Ohio Points vs. Wisconsin, Fast Food: No. 3 Buckeyes chokes Badgers as explosive attack lights up again

Ohio State No. 3 dominated Wisconsin’s Big Ten rival 52-21 Saturday night in Columbus, Ohio, in another statement this 2022 season by coach Ryan Day and the Buckies. They came out hot with the engines landing on their first four possessions to stun the Badgers early on like a heavyweight boxer throwing haymakers after the opening bell.

Meanne Williams started running backwards to start the festivities with a 2-yard sprint on the opening engine, followed by two straight strokes from Heisman front runner CJ Stroud and rarely used Cade Stover. Williams hit another one early in the second quarter to put that away without much fan fare.

Stroud had a stellar night, throwing for 281 yards and five touchdowns. However, he threw his first pick of the season late in the second quarter while driving in hopes of getting another score on the break.

However, it was not only the air attack that bore this defeat. Williams finished 101 yards for a score of 2, while backyard teammate TreVeyon Henderson netted 120 yards in one of the most balanced performances of the Day period at Ohio State.

Badger’s only bright spot in the crushing loss was the return of Brylon Allen, who had 165 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter. He didn’t get much help from quarterback Graham Mertz, who finished the day with 94 yards, one touchdown pass, one run and one interception.

Here are the highlights from Ohio’s takeover of Wisconsin on Saturday.

Stroud is as serious as it comes

The Buckeyes’ star caller not only showed off his skills, but how quickly he could turn the game sideways. It was 9 of 10 for 142 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter with those two scores coming to Stover. Jackson Smith-Nigegba was out for the third week in a row, but that didn’t matter. Stroud developed alchemy using a lot of weapons in his absence, and this would make the defensive coordinators’ heads spin all year long.

It was Saturday night will save. The first player had eight incoming passes in the game but scored four more for 51 yards and two goals. He now has 12 wins in four matches despite having only had five in the previous three seasons.

Going forward, it’s just another weapon to reckon with. Smith-Nigegba was out, Marvin Harrison Jr. wasn’t much of an impact, and Julian Fleming made a huge impact in the second half when the match was essentially over. Combine these weapons with Emeka Egbuka – who had six grabs for 118 yards and two touchdowns – and Stroud could search anywhere he wanted this attack to click.

The scariest thing is that Stroud is just getting started. When Smith-Njigba returns, Stroud will not be stopped.

Defense is no longer a problem

Remember before the season when the biggest question facing the Buckeyes was their defense, and specifically, whether new coordinator Jim Knowles could “fix the bug”? If the first three matches aren’t enough to solidify his impact, tonight’s performance should dig him into a stone.

Meretz’s head has been spinning from the moment he seized the square. He was picked up by Tanner McAllister for his own 46-yard streak on his first outing in the game, and he never settled from there. The Buckeyes didn’t bring him down much to the ground—they only sacked Mertz once—but he was always on the move because of the Fierce Seven for most of the night.

Simply put: Ohio State is a full team now. Crime was a well-known commodity, but now that Knowles has outlined defense, the sky is the limit. Or, should I say, Los Angeles – the site of this season’s College Football National Championship – looks like the destination of what should be a fun trip the rest of the way in Columbus.

Wisconsin identity holding them back

The Badgers were put into a spin on the game’s first four engines and weren’t designed simply to recover. The 31 first-quarter points the Badgers have given up was the most since losing a 2014 Big Ten Championship game to the same Buckeyes. Paul Crest is a fantastic coach and he’s done a great job keeping Wisconsin somewhat relevant on the national stage, but this program wouldn’t make it past what it is now without a coordinated change in its identity. Championship-caliber national teams were built to win in a variety of ways, and when they fell into a hole early, there was no chance of a comeback.

They simply do not have the depth and talent on the list to make this business a success. In the age of name, image, and example, Chryst can fix it. He has a frenzied fan base and a sports department willing to invest in the program to quickly change identity. He just has to be willing to do it.

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