The Wisconsin Badgers and Ohio State Buckeyes will each square off against their highest-ranked opponents of the season on Saturday night when they match up under the lights of Camp Randall Stadium.
Ohio State leads the all-time series (57-18-5), and has won the last four contests. Most notably was the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game, which the Buckeyes won 59-0 en route to their national championship run. The two teams have not played one another since.
Wisconsin’s last win against Ohio State came under similar circumstances in 2010, when the Badgers defeated the No. 1 Buckeyes under the lights of Camp Randall. David Gilreath returned the opening kick-off 97 yards for a score and Wisconsin never looked back, jumping out to a 21-3 lead at halftime behind two John Clay rushing touchdowns. Wisconsin won the game 31-18.
ESPN’s College GameDay will be live from Bascom Hill from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. for the program’s second appearance at a Wisconsin game in 2016, as it aired live outside of Lambeau Field in Green Bay prior to the Badgers’ season-opening win over LSU.
GameDay was also in town for Wisconsin's last win against Ohio State on Oct. 16, 2010.
When and where is the game?
Under the lights at 7 p.m. CT at Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wis.
How can I watch?
The game will be broadcast nationally on ABC. Chris Fowler will handle play-by-play, Kirk Herbstreit will fill the role of analyst and Samantha Ponder will be roaming the sidelines.
How can I stream the game online?
Via WatchESPN.com or the WatchESPN mobile app on iOS or Android.
How can I listen to it on the radio?
Compass Media will carry the game nationally, with Gregg Daniels and Chad Brown.
Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas, Mark Tauscher and Patrick Herb will again bring you the game via the Badger Sports Network. You can head to BadgerSportsNetwork.com to find a local station. You can also listen on iHeartRadio (iOS/Android/online) by searching WIBA.
What can I expect to see?
Wisconsin (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten; Depth Chart)
Last week: 14-7 loss at Michigan
Polls: No. 8 in AP Top 25 (last week: No. 11), No. 10 in Amway Coaches Poll (last week: No. 13)
Head coach: Paul Chryst, second season at Wisconsin (14-4)
Ohio State (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten; Depth Chart)
Last week: 38-17 win vs. Indiana
Polls: No. 2 in AP Top 25 (last week: No. 2), No. 2 in Amway Coaches Poll (last week: No. 2)
Head coach: Urban Meyer, fifth season at Ohio State (55-4)
Headgear picks: College GameDay’s Lee Corso, famous for the mascot headgear picks he has been doing for 20 years, is 14-6 when choosing Ohio State’s Brutus Buckeye and 2-2 when choosing Bucky Badger, including his pick of Bucky in 2010.
Corso did pick LSU’s Mike the Tiger over Bucky on Sept. 4, and we all know how that turned out... Corso is 4-3 when picking Bucky Badger’s counterpart.
When Ohio State has the ball:
Ohio State is third in the nation in scoring at 53.2 points per game and is led by Heisman Trophy hopeful quarterback J.T. Barrett, who has thrown for 981 yards, 15 touchdowns and three interceptions. The junior has also racked up 342 yards on the ground, along with four scores.
Barrett did struggle through the air in the Buckeyes’ last game against Indiana, finishing 9-of-21 with only 93 passing yards but rushing for 137 yards. Barrett needs just three touchdowns to break Braxton Miller’s school record of 88 combined (passing and rushing).
Barrett’s top offensive weapons are running backs Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel. Weber, a redshirt freshman, is averaging a Big Ten-best 113.2 rushing yards per game. Of his 83 rushes, only two have gone for negative yardage. Samuel, a junior, leads the team in receiving and is second in rushing behind Weber. Samuel has run for 410 yards and three touchdowns while recording 345 receiving yards and another three touchdowns. Weber has amassed 566 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.
Wisconsin’s defense is fourth in the nation in scoring defense at 12.2 points per game and has been at its best against ranked opponents, allowing only 27 points in three games (three touchdowns, two field goals).
Wisconsin also possesses the top-ranked rushing defense in the Big Ten at 90.4 yards per game, but the Badgers rank ninth in the conference in passing defenses, allowing 201 yards in the air per game.
The UW defense is led by a strong corps of linebackers, including T.J. Watt, who has 29 total tackles (7.5 for loss). Watt is also the Big Ten’s leader in sacks with 5.5 and the leader in sack yardage with 47. Watt’s counterpart Vince Biegel, who had surgery to repair a fractured foot prior to Wisconsin's game against Michigan, has been ruled out for Saturday.
When Wisconsin has the ball:
Wisconsin’s offense sputtered quite a bit in its loss to Michigan, amassing only 159 yards. Freshman quarterback Alex Hornibrook, who threw for 195 yards at Michigan State, didn't fare well in the Big House, going 9-of-25 for 88 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
Corey Clement paces the Badgers’ backfield, with 319 yards and five touchdowns. He had recorded a rushing touchdown in six straight games prior to being held scoreless against Michigan, against whom he finished with 68 yards.
Running the ball against Ohio State will be no easy task, as the Buckeyes rank second in rush defense in the Big Ten at 98 yards per game and is the only team in the country to not allow a rushing touchdown.
Wisconsin’s reading receiver, Robert Wheelwright, has caught at least three passes in each of the last 10 games and has been Wisconsin’s top pass-catching option in 2016, coming in at 18 receptions through five games.
Hornibrook and the rest of the offense will need to have used their bye week wisely, as they face a daunting task this week against Ohio State’s second-best scoring defense in the nation (10.8 points allowed per game).
The Buckeyes also rank second in the Big Ten in pass defense, allowing 148.6 yards per game, and are first in interceptions with 10. Four of those have been returned for scores.
The Buckeyes feature two of the better defensive backs in the Big Ten in Malik Hooker and Marshon Lattimore. Hooker leads the Big Ten with four interceptions and Lattimore is tied for second in the conference with three picks. Each have returned one interception for a touchdown as well. Lattimore also ranks second in the conference with six passes defended.
Special teams: Something’s got to give on kickoffs, where Ohio State leads the Big Ten, averaging 30 yards per return and Wisconsin is first in kickoff coverage, with a net average of 57.2 yards. P.J. Rosowski has recorded touchbacks on 16 of 27 kickoffs (59.3 percent) this season, trailing only Iowa’s Ron Coluzzi (78.1 percent).
Wisconsin will once again be without its starting kick returner, Natrell Jamerson, who hasn’t played since he suffered a left leg injury against Akron. Jamerson has one career return for a touchdown, which went for 98 yards against Maryland in 2015. Dare Ogunbowale has been filling in nicely in Jamerson’s absence, averaging 22 yards per return, including a 41-yard return against Georgia State.
Ohio State punter Cameron Johnston leads the Big Ten in punting at 50.1 yards per punt and with a net average of 46.7 yard per punt. Wisconsin has used two punters in 2016, Anthony Lotti and Rosowski. The pair ranks 13th in the conference with 37.5 yards per punt and 14th (last) with a net average of 31.1 yard per punt.
Since losing Rafael Gaglianone for the season, Paul Chryst has passed on sending out reserve kicker Andrew Endicott for a couple of field-goal attempts, but he converted the only attempt of his career, a 41-yard field goal against Michigan.