Ohio State vs. Wisconsin Football Preview, Prediction

Two interdivisional rivals meet in Columbus as Ohio State hosts Wisconsin in the Big Ten opener in Week 4 of college football on Saturday.

Ohio State is perfect through 3 games behind the #1 total offense in college football while Wisconsin already has a costly loss, at home to Washington State, but is playing behind the 8th best defense from the country.

Here’s what you need to know about this weekend’s game.

How to watch

When: Saturday, September 24

Time: 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time

Television: ABC Network

Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)

Odds, point spread, betting lines

Line: Ohio State -19

O/U: 57

Moneyline: WIS +650, OSU -1205

REIT Pick: State of Ohio 89.0%

What do you want to know

1. The Unstoppable Force. Once again, the Buckeyes are absolutely loaded with skill plays that can slice through almost any secondary with a diverse pattern battery and perimeter stealth that can open up space in the deep end of the court. Marvin Harrison and Emeka Egbuka have 666 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns, leading a unit that leads the nation with 565.3 YPG and is 10th with 47.7 ppg. TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams have 404 combined yards rushing, while CJ Stroud is playing football without turnovers, almost 1,000 passing yards already, with 11 touchdowns and nearly 73 percent completion.

2. And the immovable object. Well, “unchangeable” might be overkill, but the Badgers have always put together a solid defensive product under Jim Leonhard. Wisconsin is allowing all 8 points per game, 8th nationally, a year after leading college football in total defense and yards per game, even ahead of Georgia. He might be out of key pieces thanks to an injury in the secondary, but Wisky still gave up all of 1 TD pass while intercepting 7 of his own.

3. Jim Knowles versus Braelon Allen. Good returns so far on the Buckeyes’ new defense under Knowles, but the Notre Dame game hasn’t looked as impressive thanks to the Irish’s struggles since. This week should prove a more detailed litmus test as the front-seven line up against one of college football’s premier blocking units and first-time rusher Braelon Allen, who has 5 touchdowns on 50 carries and is near 7 ypc. OSU struggled against elite backs a year ago and have the chance to show vital progress this week.

Ohio State vs. Wisconsin: Quick Facts

braelon allen wisconsin

+ Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz has improved this year, ranking 5th nationally in passing efficiency and is 3rd with 11.2 ypa

+ Ohio State has won 8 straight over Wisconsin

+ Wisconsin has intercepted one pass in 8 straight games

+ OSU quarterback CJ Stroud is 2nd nationally with a passing efficiency rating of 208.6, 22 points higher than his mark from last year

+ UW is 50-9 when scoring first under Paul Chryst and 17-15 otherwise

+ Ohio State is averaging 40+ points in every game under Ryan Day

+ Wisconsin is 108-8 when scoring 20+ points under Chryst

+ OSU has had under 30 pts in 8 of 40 games under Day and is 4-4 in those matchups

+ Wisconsin is 42-4 under Chryst, allowing 15 points or less

+ Ohio State has allowed 4 touchdowns so far, forcing punts on 22 of 35 possessions (63%), 11 teams have allowed fewer

+ Wisconsin is 39-2 under Chryst when it has fewer turnovers

+ OSU is 9th nationally with 27 tackles for loss

+ Mertz has surpassed 80% passing in 2 of 3 games so far

+ Ohio State is 20-5 at home on the night and has won 9 of its last 10

+ UW is 62-4 under Chryst when leading after 3 quarters and 5-18 otherwise

What happens?

Ohio State has been in the college football playoff standings since winning the first-ever CFP national title.

Running the ball and blocking for the run is what Wisconsin does. Braelon Allen is the latest in a long line of guards the Badgers have who can move the chains, burn the clock and hold possession.

Wisconsin will indeed limit how often the Buckeyes get the ball in their hands, but they can make up for that lost time with a quick offense like almost no other in college football.

Ohio State already proved they could play a bit of Tresselball themselves with a pair of strikes in the opener against Notre Dame, including that 95-yard charge led by Miyan Williams. OSU wants to prove that it’s not just a team that just passes and highlights and can win games the old fashioned way.

Not that there won’t be bombs from Stroud to his receivers, but the Buckeyes will show they can’t just build a lead, but protect it in the Big Ten opener, an important piece en route to the college football playoffs.

College Football Headquarters Prediction: Ohio State 38, Wisconsin 20


According to the AP top 25 poll

  1. Georgia
  2. Alabama
  3. ohio state
  4. Michigan
  5. Clemson
  6. Oklahoma
  7. USC
  8. Kentucky
  9. Oklahoma State
  10. Arkansas
  11. Tennessee
  12. NC status
  13. Utah
  14. Penn State
  15. Oregon
  16. Ole Miss
  17. Baylor
  18. Washington
  19. BYU
  20. Florida
  21. WakeForest
  22. Texas
  23. Texas A&M
  24. Pittsburgh
  25. Miami

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