Ohio State pulled off a classic in a 30-23 overtime win over a Wisconsin team that might have just earned even more respect.
Ohio State 30, Wisconsin 23, OT: What Does It All Mean?
Ohio State, you take that brilliant win, you get on the bus, and you get out of Madison as fast as you possibly can, because that’s about as tough a game as you might get all year – at least until Michigan comes to town.
Or at least until the two play again in the Big Ten championship.
That was as much of a gut-check test as possible, and the still-young Buckeyes aced it. They were challenged – with the lowest halftime scoring output in the Urban Meyer era – and they responded in the most hostile of environments.
But the Badgers proved something, too.
The two-week rest absolutely proved to be vital for Wisconsin, who came out sharp with the best offensive performance of the season and rallied back late when all appeared lost after the Buckeyes took control. And why? It was a brilliant performance from the Bucky offensive front that looked the part again like the Wisconsin offense is supposed to.
The Ohio State defense stepped up its game in the second half, the playmakers kept breaking through tackle after tackle to keep things moving, and J.T. Barrett proved once again that he’s as good and as valuable as any player in college football, coming through cool and calm on the game-winning touchdown.
The Buckeyes needed a game when they were pushed and pushed hard. They needed to see how they’d respond when things weren’t working right. They needed to come through with this win, just to prove it could.
Now don’t blow it at Penn State next week.
And Wisconsin, you got past the brutal first part of the season 4-2 – and you really are still in the playoff hunt if you win out. Don’t biff at Iowa next week, take down an okay Nebraska who’ll lose to someone else along the way, and keep up the intensity. But for now, know that you can play with one of the three best teams in college football.