They say that close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, but there was nothing close about the matchup between No. 3 Ohio State (4-0, 1-0 conference) and Wisconsin (2-2, 0-1 conference) at the Horseshoe, as the Buckeyes took a grenade to the Badgers, 52-21.
From the opening whistle, Ohio State dominated every facet of the game, outgaining Wisconsin, 539-296 and converting on third down, 7-11 times and its only attempt on fourth down.
Wisconsin converted 6-13 on third down and failed to convert on its only fourth down conversion attempt.
The Buckeyes scored fast and often, scoring on their first five offensive possessions of the game, with only one of their eight scoring drives taking longer than three minutes, 38 seconds to materialize.
Ohio State’s longest scoring drive of the game took 13 plays, 68 yards, 6:11 and ended with a Noah Ruggles 25-yard field goal.
Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud carved up the Badger defense, completing 17-27 passes for 281 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.
Stroud broke a school record in the game, recording his seventh game with five or more touchdown passes.
Heading into the game, the Buckeyes announced they would be without Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who is one of Ohio State’s more talented receivers, but his absence did not slow down the offense.
Stroud completed passes to four different receivers in the game, tossing two touchdown passes to both Emeka Egbuka and Cade Stover, with Julian Fleming scoring once.
Egbuka led all receivers in the game with six receptions for 118 yards, while Stover was featured early and often, hauling in all four of his receptions for 51 yards on the Buckeyes first three drives.
The Buckeye offense also had its way with the Badgers on the ground as well, as the Buckeyes had two backs rush for 100 or more yards in the game, for the first time since 2019.
Treveyon Henderson rushed 21 times for 121 yards and Miyan Williams rushed 11 times for 101 yards and two touchdowns.
At the half, the Buckeyes had rushed for 100 yards before coming into contact with a Badger defender.
Defensively, Wisconsin was led by Maema Njongmeta, who recorded a team-high nine tackles and John Torchio, who recorded seven tackles and his second interception of the season.
The Badger defense was unable to stop the Buckeyes for a loss in the game, as no Badgers recorded a tackle for loss, or a sack.
Offensively, the only bright spot for Wisconsin was Braelon Allen, who finished the game with 165 yards on 23 rushes, including a 75-yard rushing touchdown, which came about half way through the fourth quarter.
Allen has now rushed for 100-or-more yards in 10 or his 15 collegiate games.
Allen, who started off several plays throughout the game in the wildcat formation, also completed his only pass attempt of the night — a 10-yard pass to Jack Eschenbach, to convert a third down.
Graham Mertz had a hard time finding his footing against the Buckeyes defense, going 11-20, for 94 yards and threw his third interception on the season, on Wisconsin’s opening drive of the game. The Buckeyes scored their second touchdown of the game, two plays later.
Mertz did however, throw a 2-yard touchdown pass to fullback Jackson Acker and Mertz scored Wisconsin’s first touchdown of the game, on a quarterback sneak, to cap off a 10-play, 72 yard drive in the second quarter.
Skyler Bell led Wisconsin in receiving, with four receptions for 55 yards.
Wisconsin’s third-leading receiver, Clay Cundiff left the contest, with what appeared to be a left ankle injury.
Wisconsin will return home next weekend, to host former head coach, Bret Bielema, who is in his second season at the healm of the Illinois Fighting Illini (3-1, 0-1 conference).