By Matt Natali
Saturday’s matchup is the first of two back-to-back night games for Ohio State. The Buckeyes travel to Evanston, Illinois next week to battle No. 17 Northwestern.
Ohio State has won the last three night games in Ohio Stadium dating back to 2010, including a win over Wisconsin when the unranked Buckeyes upended the No. 15-ranked Badgers 33-29. Prior to the three-game win streak, the Buckeyes lost three straight at night at home.
Ohio State is 9-3 under the lights at Ohio Stadium since 1985.
According to the Ohio State official athletics website, fans in attendance are encouraged “to wear Scarlet for an impactful stadium effect as we “Scarlet Out the 'Shoe,’” and Ohio State confirmed Wednesday that the team will wear the alternate uniform worn in the 26-21 win over Michigan last season.
All told, the stage is set for an electric atmosphere.
From an X’s and O’s standpoint, the key to the game will be how well Ohio State is able to defend against Wisconsin’s premiere running attack. The Buckeyes rank No. 9 in the country against the run allowing 79.8 ypg but that is against the Nos. 97, 112, and 113-ranked rushing offenses in the FBS, respectively, and FAMU comes in at No. 107 in the FCS.
Needless to say, the Ohio State rush defense has yet to be challenged. Bennett, Washington, Shazier, Perry, and Grant in addition to the interior defensive line will have to be on top of their games.
For Wisconsin, the key will be stopping the potential two-headed monster at quarterback and the arsenal of running backs Ohio State can throw at the Badgers defense. Indications throughout the week are that the Buckeyes will play Miller and Guiton, and Meyer has the utmost confidence in his running game, as he expressed.
Wisconsin’s only test this season was against Arizona State in the third week, but the officials blew the game for the Badgers on a bizarre play in the final moments of the game leaving them with sour grapes and hungry for a big win.
In the end, with the home crowd atmosphere and momentum Ohio State is carrying into this game coupled with Miller thrown back into the mix, the Buckeyes will claims its nation-leading 17-game win.
Prediction: Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 24