Battling through key injuries to Braelon Allen and Chimere Dike, the Badgers just didn’t have enough offensive firepower, although their defense mustered together an impressive performance to keep Wisconsin in it.
Here are the defensive grades for the Badgers against Ohio State.
Defensive Line/Outside Linebackers: B+
It was a very important game for the Badgers up front, and they were up for the task against a tough Ohio State front.
C.J. Goetz started the action off with a strip sack off quarterback Kyle McCord, while Darryl Peterson also got to the quarterback in a four-sack performance for the Badgers.
The Badgers also racked up nine tackles for loss, stopping the run at a fairly high rate until the fourth quarter, where running back TreVeyon Henderson broke a few runs for an eventual touchdown.
Defensive coordinator Mike Tressel threw a number of looks at the quarterback, and this unit came to play on Saturday.
Inside Linebackers: B-
It was a mixed bag for the inside linebackers, but there was a ton of good for the Badgers as well.
Maema Njongmeta, Jake Chaney, and Jordan Turner each got crucial run stops on inside zone plays, but were caught up in coverage on a few occassions.
Chaney had a bad angle on a dropped TreVeyon Henderson receiving touchdown on a wheel route, while Njongmeta was caught in traffic on a similar concept, giving up a 30-yard catch.
But, the most important element was defending the run, and the linebackers aided in those efforts, hence the solid grade.
Marvin Harrison Jr. was always going to get his own, but I thought the Badgers secondary held up pretty well in limiting points, especially when considering the massive size difference.
Harrison had six catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns, exploiting zone coverages by sitting in soft areas, while creating traffic on crossers to free himself up.
But, Wisconsin had two interceptions, including an impressive read from Ricardo Hallman in zone coverage, giving the offense multiple opportunities.
Hallman had another impressive breakup in 1-on-1 coverage in the endzone on Harrison prior to the interception.
The Badgers defense exceeded expectations, and the secondary played a pretty big part in that, despite Harrison’s good performance.