Ohio State always seems to struggle with Wisconsin on the road and Saturday night was no different. The Buckeyes needed overtime, but moved to 6-0 with a 30-23 win. The BSB staff gives you their thoughts on the game below.
1. J.T. Barrett Is Still Clutch
It wasn’t always pretty, but when he needed to make a play, Barrett made a big one. Outside of an interception likely caused by a set football, Barrett made incredible plays with his legs on multiple occasions, extending plays and finding receivers downfield, perhaps none more important than a 43 yarder up the sideline to set up the game tying field goal. There is no doubt the Buckeyes still have some work to do in the passing game, but there might not be a more clutch performer in the Big Ten.
2. Running Game Is Not Perfect
Barrett once again saw his carries rise into the 20’s and Mike Weber carried the ball just 11 times in the win. Wisconsin’s defense is no slouch, but it seemed at times that Ohio State did not get the push up front that we are used to seeing. If running Barrett 20 times a game is going to become the norm for the Buckeyes, Ohio State could be in trouble and looking to Joe Burrow to win it some football games.
3. Penalties Are A Serious Problem
For the majority of Urban Meyer’s time at Ohio State, penalties have not been a problem. However, the Buckeyes had 15 yards of penalties on their lone possession of overtime, but still found a way to win the football game. However if you are Meyer, you have to be concerned the amount of penalties, in particular when they are coming. A holding call on Mike Weber on a Curtis Samuel run and a sideline penalty on Meyer himself contributed to stalling out what could have been solid drives for Ohio State.
4. The Ohio State Defense Is Human
In the sixth game of the season, it finally gave up its first rushing touchdown. The unit held teams to less than 100 yards rushing in the first five games, but struggled to maintain the Badgers' run game. Wisconsin notched 236 yards on the ground with running back Corey Clement being responsible for 164 of them. The running game is arguably considered the strongest part of the defense, but the Badgers revealed some weaknesses. Their offensive line created nice holes for their rushers and controlled the line of scrimmage for significant portions of the contest. Halftime adjustments by the Buckeyes, however, reduced some of the gaps Wisconsin's front created in the first 30 minutes. And when it really mattered most in overtime, the defense stymied the Badgers' ground game. OSU's stop troops will certainly have some things to work before their game next week at Penn State, but they came out with a win and have a chance to improve to 7-0.
5. Tyler Durbin Seems To Be The Real Deal
He was a perfect 3-for-3, the third of which tied the game for OSU, on field goal tries in addition to another three extra point attempts against Wisconsin. When the Buckeye offense was mightily struggling in the first half, Durbin kept the team in the game with a couple of critical field goal makes. His longest try of the night came from 40 yards out in the second quarter to trim Ohio State's deficit to 10-6. That 40 yarder is now his career long. Additionally, he is now a perfect 8 for 8 on field goal tries this season and is 38 of 39 on PATs. Although head coach Urban Meyer has admitted he doesn't like kickers, he has plenty of reasons to love Durbin. The former soccer player has shown great poise in two tough places to play - Oklahoma and Wisconsin. Going forward, Meyer may lean on his kicker to win big games and Durbin appears to be able to handles those types of situations.