Ohio State vs. Wisconsin score: Buckeyes pound Badgers to prove they are best in Big Ten
Ohio State overcomes a slow start before a strong second half gives Buckeyes a big win
If there was any doubt that No. 3 Ohio State is the best team in the Big Ten this season, the Buckeyes sent a message on Saturday. Ohio State overcame a slow start in windy and rainy conditions to rout No. 13 Wisconsin 38-7.
The Buckeyes (8-0, 5-0) didn't break into the scoring column until getting a field goal halfway through the second quarter. They scored their first touchdown in the final minute of the half when quarterback Justin Fields found Chris Olave for a 27-yard score to make it 10-0. Wisconsin, which had only 72 yards of offense in the first half, caught a break to open the second. The Badgers (6-2, 3-2) blocked an Ohio State punt to set themselves up with a short field. A three-play, 30-yard touchdown drive ended with a Jack Coan dime to A.J. Taylor from 26 yards out. And that's when the good times stopped for Wisconsin.
Chase Young and the Buckeyes defense put the clamps on the Badgers offense, and the Ohio State offense responded with 28 unanswered points. Justin Fields finished with 167 yards passing, 28 yards rushing and three total touchdowns. J.K. Dobbins rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns while also catching three passes for 58 yards. The Ohio State defense held Wisconsin tailback Jonathan Taylor to 52 yards on 20 carries.
Here are four takeaways from Ohio State's dominant performance.
1. Chase Young is the best football player in the country. This doesn't mean he's going to win the Heisman. I would hope that he'd be a finalist, though, at the very least. It doesn't mean he'll be the No. 1 player in the NFL Draft next season. Like the Heisman, that honor is far more likely to go to a quarterback. But he's the best player in college football, and Saturday was a prime example of why. Young was the dominant force in this game. He finished the day with six tackles, five for a loss, and four sacks. When Ohio State needed a play on defense, without fail, it was Young making it.
I liked what the Buckeyes did with Young in this game, as well. He wasn't just lining up at his standard defensive end position. A few times on third down, Young was moved to more of an inside linebacker role. He made plays from there, and even if he hadn't, it had an impact on the Wisconsin offense. Make no mistake about it, the first thing Wisconsin QB Jack Coan was doing when he walked up to the line of scrimmage on Saturday was look for Chase Young. By moving him around, it gave Coan just one extra thing to figure out before the snap. Those kinds of little things can have a big impact, and they did on Saturday.
2. J.K. Dobbins is the best running back in the Big Ten. I made this argument during the week, and it raised a few eyebrows. I know that Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor had all the Heisman hype coming into the season, and has terrific numbers in his career, but he has not backed them up to this point in 2019. Taylor came into today's game averaging 5.2 yards per carry against Power Five opponents. That's good, but it's not great. Dobbins, on the other hand, was averaging 7.5 yards per carry against Power Five opponents. Granted, Dobbins is not the focal point of the Ohio State offense. This allows him more freedom to work since opposing defenses have to game plan for Fields and Ohio State's receivers as well. Defenses go into every game with the simple plan of stopping Taylor and making Jack Coan and Co. beat them. It's what Northwestern did. It's what Illinois did, and on Saturday, that's what Ohio State did. Taylor was held to only 52 yards rushing on 20 carries.
Dobbins, on the other hand, rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns while also picking up 58 yards through the air. Still, even with the understanding that Dobbins has more freedom to succeed in Ohio State's offense than Taylor does in Wisconsin's, I believe he's the better overall player. It's not a knock on Taylor. He's one of the best running backs in the country ... but Dobbins is better. He's shiftier, makes quicker adjustments and, like Taylor, is a nightmare on the second level. I also think Dobbins is a bigger threat in the passing game.
3. Ohio State is the best team in the Big Ten. Penn State fans will be quick to say that they're not far behind. They're half-right. Penn State is the second-best team in the Big Ten, but the gap between it and Ohio State looks like a significant one in my eyes. That Ohio State-Penn State game in Columbus next month is not only going to decide the Big Ten East, but likely the Big Ten as well. At this point, however, I have a hard time imagining Penn State winning that game. Ohio State is just so ridiculously talented at every spot on the field, it's hard to imagine anybody in the Big Ten being able to hold on for a full 60 minutes without the Buckeyes shooting themselves in the foot repeatedly.
4. Wisconsin's road to Indianapolis just got a lot tougher. The reason Wisconsin's loss to Illinois last week was a killer wasn't just that it ended Wisconsin's title hopes, but that it put its Big Ten title hopes in extreme peril. It was always going to be hard for the Badgers to go on the road and beat Ohio State. They couldn't do it, and now they're sitting at 3-2 in Big Ten play. Minnesota is still undefeated, and while it has difficult games left, Wisconsin not only needs the Gophers to lose twice -- they do finish the regular season against one another -- but Wisconsin needs to remain perfect. It can't afford another loss, and with games remaining against Iowa, Nebraska and the Gophers, that might be easier said than done.
In the matter of eight days, Wisconsin has gone from looking like a runaway favorite in the Big Ten West to a team that needs a lot of help.
CBS Sports was with you the entire way updating this story with the latest scores, highlights and analysis from Ohio State vs. Wisconsin. If you are unable to view the live updates below, please click here.
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