Wisconsin plays beautiful defense and still falls short to Ohio State


The Wisconsin Badgers held Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller to his worst game of the season, but it wasn’t quite enough with the Buckeyes prevailing 21-14 in overtime at Camp Randall.

It was the first time the Badgers (7-4, 4-3) have played in multiple overtime games since the 2000 season and their second straight loss at home.

What It Means: Defensively the Badgers were sensational. Containing Miller to a season-low 2.1 yards per carry on 23 attempts and only 97 yards through the air seems like a recipe for a win. Where it went all wrong is when the offense touched the ball as it has against many of the good teams the Badgers have played this season. They run the ball extremely well and that’s about it. There were a few questionable play-calls throughout the game because it’s evident Wisconsin has trouble figuring out how to catch opposing defenses off-guard, particularly defenses among the nation’s best. With that said, the Badgers are still capable of playing with anyone in the country because of their defense. Their four losses are by a combined 16 points. Going forward, they will need to continue to soul-search on offense and find ways to stay on the field.

Player of the Game: RB Montee Ball (39 carries for 191 yards and one touchdown)

The most important number in that stat-line is the one touchdown as it was the score to tie Travis Prentice’s all-time NCAA touchdown record. It was Ball’s 78th career touchdown which is a truly amazing statistic considering he hasn’t been the primary back for this team over the past four seasons.

Following the game, Ball was asked if he thought he would be this successful at Wisconsin and he replied:

“Not at all. I figured I’d play well, because I would try to work the hardest, be the hardest worker, but I never knew I’d do this.”

Highlight of the Game: The second quarter and down 14-0 was the setting for Ball’s record-tying touchdown. Running with a purpose all day long, it was great to see him take it seven yards through the tackles and in to the house. It was right in front of the student section who erupted with cheers.

Stat of the Game (5/19): This was the conversion rate for Wisconsin on third down. They continue to struggle to stay on the field as they are now 52  for 154 or roughly 34 percent on the season.

Injury Report: There were no new significant injuries, but middle linebacker Chris Borland did sit the game out. Bielema said following the game that he should be back with the team during midweek.

What’s Next: Wisconsin travels to Happy Valley to take on the 7-4 Penn State Nittany Lions. Essentially, it will be Penn State’s bowl game because like Ohio State, they are banned from playing in any type of postseason this year. You would have to think that the Badgers are chomping at the bit to try to repair their national image before traveling to Indianapolis for the conference’s championship game.

What did you think of the Badgers second loss at home this season? Let me know by commenting below.

Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice and pretend to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best. If social media is not your thing, shoot him an email at grays@uwalumni.com.

Pictures:

Carlos Hyde (JSOnline.com Badgers photo gallery)

Montee Ball with record-tying football (Adam Mertz twitter account)

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