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Buckeyes badgered

OSU’s stint at the top is short

October 17, 2010
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

MADISON, Wis. - The end unofficially came with two minutes to play in Wisconsin's 31-18 win over No. 1 Ohio State when the public address announcer instructed the fans they should stay off the field when the game was over.

Regardless of that announcement, the fans weren't going to be held back. And neither were the Badgers.

No. 18 Wisconsin (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten) dominated the action most of the night, starting with a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by David Gilreath on the first play of the game to stun Ohio State (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten).

The Badgers jumped out to a 21-0 lead, watched the Buckeyes battle back to within three points in the fourth quarter, but held on to win.

Wisconsin tailback John Clay rushed for 104 yards on 21 carries and scored two touchdowns. Freshman tailback James White added 75 yards on 17 carries and also scored two TDs.

"There is no question Wisconsin played an excellent football game. You have to tip your cap to them," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. "That's a great 1-2 punch (Clay and White)."

The Buckeyes barely had time to unload the U-Haul and move into their new digs as the No.1 team in the country, when they had to move out.

Tressel said he did not sense the move into the No. 1 spot last week created more pressure on his team and said a drop in the rankings will not occupy much of his time going forward.

"I guess my thoughts are about what happens tomorrow," he said. "We didn't talk about what's still out there and what remains. The mark of a person is what they do after they're disappointed or don't do as well as they're capable of. We really didn't talk about beyond tomorrow."

Wisconsin's Clay became the first running back in 29 games to rush for more than 100 yards against Ohio State. That streak went back to USC's Joe McKnight in 2008.

Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said he used the streak to challenge his offensive line.

"Everybody made a big deal about the 29 games Ohio State had without a hundred yard rusher, so I threw that in their (the offensive line) faces all week," Bielema said.

Dan Herron led Ohio State with 91 yards on 19 carries and scored two touchdowns. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor was 14 of 28 for 156 yards and rushed for 56 yards.

Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien, who was sacked six times and threw two interceptions for touchdowns against OSU last season, was 13 of 16 for 152 yards and was not sacked.

Ohio State played the last two quarters without linebacker Ross Homan, who suffered an apparent ankle injury during the second quarter.

Asked about Homan's injury, Tressel said, "I don't really know what Ross' situation is."

Gilreath's kickoff return was just the beginning of the Buckeyes' troubles in the first half.

Clay hammered away at OSU's defense for 51 yards of a 58-yard drive on the Badgers' second possession that put Wisconsin up 14-0 five minutes into the game.

Then, on its third possession, Wisconsin went on a 19-play, 89-yard, 10 minutes, 15 seconds drive that made it 21-0 with 13:15 left in the first half.

That was the most unanswered points Ohio State had permitted since falling behind 33-0 at Iowa in 2004.

Ohio State's offense did not take as much advantage as it could have of the opportunities it did get.

The first example was when the Buckeyes were set up first and goal at Wisconsin's 3-yard line midway through the second quarter and had to settle for a 20-yard field goal by Devin Barclay.

The other came when Andrew Sweat intercepted a pass, returned it to Wisconsin's 38-yard line and a 15-yard penalty was added on for a late hit out of bounds.

From Wisconsin's 23-yard line, OSU tried a reverse to Dane Sanzenbacher for one yard, Pryor threw an incomplete pass, then was sacked for a 6-yard loss.

Barclay came on to try a 45-yard field goal, which would have been his longest of the season, but missed.

Ohio State drove 77 yards on its first possession of the second half, the final 13 yards on a run by Herron out of the wildcat formation.

Early in the fourth quarter, OSU went 94 yards in an almost 10-minute drive to cut the lead to 21-18 on a 1-yard run by Herron and a two-point conversion.

But Wisconsin had an answer just when it looked like Ohio State might turn the game its way. Freshman running back James White slipped through the Buckeyes' defense on a 12-yard scoring run with 6:57 to play to make it 28-18.

Philip Welch added a 41-yard field goal to put Wisconsin up 31-18 with 4:14 left in the game.

Wisconsin's win was its 41st in its last 45 games at home, dating back to when Barry Alvarez was the Badgers' coach.