That, friends, was a dogfight.
In a classic Big Ten mid-October battle, the Ohio State Buckeyes outlasted the Wisconsin Badgers in Camp Randall Stadium, 19-14. The game was filled with big plays, and in the end, it was the Buckeyes who came up with the biggest. Craig Krenzel's play went a long way in helping OSU to win as he threw for 204 yards on 12 of 19 passing and 2 TDs, and his biggest passes went to Michael Jenkins, who had 5 catches for 114 yards and 1 TD. Maurice Clarett carried the ball 29 times for 132 yards and helped OSU eat up the clock at the end for the win. Wisconsin RB Anthony Davis had a fine day in the loss as he ran for 145 yards on 25 carries, and wide receiver Jonathan Orr also had a big day for the Badgers as he went for 107 yards on 4 catches and a TD. In the end though, it was not enough.
Things started quickly for the Buckeyes. OSU took the kickoff and started at their own 25, and on the first play of their first series, Maurice Clarett ran for 25 yards. After a short run by Chris Gamble, Craig Krenzel hit Michael Jenkins on a slant and Jenkins outran everyone for a 47-yard touchdown. The PAT made it 7-0 OSU.
On the following drive, Wisconsin held it for a few plays but was stopped when safety Will Allen came in on the blitz. The Badgers punted to OSU, but OSU could not do much as their drive was hampered by penalties and had to punt it back. The Badgers took over at their own 34, and from there, Anthony Davis ran for 20, there was a short pass, and then Davis broke a big one as he carried it in from 41 yards. The PAT tied the game at 7.
OSU showed more big play capability on the next drive though as they took over on the 20 and shortly after, Craig Krenzel hit a deep pass to Chris Gamble for a 48-yard passing play. The Buckeyes were in good position, but they couldn't punch it in for a TD, and after a few plays, they had to settle for a 27-yard Nugent field goal. The kick was Nugent's 16th straight, which was good for the all-time OSU record.
On the next drive, Wisconsin made the first big mistake of the game as a botched snap on the second play gave the ball back to OSU as Mike Doss recovered the fumble at the Wisconsin 32. OSU ran a few plays and came upon a first and goal inside the 10, but they could not get it across the goal line and had to settle for another Nugent field goal, this one from 25 yards.
The Buckeyes led 13-7, but on the following drive, Wisconsin was moving the ball on the ground well again as they moved the ball down into OSU territory. But the Buckeye defensive line came up big as a Cie Grant sack and a Simon Fraser sack moved Wisconsin backwards, forcing them to punt. Wisconsin's coverage team came up big though as the punt took a good bounce and they were able to down it at OSU's 1 yard line.
Ohio State was able to move the ball out of dangerous territory as they got it out past the 20, but they could not get further and had to punt. Andy Groom hit a good one, causing Wisconsin to start at their own 21, but the Badgers, who were lacking in big plays coming in, would hit another one on this drive. Jim Sorgi was in at quarterback now (Bollinger had been knocked around and would not re-enter the game as he was diagnosed with a slight concussion), and after a couple good Davis runs, Sorgi hit wide receiver Jonathan Orr deep for a 42-yard touchdown strike. The PAT gave Wisconsin the 14-13 lead. OSU got the ball back but went three-and-out, and the Badgers then sat on the ball to go into halftime with the lead.
The Badgers started the second half with the ball on their own 35 after Nugent kicked the ball out of bounds. On the drive, Cie Grant went out with a high ankle sprain and did not return for the rest of the game, but A.J. Hawk came in and filled in right away as he had a sack that helped stop the drive. The Badgers had to punt back to the Buckeyes, but the Bucks had to punt it back after six plays on the next drive.
Wisconsin started moving the ball again on the next drive, but the Buckeye D was able to stop them and force a punt. The punt failed though as Darrion Scott crashed through the line, and when he went to block the punt, punter R.J. Morse moved to avoid him and was then tackled by Simon Fraser. The Buckeyes had a big opportunity as they took over at Wisconsin's 42, but they went three and out and had to punt the ball back. The punt would be another fine one by Andy Groom though as the ball hit at around the Wisconsin 20 and rolled further until it was downed at the 1 by OSU.
The Badgers were able to move out of the bad field position with some Anthony Davis runs and a couple of passes, but the Buckeye D eventually held on 3rd down and forced another punt. The Buckeyes took over at their own 12, and after Clarett and Krenzel each had carries, OSU was faced with a third down deep in their own territory. What happened next was one of the biggest plays of the game -- Craig Krenzel threw the ball downfield deep, which was caught by Michael Jenkins while being covered by two defenders for a 45-yard gain.
After the catch, the OSU offense seemed to gather steam. Maurice Clarett carried a couple of times, and then Krenzel made another big play on a third down as he rolled out and kept the ball for a 16-yard gain. After a couple more Clarett runs, the Buckeyes had a 1st down at the 3-yard line, and on a fine fake, Krenzel turned around and hit Ben Hartsock for his second TD throw of the day. An attempt for a two-point conversion failed, but the Buckeyes now had the lead 19-14.
Wisconsin took over on their own 20, and they would come up with another big play of their own. The Buckeyes had the Badgers in a 3rd and 11 situation, but Jim Sorgi hit Jonathan Orr on a 42-yard strike to move it down to within OSU territory. However, three plays later, the Badgers had another third down situation and elected to go deep once again, but Chris Gamble, who was in the game at CB and had one-on-one coverage, jumped up and made a huge interception. His momentum carried him into the end zone, and the Buckeyes took over at the 20.
The Buckeyes were not out of the woods yet as they went three-and-out, but Andy Groom would help once again as he boomed a 74-yard punt that went into the end zone, giving the Badgers the ball at their own 20. The Badgers t