Wisconsin entered its game Saturday at Ohio State with an 8-for-12 mark on fourth-down conversions. So when the Badgers faced fourth-and-one at the Buckeye 46 on their first offensive possession, their was no hesitation.
"I wanted to send a message to our players that we went to Ohio State to win," Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez said Monday, following the Badgers' 24-13 victory.
On the fourth-down play, though, Buckeye defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock burst past Wisconsin center Donovan Raiola and slowed down tailback Anthony Davis, allowing two Buckeyes to stop him shy of the first down.
"There are two different trains of thought," Alvarez said. "You can play the field position game and say it's a defensive battle, try to knock it down inside the 20 and get the ball back in good field position or you can think, ‘I've got a good defense myself and if we don't make it—if I didn't think we could make it I wouldn't have gone for it—but our defense will get the ball back for us.'"
Wisconsin's defense did get the ball back, forcing Ohio State to punt without picking up a first down.
"The defense has responded all year and there was no reason for us to let down at that time just because our offense was not able to convert," cornerback Scott Starks said. "He knew that the defense was going to hold up."
"I wanted to keep the football and I wanted to send a message that we went down there to win," Alvarez said. "I wanted to get a first down."
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