The fifth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1) will play the eleventh-ranked Wisconsin Badgers (10-2) on Saturday in the Big Ten Championship game.
Ohio State will be relying on its third-string quarterback, Cardale Jones, after backup-turned-starter J.T. Barrett fractured his ankle on Saturday and had it surgically repaired on Sunday. Barrett is expected to be ready, but limited, for spring practice. Saturday will be Jones’ first start of the season.
The Buckeyes are also playing in the wake of lineman Kosta Karageorge’s death.
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin
Saturday, 8:17 EST
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 24, on Sept. 28, 2013, in Columbus, Ohio.
Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon is right in the thick of Heisman talk. The junior has 2,260 yards and 26 touchdowns this season with an average of 8 yards per carry.
However, the team is ranked 119th overall in passing yards, meaning they will have to rely on Gordon and the ground game. Junior quarterback Joel Stave has only passed for eight touchdowns and 1,042 yards with four interceptions this season.
If the Badgers can help their defense by scoring, and the defense can stay around their average of giving up 16.1 points a game, Wisconsin should walk away from this game with a win.
Scouting Ohio State
The Buckeyes have a lot going on to distract them tomorrow — from the death of Karageorge to losing Barrett for the rest of the season.
While there is a chance the these could serve as motivation for the team, it’s hard to believe that it will be enough for this team.
Ohio State has a weaker defense than Wisconsin, giving up an average of 22.9 points per game.
In addition to this, quarter back Cardale Jones has passed for a total of 118 yards and 2 touchdowns all season.
Like Wisconsin, Ohio State will most likely have to rely on their running back, Ezekiel Elliot, who has rushed for 1,182 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. However, Barrett also had roughly the same numbers for the team when it came to rushing.
Wisconsin 31, Ohio State 17
While Ohio State has an average run defense, they do give up a lot of rushing touchdowns. If Gordon can figure them out — inside or outside of the redzone — he could have the game of his life and increase his chances at the Heisman. As long as the Badgers’ defense can hold the Buckeyes to roughly 16 points, I don’t see how they wouldn’t walk away with the win.
Heavy will have updated scores and highlights throughout the day.