Badgers itching to jump around against Ohio State
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
There might be a few hangovers Sunday morning in Madison, but none for the guys wearing cardinal and white on Saturday night at Camp Randall Stadium.
After blowing a 19-point halftime lead last week at Michigan, Wisconsin players experienced "extreme disappointment," according to coach Bret Bielema. But they'll have no trouble getting recharged for No. 14 Ohio State (ABC, 8 p.m. ET), and most of the voltage will come from a crowd that provides one of the nation's best home-field advantages.
For a league that plays the majority of its games during daylight hours, night games at Wisconsin are must-see events.
"You get all your families, friends and fans here on time," junior running back P.J. Hill said. "You can just feed off the energy from the crowd. It's always good to play a night game."
Hill first experienced Camp Randall at night in 2005 as a true freshman, as Wisconsin beat Michigan on a John Stocco touchdown run with 24 seconds left. He finally played under the lights last fall against Iowa and found the end zone in the fourth quarter as Wisconsin survived 17-13.
Wisconsin has won its last six night games at home and 16 straight at home overall, the second-longest home win streak in the country. The Badgers have won 20 of their last 21 night games (home and away) and own a 6-0 record at night since Bielema joined the coaching staff in 2004.
"It was just so amazing," Hill said of last year's Iowa game. "It was unexplainable how loud it was. You don't want to lose at home. It's going to be a great environment and we want to perform out there for everybody."
Ohio State won a road game at Penn State last year, but none of the Buckeyes' players has been to Camp Randall. The team last traveled there in 2003 and saw its 19-game winning streak end in a 17-10 loss at night.
"It's going to be a big advantage," said Hill, who missed last year's game at Ohio State with a leg injury. "Their environment was pretty crazy, but this is going to be a night game. Everybody's going to be off the walls, and we're used to playing [in front of] these people."
Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor will make his first road start Saturday night, and there's some concern about how the true freshman will handle himself. But the Buckeyes are used to being the less-popular team on the field, and they look forward to another raucous environment.
"It will be fun for us to 'Jump Around' at the end of the third quarter and get excited," guard Jim Cordle said. "But we've got to learn. In the USC game, in the red zone that first drive, we had a false start that set us back. We can't have that. We've got to be poised in the red zone. We can't let the crowd try to get to us because every possession in this game is going to be crucial with the way they run the ball and control the clock and the way we run the ball and control the clock.
"We can't let the noise affect us."
Good luck with that.
Hill isn't the only Badgers player who gets energized by the home crowd. All-American H-back/tight end Travis Beckum, a nonfactor this season because of a hamstring injury, is expected to be near full strength for Saturday night's game.
"It's been a difficult time for him," Bielema said. "These types of games, we've got Ohio State coming here, a night game in Camp Randall. It will be a great environment and he's the type of guy who just thrives on that type of stage. For him, this is why he's kind of set his eye on it for the last three or four weeks, to get back in time to play Ohio State."