COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — What was billed as a battle of the nation’s top defenses turned into another rout for surging Ohio State.
The No. 3 Buckeyes’ matchup with No. 13 Wisconsin was supposed to be the biggest challenge of the season for Ohio State, a test of mettle against a Badgers defense that statistically was ranked the best in the country.
Instead, Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins slashed Wisconsin for big gains and two touchdowns, and it was the Buckeyes’ defense that put on a show. All-America defensive end Chase Young was nearly unblockable with four sacks as Ohio State romped to a 38-7 win in a steady rain on Saturday.
“I think in all honesty we could have put up 50,” said Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, who threw two touchdown passes to Chris Olave and ran for another score. “I think if the weather was different, I think we could have (thrown) the ball more and put up way more points than we did.”
Dobbins rushed for 163 yards against a Wisconsin defense that had limited opponents to 58.4 yards per game. He had 112 of those yards and scoring runs of 9 and 14 yards in the second half after the rain let up some and Fields was able to loosen up the Badgers defense with some effective passing.
“If you put all your attention on one guy, they’ve got a lot of other ways to hurt you,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said.
Wisconsin (6-2, 3-2) scored on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Jack Coan to A.J. Taylor early in the second half after the Badgers blocked an Ohio State punt and started with a short field. That made it 10-7, but Ohio State immediately answered with a touchdown drive and was never threatened again.
HECK WITH THE HEISMAN HOOPLA
Dobbins outperformed Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor, who came to town with plenty of Heisman hype. Taylor could muster only 52 yards rushing against the Buckeyes (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) after averaging almost 137 per game coming in.
Dobbins’ teammates teased him all week about the attention being heaped on his counterpart at Wisconsin
“All the Jonathan Taylor stuff,” Dobbins said. “He’s a great player, but I’m here to win games, win championships.”
Dobbins on Saturday passed the 1,000-yard mark for the season, becoming the first Ohio State player ever to rush for more than 1,000 yards in his freshman, sophomore and junior season.
Young also looked like a Heisman contender on this day, tying a school record for sacks in a game, including two strip sacks that led to fumbles recovered each time by linebacker Pete Werner.
He extended his streak to 10 straight games with a sack. The junior is now tied for second in career sacks at Ohio State, a school that produced the Bosa brothers who were both top-five NFL draft picks.
“Going into the season, you want to break every record, and I feel like right now I can’t really worry about the sack record,” Young said. “I’ve got to keep on perfecting my craft.”
ANOTHER FIELDS DAY
Fields was harassed and sacked five times but — as he has been all season — was masterful at extending plays at critical times for the Buckeyes. He finished 12 for 22 for 167 yards. Olave’s two touchdown catches were among his seven catches for 93 yards.
Wisconsin: After climbing into the top 10 early, the Badgers have lost two straight. They dropped a heartbreaker to Illinois by a point last week. This time they hung with the Buckeyes until the second half but just couldn’t keep up. Taylor was regarded as the hottest back in the country until he ran into the Ohio State defense.
Ohio State: This should quiet critics who said Ohio State was getting fat at the expense of bad opponents. The Buckeyes engaged in a first-half battle of the nation’s top two defenses and smashed through in the second half on the way to a rout. Ohio State has outscored opponents 386-63 and hasn’t played a close game yet.
Wisconsin: After an off week, plays at No. 20 Iowa on Nov. 9.
Ohio State: After another off week, hosts Maryland on Nov. 9