5 Answers: Wisconsin at Ohio State

Ohio State took two turnovers to the end zone to help stop the Wisconsin run, and the Buckeyes got more mileage out of their one big pass play than the Badgers did out of a handful of their own. We look at those issues and more in this week's 5 Answers.

1. Can Ohio State stop the run?

The immovable object won again against an irresistible force.

The Badgers averaged 217.2 yards rushing entering the contest and finished with barely half that against the Buckeyes. While the rushing total was held down by sacks, Wisconsin tailback John Clay never got going. He picked up 59 yards on 20 carries.

"They came to play," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said of his defense. "They always do. We knew they had an excellent challenge. Wisconsin's running game was excellent. Their be quarterback was the highest-rated passer in the conference coming in. They're the leading scorers in the conference coming in. Our guys knew it was going to be a challenge and what I like about them is they prepare extremely hard. If things are going well, they keep digging in. If things happen to go the wrong way, they dig in and they've got good leadership over there and good veterans to kind of run the show and if they keep getting better, they're going to be tough to deal with."

Wisconsin's best running play was an end-around by David Gilreath that saw the receiver pick up 36 yards on four tries.


2. Which team will win the turnover battle?

Part of Wisconsin's woes on offense were created by touchdown passes Badger quarterback Scott Tolzien threw to the Buckeyes.

Kurt Coleman gave the Buckeyes their first lead with an 89-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter, and Jermale Hines later make the Ohio State advantage two scores (21-10) with a 32-yard return of his own in the third quarter.

"We maintained (stopping the run) by scoring points on defense," said Ohio State defensive end Nathan Williams. "Any time you get up on a team over 14 points or whatever, they start getting nervous. They've got to get points, too, and they've got to get it fast, so they started passing the ball later in the game and we left our nickel out there and had a bunch of speed guys out there, and I think we did great."

The Badgers benefited from an interception of their own that led to their lone touchdown of the day as well.


3. Which team will do a better job of rushing the passer?

The offensive tackles for both teams have seen better days, and both teams were able to rush the passer, but Ohio State had more success. Ross Homan led the way with two sacks and Williams, Cameron Heyward, Thaddeus Gibson and Lawrence Wilson all had one apiece.

Williams thought he and fellow end Gibson would be able to win some battles with the Badger tackles.

"Anytime you can beat an offensive lineman off the edge, it really exposes them," Williams said. "We just went and brought it all day and did a good job of it. I think every week there is a chance to get the quarterback if you stop the run. To make a team one-dimensional really changes the outcome of the game, and I think that we've done a good job of that all season."

Wisconsin defensive end O'Brien Schofield also gave a strong indication reputation as a great pass rusher was well earned as he frequently got into the Buckeye backfield and had a pair of sacks himself to run his season total to 6.5


4. Which team can get more big plays out of the passing game?

Tolzien had more completions that went for double-digit yards, but the most impactful completion of the day was a connection between Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor and receiver DeVier Posey.

Pryor came out firing blanks in the first half but turned some scattered boos from around Ohio Stadium into raucous cheers by firing a 32-yard touchdown pass to Posey with 1:12 left in the second quarter.

"I saw man-to-man and DeVier Posey," said Pryor, who finished 5-for-13 passing for 87 yards with a touchdown and an interception. "He made a great catch and the line held up real well and I let it go. We practice all the time. I can make those throws all the time."


5. Just who is going to answer the bell?

By the time game day rolled around, the Buckeyes were in relatively good shape.

Of the players who missed time during the week with the flu, only former starting left tackle Andy Miller missed the game.

Left guard Justin Boren and tight end Jake Ballard both started the game and played the whole way, as did left tackle Mike Adams, who missed a day of practice because of an undisclosed injury.

Boren and Ballard both said after the game they felt having missed practice time hindered the offense's continuity and ability to execute the game plan.


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