Ohio State-Wisconsin | Scarlet & Gray Matter

Ray Stein
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State prepares to kick off in heavy rain during the third quarter. [Adam Cairns/Dispatch]

Ray Stein’s observations about Saturday’s game:

The game at hand

• Short-attention-span synopsis: Hello, Big Ten weather. Adios, Wisconsin. A pair of 2s may not win a lot of poker hands, but this is football. Online shopping is the rage, yet Buckeyes still open another maul. Predator joins the Heisman conversation. Next up: another week of needed rest, then playoff rankings.

Pregame buzz: Wisconsin’s shocking loss to Illinois last Saturday removed the steam from an anticipated top-10 matchup of unbeatens. Still, the Badgers entered with the nation’s top-ranked defense, as well as a Heisman Trophy candidate in running back Jonathan Taylor. They departed with a lot of welts, and little chance to win a Big Ten title belt.

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The $170 question: Here’s guessing that it was a buyer’s market outside Ohio Stadium as a pregame drizzle moved into the neighborhood of steady rain. Seats available, as they say. But the game offered great theater, especially after the early struggles by each team. Away from the action, the highlight was the savage trolling feat pulled off by OSU game ops in the fourth quarter, when “Jump Around” blared from the speakers.

Spread the wealth? For much of the first half, it looked as though the over/under of 50½ would be severely threatened — by punts, that is, not points. The first seven possessions ended with punters doing their punting thing, but then the Buckeyes got their act together. They scored on four straight second-half drives to easily cover — again — the 14½-point spread.

This week in vanity plates: 2 DA BOSS

The View

• How the team sees it: The coaches keep saying we’ll have a game where we have to fight to win in the fourth quarter. I suppose we should take them at their word.

How the pollsters will see it: We can’t help but be impressed. But after next week we’ll refer all questions to the playoff committee.

How Buckeye Nation sees it: Is it possible for one team to send three Heisman finalists to New York? No, that’s a serious question.

Hey, what Day did say?

• What he said: “It was raining sideways. It was hard early on. It was a mess out there.”

What it means: “It was wet out there, but we didn’t help ourselves at the start by spilling soup down our chins.”

They said it

• Your turn/the channel: The Big Noon crew from Fox was on hand (does that automatically disqualify ESPN’s presence?), which meant plenty of familiar faces, including erstwhile coach/current announcer and restaurateur Urban Meyer. Gush Johnson and Joel Klatt were typically entertaining, and Klatt offered spot-on criticism regarding the choice of gloves used by OSU receivers. What else did we learn? A) That raindrops are a terrible detriment for clean camera lenses; B) That Meyer remains a heck of a recruiter: He even has fellow analyst Matt Leinart referring to Michigan as That Team Up North.

Numbers for dummies

10: Rushing yards separating Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor (957) and OSU’s J.K. Dobbins (947) entering the game

101: Yards separating Dobbins (1,110) and Taylor (1,009) now

16.1: Wisconsin opponents’ success rate on third down entering the game (15 of 93)

64.3: Ohio State’s third-down conversion rate on Saturday (9 of 14)

On tap

It seems weird that it’s already time for another off week for the Buckeyes, coming just two weeks after their last respite. But count quarterback Justin Fields among the OSU players who will look forward to a week of soaking in hot springs and liniment rubs. Or whatever players do when they’re not playing. After that, it’s a four-week sprint to the finish, starting with Maryland on Nov. 9.


Best responses to the game on Twitter:

@scott_gresser: A little chilly and rainy here today. Seems like a good day to stay in and watch college football all day. Oh wait, I was going to do that anyhow.

@SEAZajac: Offense sells tickets. Defense wins games. Buckeyes sellin tickets and winning games.

@HT_BK: Chase Young will eat your face

@tmb237: JK > Taylor and it isn’t close. don’t @ me I don’t care. JK is better.

@Marvin_Hudson: The question is … Who is going to be the second pick in the NFL Draft? #ChaseYoung

@dailydammit: To all you @OhioStateFB haters who think the Buckeyes haven’t played anybody. Pfffttttt *grabs popcorn

Horseshoe haiku

Elevator ride

still rising for upwardly

mobile OSU

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