" Herron ran 57 yards on the first play from scrimmage.

"I feel like in the first half we were just trying to figure it out, but we were doing really well just one block away from really breaking one," fullback Zach Boren said. "We were blocking well but one person wouldn't get their block and we just couldn't break it. Once we came out in the second half and Boom broke that long one, we kind of got on a role and were just going after it."

2. Will Ohio State get anything from its passing game?

Yes… eventually. And just enough, at that.

Freshman quarterback Braxton Miller completed 7 of 12 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown. The scoring toss was a 40-yarder to classmate Devin Smith with 20 seconds left in the game and proved to be the game-winner.

Numbers aside, Miller looked more confident in the pocket and delivered the ball on the money most of the night. He was also the victim of a couple of dropped passes that could have brightened up his final numbers somewhat.

"It's crazy because who knows how many times we rushed the ball tonight, but we had to have rushed for quite a lot," center Mike Brewster said. "We had 50 passing yards (until the end), but he just made a play like he did all night. He just made plays with his legs, and when we needed him to do it he made something happen. That's what he does best."

3. Which team will tackle better?

The Buckeyes did miss a couple of tackles, including Sweat's miscue on Ball's touchdown catch and another instance when the Badger running back ran through Bryant to pick up a few extra yards, but mostly they were solid in this area.

C.J. Barnett, in particular, made a handful of outstanding open field tackles, including one to stop Ball shy of the line to gain on a third-and-1 in the first quarter.

Wisconsin had a tougher time getting Buckeye ball carriers on the ground, particularly when Miller had it tucked under his arm. He made more than one Badger look silly, none more so than defensive end Brendan Kelly, who had a shot at him on a 1-yard touchdown run but grabbed nothing but air.

4. Can Wisconsin protect Russell Wilson?

Not well enough. Ohio State sacked the dangerous Badger quarterback three times and hurried him several others. They kept him in the pocket for the most part, and he had a hard time finding the range until late in the game when Wisconsin made its comeback.

Wilson completed 20 of 32 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns but rarely looked comfortable in the Horseshoe.

5. Can the Buckeyes somehow find 24 points, and will that be enough?

When Miller broke free around left end on an option keeper for a 44-yard touchdown run with 4:39 left in the fourth quarter, it looked like the answer to both questions was yes. That put Ohio State ahead 26-14, but the defense would be unable to hold the lead.

Fortunately, there was a little magic left in the youngster's right arm. Miller said he harkened back to high school practices to find the ability to locate Smith on the run in the waning seconds.

"When you get outside the pocket, keep your eyes down the field. I saw Devin and I just launched it and he caught it," Miller said. "I couldn't believe he was that wide open."

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