Date/Time - Saturday, November 17 at 2:30 p.m. CT
Stadium –Camp Randall Stadium (80,321/FieldTurf)
Television –ABC/ESPN2 (Joe Tessitore, Matt Millen and Quint Kessenich)
Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas), Sirius 113, XM 194
Series – Ohio State leads 54-18-5 (Ohio State leads 25-11-2 in Madison)
Last Meeting – Ohio State won, 33-29, on October 29, 2011 in Columbus
Last week's Badger Nation game coverage
Last meeting's Badger Nation game coverage
Dating back to 1999, the Buckeyes own a 6-5 edge, including wins in four of the teams' last five meetings.
Bret Bielema is 1-4 all-time against the Buckeyes, including a 1-1 mark in games played in Madison. First-year Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has not coached against Wisconsin in previous head coaching stops at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida.
Ohio State went 1-1 against the Badgers during Meyer's tenure as a graduate assistant in Columbus in 1986-87. That includes a 26-24 Badgers win at Camp Randall in 1987.
Historically, the 20-point threshold is an important one for the Badgers against Ohio State. Since 1992, Wisconsin is 5-1 against the Buckeyes when scoring at least 20 points. The Badgers' lone loss came in last year's 33-29 OSU win in Columbus.
In those 16 meetings dating back to 1992, the Badgers have allowed Ohio State to score more than 20 points just six times, with UW going 0-6 in those games.
Wisconsin is 7-1 in Leaders Division games since the Big Ten adopted its divisional format last season. UW's lone loss was a 33-29 setback at Ohio State last season.
This is the sixth time Ohio State has faced Wisconsin after an "off" week. The Buckeyes are 3-2 vs. the Badgers in the previous five games, including last year's 33-29 victory at Ohio Stadium.
Wisconsin will honor nine seniors as part of Senior Day on Saturday. The Badgers are 6-0 on Senior Day under Bret Bielema, and this year's senior class can tie the program record for most wins in a four-year span with a victory Saturday.
Senior RB Montee Ball needs one touchdown to match the NCAA career record of 78 set by Miami (Ohio) RB Travis Prentice. Ball has scored 13 TDs in his last six games. Two TDs by Ball would make UW the home of the NCAA's all-time leading rusher (1999 Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne) and its all-time leading touchdown scorer.
After allowing an average of 14.2 points in its last five Big Ten games, Wisconsin ranks 12th nationally in scoring defense at 17.2 points per game. The Badgers also rank 15th in total defense, allowing 309.6 yards per game, and have held each of their last five opponents under 300 total yards.
Wisconsin is riding a nine-game winning streak in the month of November. In those nine games, the Badgers have outscored their opponents 474-152.
Wisconsin has not lost a turnover in 13 consecutive quarters, finishing each of its last three games without a giveaway. Over that same span, the Badgers have forced six turnovers from their opponents.
The Badgers have averaged 3.8 penalties per game this season, the fifth-lowest average nationally. Only Kansas State (3.2), Air Force (3.4), Navy (3.4) and Kansas (3.6) average fewer flags per game than UW.
Ohio State Notes
Ohio State is one of only four unbeaten teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision and, at 10-0, is riding its longest winning streak in five years (the 2007 team also opened 10-0).
A 14-tackle performance, including a career-best 11 solo tackles and two tackles-for-loss, earned Ryan Shazier the Big Ten's defensive player of the week award following the Illinois game. It was the second consecutive week that Shazier had been honored by the Big Ten. He was co-defensive player of the week after recording eight tackles, two sacks and intercepting a pass for a touchdown in the Buckeyes' win over Penn State two weeks ago.
Ohio State's improving defense allowed just one touchdown vs. Illinois with the Illini's scores coming on two field goals, a rushing touchdown and a 77- yard fumble return (plus two-point conversion). The Buckeye defense has given up just 43 points the last three games.
Ohio State is efficient, offensively and defensively, in the red zone. The offense ranks third in the Big Ten with an 88.6 pct. (39 of 44) and it is first with 35 red zone touchdowns. The defense is second in the Big Ten, allowing opponents to score on 74.2 pct. of its trips (23 of 31), and its 15 touchdowns allowed are third-fewest in the league.
Curt Phillips remembers the last time he thought he wouldn't be able to come back and play football again.
"The second time I tore (my ACL) was probably was the most frustrating," said Phillips. "I felt like I didn't do anything to tear it. That was the most frustrating."
That ignited the fire in Phillips, which made last Saturday all that more special for the fifth-year senior. Making his first career start, Phillips went 4-for-7 for 41 yards and a touchdown. He also ran seven times of 68 yards. The numbers don't jump off the page in a positive way, but the Badgers running the football so effectively set the table that UW didn't need Phillips to throw.
Excluding kneel-downs, Wisconsin ran 68 plays verse Indiana. Of those snaps, 20 plays went for 10-plus yards, including seven plays for 20-plus yards. Excluding a pass to Derek Watt for 17 and Jared Abbrederis for 14, all the other big plays came on the ground.
Don't expect that to be the case today. This game matches the Big Ten's No. 2 (Ohio State) and No. 4 (Wisconsin) rushing offenses against the Big Ten's top two rush defenses (Wisconsin is first at 103.4 yards per game with Ohio State second at 107.9). It will be a grind, and UW will need Phillips to establish the run.
"They do a lot of different things front wise and with coverages, but it seems like they've figured out what's working best for them," said Phillips. "It seems like they are playing better as a unit, so it'll be a great test for us."
Wisconsin talks each week about putting things on film; new things to make the opponents stretch their preparation. Last week it was Phillips' ability to do things with his legs that can open up the passing game.
"It's advantage for us," said Phillips. "We can talk all we want about only throwing seven passes, but we had a lot more than that in the game plan that we didn't use. We already have things in practice that we didn't use, so we don't have to change a thing."
The Badgers may have to change some things if Chris Borland is unable to play. Borland is fighting a hamstring injury and certainly won't be at 100 percent. If he's unable to play, that's bad news for UW.
Wisconsin is 20-for-21 (.952) in the red zone in Big Ten play, scoring 16 touchdowns and going 4-for-5 on field-goal attempts (excludes their final possession verse Illinois, which ended with a kneel-down at the Illini 19). The Badgers need that kind of production to continue if it wants to have a chance.
I started the week buying into Wisconsin winning this game but as the week has gone along, especially with Borland's questionable status, I don't believe that as much. Without Borland at 100 percent, I think it's going to be hard for UW to slow down Ohio State; therefore ruining senior day.
Ohio State 28,Wisconsin 21
Straight up: 8-2
Against the Spread: 8-1
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