Saturday, October 16, 2010
Halftime update: Ohio State-Wisconsin
By Adam Rittenberg
MADISON, Wis. -- Quick thoughts at the half, as No. 18 Wisconsin is pounding No. 1 Ohio State 21-3 at Camp Randall Stadium.
Turning point: David Gilreath's touchdown return on the opening kickoff stands out, but Wisconsin's ability to keep Ohio State out of the end zone after the Buckeyes had first-and-goal from the Badgers' 3-yard line is my pick. While the Buckeyes mysteriously abandoned the pistol offense, Wisconsin made the plays to keep Terrelle Pryor and Dan Herron out of the end zone, forcing a short field goal.
Stat of the half: Even though Ohio State had the first offensive possession because of Gilreath's return, Wisconsin held the ball for 18:05. The Badgers racked up nine first downs in the first quarter and outgained Ohio State 197-93. Last week, Ohio State allowed 14 first downs and 210 total yards all game in a blowout win against Indiana.
What Ohio State needs to do: Convert opportunities into touchdowns. The Buckeyes' inability to convert Andrew Sweat's interception return into any points was an absolute killer late in the first half. I have a feeling Ohio State will force some more major mistakes from the Badgers, but in a limited-possession game, the Buckeyes can't afford to settle for field goals. They also need to play better on special teams.
What Wisconsin needs to do: Avoid the major mistake. Quarterback Scott Tolzien normally is a very careful passer, but Ohio State seems to bring out the worst in him. He needs to make good decisions in the pass game and let his running backs go to work. The Badgers also have to keep making Pryor beat them with his arm.