Wisconsin lost to Illinois on a late field goal last week and follows with a much more rigorous test this week against the surging Buckeyes. The Badgers have to win to stay in contention in the Big Ten West. A close loss would sting for Ohio State but may not be fatal, especially if there is a rematch between the teams in the Big Ten Championship. Ohio State is rolling over opponents by ridiculous scores. Two of the best running backs in the country — Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor and Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins — will be on display.
Taylor vs. the Ohio State defense. Taylor is a legit Heisman Trophy candidate, averaging 157 yards per game, with 957 total yards and 15 touchdowns. The Buckeyes defense has been tough behind new coordinators and scheme this season. Second in the nation behind Wisconsin, the unit has limited opponents to 3.57 yards per play and has compiled 29 sacks, including 9.5 by All-American defensive end Chase Young.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Wisconsin: Linebackers Zack Bahn and Chris Orr. The two have combined for 14.5 of the team’s 27 sacks, which is eighth in the nation.
Ohio State: QB Justin Fields. The Georgia transfer is making good decisions and few mistakes. He’s playing behind a fine offensive line and has Dobbins to carry the load on the ground but still makes things happen with his legs when necessary. Fields is completing over 70% of his passes and has thrown for 22 touchdowns with just one interception.
FACTS & FIGURES
Five of the last six games between the teams have been decided by seven points or less, including two overtime games. ... Taylor has 5,128 yards in 34 career games, joining Georgia’s Herschel Walker, Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne and Oregon’s LaMichael James as the only players to rush for 5,000 yards before the end of their junior season. ... Taylor needs 13 yards to move into second place on the school’s all-time rushing list.