The Badgers remained competitive for a majority of the game, but couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities, while Buckeyes running back TreVeyon Henderson gashed the Badgers for 162 yards on 24 carries, which proved to be the difference in the game.
Here are three quick takeaways from the Badgers 24-10 loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes.
From the get-go, it seemed that the run game was going to play a crucial role on both sides.
For Wisconsin, against a tough Ohio State defense, they were going to have to rely on star Braelon Allen, especially with redshirt freshman quarterback Braedyn Locke in the fold.
Unfortunately, Allen fumbled twice, of which one was lost, on the Badgers’ first two offensive drives, which made offensive coordinator Phil Longo seem to lose confidence in Wisconsin’s run game.
Following Allen’s second fumble, the Badgers threw five straight times, which killed two of their offensive drives, due to some inaccurate throws, drops by receivers, and good plays defensively.
To make matters worse, Allen was injured on the second-to-last play of the first half due to a lower-leg injury, ruling him out for the remainder of the game, and the Badgers didn’t recover on the ground, as backup Jackson Acker failed to run for at least four yards per carry when on the field.
Meanwhile, the Buckeyes saw success on the ground, as running back TreVeyon Henderson ran for 162 on 24 yards per carry, which was the biggest takeaway from the game.
At the beginning, I pointed out how the running game would be the difference for the Buckeyes, and Henderson consistently was able to find space on runs to the edge in this one, as the Badgers were either held on uncalled penalties, or couldn’t get out in time on those plays.
As a result, the Buckeyes were able to develop both elements of the ball, leading to the 24-10 victory over the Badgers.
The Badgers had certain stretches of success on the ground, but the difference between their rushing attack and the Buckeyes’ rushing attack proved to be the difference in this one.
Early on, I wasn’t that pleased with offensive coordinator Phil Longo’s gameplan in this game.
The Badgers seemed to favor a more pass-heavy approach early on, rather than rely on the run game in this one, leading to a difference between them and the Buckeyes.
While Braelon Allen did cough up the football twice early on, I did think it was important to still rely on the run, helping out redshirt freshman quarterback Braedyn Locke, but that didn’t happen.
As a result, the Badgers couldn’t capitalize on opportunities offensively, despite the defense doing their job, and ultimately couldn’t score enough points against a tough Ohio State defense.
Elsewhere, I thought a crucial drive in this one was at the end of the first half, where the Badgers were only able to get three points, rather than a touchdown.
Longo dialed up one play inside the redzone from under center, which was a good playcall, as wideout Skyler Bell nearly scored a touchdown, but his knee was down prior to the goal line.
Apart from that, Longo went shotgun for the entire drive, and it cost the Badgers, as the offense couldn’t get inside the endzone, leading to a 10-3 Buckeyes lead at the half.
While the Air Raid has opened up certain avenues for the Badgers offense, it cost them in the redzone, where Longo offenses have been inefficient in the past.
The Badgers need to find a way to be more successful in the redzone, and it cost them in a crucial matchup on Saturday.
Big Ten West
The Badgers weren’t expected to win Saturday’s game, but a victory would’ve kept them among the top of the Big Ten West standings.
Instead, Wisconsin will fall to 3-2 in the conference, and second in the Big Ten West due to the tiebreaker with the Iowa Hawkeyes.
That means that Wisconsin will now rely on an Iowa loss, as well as perfect record down the line to reach the Big Ten Championship in December.
Iowa still faces Northwestern, Rutgers, Illinois, and Nebraska, but it now becomes a tougher road for the Badgers to go to Indianapolis after their loss to the No. 3 Buckeyes.
Can they find a way to the promise land? We’ll see as the season unfolds over the last few weeks.