Ohio State defeated Wisconsin in Camp Randall Stadium during the 2008 and 2002 seasons. Will Ohio State be able to duplicate those past Buckeye efforts?
A couple days ago, I wrote about how Ohio State has struggled against Wisconsin in Camp Randall Stadium. Even the oddsmakers give Wisconsin a slight benefit
of the doubt going into Saturday's contest. The reality is Ohio State
has defeated Wisconsin in Camp Randall Stadium, and some of those games
were in comparable circumstances to this year's game. Think back to the
games against Wisconsin in 2008, and the national championship season of
In 2008, Ohio State traveled to Wisconsin with a true freshman quarterback in Terrelle Pryor.
While Pryor was a tremendous athlete, Pryor's comprehension of the full
Ohio State offense was limited. Ohio State would need to rely upon the
powerful running game, led by Chris "Beanie" Wells.
True to form, Ohio State and Wisconsin battled throughout most of the
game. Although Ohio State took a quick 7-0 lead in the first quarter,
Wisconsin tied Ohio State in the second. Going into the half, Wisconsin
was able to extend the lead to 10-7.
Ohio State, true to "Tresselball", tied the game with a field goal in
the third quarter. Wisconsin took the lead late in the fourth quarter,
17-13, behind a P.J. Hill two yard touchdown run.
And with time running down, in a hostile environment, Ohio State
called upon its immensely talented quarterback to put the team on his
back. Sound familiar to this year?
With only a little over one minute remaining, Terrelle Pryor scored the winning touchdown on an option keeper to defeat the Badgers, 20-17.
(Yes, I know how many Ohio State fans despise Terrelle Pryor. I am
merely making the comparison to how instrumental Pryor was to that Ohio
State offense, and how important Braxton Miller is to this year's Ohio State's offense.)
In 2002, Ohio State entered the game at Wisconsin undefeated (sound
familiar again?), needing the victory to remain in the hunt for the
national championship. Ohio State entered the game with a 7-0 record,
having won some games despite some less than impressive performances
(again - familiar much?). The contest at Wisconsin was considered to be
Ohio State's first true road test of the 2002 season.
Ohio State battled Wisconsin closely throughout this contest, relying
upon freshman running back sensation Maurice Clarett. Clarett sustained
a shoulder stinger near the end of the game, but helped Ohio State
control the clock by rushing for 133 yards on 30 carries.
And here is where I find the ultimate comparison - Ohio State needed
to rely upon a player who had switched from offense to defense in
midseason to help secure the victory.
Sophomore wide receiver Chris Gamble began playing more and more cornerback in the latter portion of the 2002 season. Gamble was able to make a key interception of Wisconsin quarterback Jim Sorgi late in the fourth quarter, to help Ohio State hold on for its 19-14 victory over the Badgers.
For years, Wisconsin has relied upon its traditionally stout running
game. While Ohio State's defensive line unit should pose a strong
competition for Wisconsin's offensive line, it will also be imperative
that Ohio State's linebackers be able to slow down Wisconsin running
back Montee Ball. Zach Boren, a transplanted fullback to linebacker, will be essential in this effort.
Will senior linebacker Zach Boren be able to replicate the feats and
accomplishments of another transplanted Buckeye defender such as Chris
Gamble? Will Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller be able to perform in
the clutch if needed against Wisconsin? Ohio State fans can draw upon
these positive memories in Camp Randall Stadium for inspiration and
guidance - we shall see if Zach Boren and Braxton Miller do the same.