In 2014, Ohio State trounced Wisconsin 59-0, and it won by six points in 2017 at Lucas Oil Stadium.Ryan Day’s team comes into Indianapolis with a perfect record and a 31-point triumph over the Big Ten West champion from October 26.
In that meeting, the Buckeyes took away the Badgers’ top offensive weapons, and if they do so again, they could lock up the top seed in the College Football Playoff.Ohio State is in possession of a seven-game winning streak over Wisconsin.
While the blowouts from October and five years ago resonate most, a majority of their clashes this decade have been tight affairs.
In 2017, the Buckeyes squeezed out a 27-21 victory to win the Big Ten title, but despite it being a close game, the Badgers struggled for consistency on the ground.
Jonathan Taylor, who was a freshman in that game, was held to 41 rushing yards on 15 carries, while J.K. Dobbins starred with 174 rushing yards on 17 touches.
The disparity in the ground game stood out when the teams met at Ohio Stadium, as Dobbins tallied 163 yards and two scores while Taylor was held to 52 rushing yards, his lowest total of the season.
In those two clashes, the Buckeyes outgained the Badgers 880-489, with Chase Young and Co. holding the Big Ten West side to 191 total yards in October.
Since their last meeting, Ohio State racked up a pair of Top 25 wins over Michigan and Penn State to leapfrog LSU in the playoff rankings.
Dobbins was the offensive star of both victories with 368 rushing yards on 67 carries for six touchdowns. If the junior continues his dominant run, he may turn in a third 100-yard performance versus the Badgers.
Quarterback Justin Fields also has two 300-yard passing games in his last three outings. If he connects early with Chris Olave, K.J. Hill and others, the opposing defense may not stand a chance at containing the Big Ten East champion.
Success in the passing game could be the difference-maker, as the Buckeyes have thrown 44 passing scores compared to Wisconsin’s 17. Olave, Hill, Binjimen Victor and even Dobbins at times can threaten the opposing secondary, which means if one is stopped, another can likely find space.
Conversely, if the Buckeyes shut down Quintez Cephus, who leads the Badgers with 45 receptions and 720 receiving yards, the Badgers do not have more explosive options for Jack Coan to work with.
Jeff Okudah can take away Cephus’ impact, just like has with other top receivers in Big Ten action. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller has Okudah going No. 5 in his latest NFL mock draft.
Between Young getting to Coan, Okudah shutting down Cephus and the entire offense wreaking havoc on Wisconsin’s defense, Ohio State could have the edge in every key matchup Saturday.
If that conveys to the gridiron, the Buckeyes would earn their 13th double-digit win of the campaign and stay away from Clemson in the national semifinals by earning the top playoff seed.