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Fifth Quarter Consensus: Badgers bounce back, take second straight from Buckeyes

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Nick Toon looks to help the Badgers rebound from their first loss of the season Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.
Nick Toon looks to help the Badgers rebound from their first loss of the season Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.

The Predictions:

Louis Bien (+106): Wisconsin 30, Ohio State 17

Jake Harris (+110): Wisconsin 31, Ohio State 14

Adam Hoge (+113): Wisconsin 34, Ohio State 17

Sam Zastrow (+115): Wisconsin 34, Ohio State 24

John Veldhuis (+123): Wisconsin 31, Ohio State 21

Chuck Schwartz (+124): Wisconsin 38, Ohio State 17

Phil Mitten (+136): Wisconsin 28, Ohio State 20

Adam Tupitza (+146): Wisconsin 31, Ohio State 26

The Reasoning

Few teams have learned what a difference a year makes the way Ohio State has this season. The Buckeyes still have not recovered from the tattoos-for-memorabilia scandal that cost former head coach Jim Tressel his job, struggling to a 1-2 start in Big Ten play.

Offensively, OSU will try and avoid situations that require freshman quarterback Braxton Miller to throw the football. Miller has completed just 51 percent of his passes for 67.2 yards per game in his first year as the Buckeyes' signal-caller. Terrelle Pryor's sudden departure from the team during the offseason combined with Joe Bauserman's ineptitude to force Miller into action early. He completed just one pass in a victory at Illinois two weeks ago.


The Buckeyes' running game got a boost from the return from suspension of Dan Herron. The senior tailback ran for 1,155 yards in 2010 and is averaging 5.0 yards per carry this season. Carlos Hyde leads the team with 408 rushing yards and five touchdowns.

The Badgers successfully limited Pryor's production in three games against him and should be able to do the same to the unpolished Miller. Look for Wisconsin to focus on stopping the run, forcing Miller to stay in the pocket and challenging him to complete passes downfield. The Buckeyes are 89th in the country in points per game and that includes a 42-point outburst against Akron. Signs point to a frustrating evening for the OSU offense against the Badgers.

Defensively, the Buckeyes are talented. They allow just 16.3 points per game and have forced 13 turnovers through seven games. The Badgers, though, rank fifth in the nation in points per game and had no trouble scoring on Michigan State's vaunted defense. It took two interceptions, a blocked field goal attempt, a blocked punt, a safety and a successful Hail Mary for the Spartans to overcome the 31 points UW scored.

Still, this is a night game on the road in a stadium that seats over 102,000 and against a team seeking to avenge its only regular-season loss of 2010. The Badgers must be careful not to let Michigan State beat them twice.

Who has the edge?

Offense: Wisconsin

Defense: Wisconsin

Special Teams: Ohio State

Coaching: Wisconsin

Intangibles: Wisconsin

Fun Facts

Wisconsin running back Montee Ball has rushed for fewer than 5.0 yards per carry in just one game this season.

Ohio State has already suffered three losses in 2011, which matches its total number of losses in 2009 and 2010 combined.