Last week’s 31-20 come from behind triumph at Michigan was the sixth straight in the series for the Buckeyes and coach Urban Meyer. It is the third longest winning streak in the series, exceeded only by Michigan’s nine game streak from 1901 through 1909 and OSU’s seven straight from 2004 through 2010.
Meyer is the first coach all-time to win his first six games against the Wolverines. The previous record was held by Army’s Earl “Red” Blaik who won his first five games against Michigan between 1945 and 1954. Blaik’s streak was broken when the Wolverines defeated Army 26-2 in 1955. Ohio State now owns the all-time Big Ten record for most conference victories with 504.
Ohio State (10-2) will travel to Indianapolis Saturday evening for the Big Ten Championship clash against undefeated Wisconsin (12-0).
This will be Ohio State’s third appearance in the league title game that was initiated in 2011. The Buckeyes lost to Michigan State 34-24 in 2013 and defeated Wisconsin 59-0 in 2014. Wisconsin has played in four of the first six conference title games, going 2-2.
Ohio State is 58-18-5 over the 81 previous games against Wisconsin. In their most recent clash, the No. 2 Buckeyes defeated the No. 8 Badgers 30-23 in overtime at Madison in 2016. After being down 16-6 at halftime, OSU outscored the home team 17-7 in the second half to tie the score 23-23 in regulation play. J.T. Barrett passed seven yards to Noah Brown in OT for the winning score. This was one of Barrett’s best games, completing 17 of 29 attempts for 226 yards and rushing 21 times for 92 yards and two scores. Cameron Johnston was a big factor in the game, punting 4 times for a 53.8 yard average.
Coach Woody Hayes was especially successful against Wisconsin, compiling a record of 25-1-2 during his 28 seasons as head coach from 1951 through 1978. Ohio State won 21 straight over Wisconsin from 1960 through 1980. Since then there have been 31 games over the last 36 seasons, with the Buckeyes holding an advantage of 19-11-1.
Saturday night’s game will be the fourth time the Buckeyes and Badgers have faced each other with both ranked in the Associated Press top ten. In addition to 2016, the others are 1942 and 1954. No. 6 Wisconsin upset No. 1 Ohio State 17-7 at Camp Randall Stadium in 1942, and nearly kept OSU from capturing the school’s first national title. But the Buckeyes were able to rebound and finish on top with a record of 9-1.
In 1954, No. 4 Ohio State came from behind to defeat No. 2 Wisconsin in Columbus, 31-14, in a game far closer than suggested by the final score. This was a major victory during OSU’s successful run for the national title with a record of 10-0. Wisconsin fullback Alan Ameche won the Heisman Trophy that year, followed by OSU’s Hopalong Cassady in 1955.
Ohio State’s cherished 23-14 home triumph over Wisconsin in 1952 was the school’s very first victory over No.1 ranked opponent. Led by sophomore quarterback John Borton, the Buckeyes scored on drives of 88, 64 and 55 yards. Senior linebacker Tony Curcillo spearheaded the Buckeye defense that five times held the potent Badgers inside the Ohio State 20 yard line.
Wisconsin is the only Big Ten opponent against whom coach Jim Tressel did not have a winning record. His teams were 4-4 against the Badgers.
Ohio Stadium was dedicated in 1922, yet it was 60 years before Wisconsin registered its first victory in the horseshoe – 6-0 in 1982. The Badgers’ record at Ohio Stadium was 0-18-3 prior to this victory. The school’s last previous win in Columbus had been 14-3 at old Ohio Field in 1918.