When Wisconsin’s Jack Coan found A.J. Taylor in the corner of the end zone with 12:18 remaining in the third quarter Saturday, a hush fell over Ohio Stadium.

After being held scoreless by Ohio State for the first half, the Badgers opened the second half at the OSU 30-yard line after deflecting a punt. Three plays later, Coan found Taylor in the end zone, a score that cut the Ohio State lead to 10-7 and provided the Badgers with momentum.

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Less than three minutes later, whatever momentum Wisconsin had disappeared after a Justin Fields touchdown run. Wisconsin’s smash-mouth offense and stellar defense were no match for Ohio State, which scored 28 unanswered points in the second half of a 38-7 victory.

“That was obviously big,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said of Fields’ touchdown run. “Good teams can answer a score with a score.”

Part of the reason for the Badgers' dismal showing on offense was due to the Buckeyes shutting down star running back Jonathan Taylor. He rushed for 52 yards while averaging a career-low 2.6 yards per carry.

"(Ohio State) had a good plan,” Chryst said. “They came out and went with a heavy look against some of our personnel groups and we weren’t consistent enough running or passing.”

On the other side, Wisconsin’s usually stout defense struggled against Ohio State’s running backs, as the Buckeyes totaled 264 yards on the ground, including 163 from J.K. Dobbins.

Outside of A.J. Taylor’s score, Wisconsin’s best scoring chance came late in the third quarter when the Badgers drove to the Ohio State 32. The drive ended on a Chase Young strip-sack of Coan on fourth down.

The Badgers went 4 of 13 on third-down conversion attempts.

“We weren’t good on third down,” Chryst said. “We needed to sustain drives to give our defense a chance to rest and try to change the dynamic of the game.”

The loss all but ends any chance the Badgers had of playing in the College Football Playoff.

The Badgers could still reach the Big Ten championship game if they win out. Wisconsin is tied for second place in the Big Ten West with Iowa. No. 17 Minnesota is in first place.

Wisconsin’s next game is against Iowa on Nov. 9.

“We have the bye week coming up and we’re doing to take advantage of that,” Chryst said. “We’re going to take what we learned through the first eight games and then move forward.”

hpalattella@dispatch.com

@hellapalattella