Madison, Wes. – Defensive Coordinator Jim Leonard The Wisconsin Badgers addressed the Badgers with a simple message Monday after the team finished its first practice session ahead of a major challenge against the Ohio State Buckeyes No. 3.
According to running back Brylon AllenLeonard told the team, “We’re not going to treat this game as another game because it’s not. It’s a big game. Once you realize that and accept that fact, everything will calm down for you.”
He was speaking from experience. Leonard, a three-time former U.S. safety player, played for the Badgers from 2001 to 2004 and had his share of games against the Buckeyes, the Big Ten and a national strength that has won five of their last eight conference titles. Leonard went 3-1 against Ohio State, with two of those wins at Ohio Stadium, where the Badgers (2-1) face the Bucks (3-0) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
Since Leonard and the Badgers hit Ohio State in “Horseshoe” in 2004, wins in this series have been tough for Wisconsin. The program has lost its last five road games to the Buckeyes and 11 of its last 12 encounters overall. Nobody outside expects things to be any different this weekend — the Las Vegas streak revealed on Sunday that the Buckeyes are a 17.5-point favorite — but the Badgers understand that means they have a chance to make a statement.
“I enjoy it,” Allen said of the underdog role. “It gives us an added advantage. As an underdog, you don’t have much to lose. We get into this game with everything to gain. I think that’s how we approach it.”
Aside from a heartbreaker 33-29 in 2011 and a 31-24 loss in 2013, Wisconsin’s other three road losses to the Buckeyes since 2004 have been lopsided. She lost 38-17 in 2007, 31-13 in 2009 and 38-7 in 2019. The Badgers’ only final bright spot in the series came in 2010 when David Gilreath returned the opening start 97 yards for a score, and John Clay ran for 104 yards And two touchdowns in victory 31-18. Wisconsin won the Big Ten Awards that year.
Showdowns against the Buckeyes in the Conference Championship match were equally disappointing for the Badgers. They lost 59-0 in 2014, 27-21 in 2017 and 34-21 in 2019 after leading 21-7 in the first half. Great defensive intervention Keanu Benton He is one of the few players on the current roster who has appeared in that game.
“It’s hard to win trophies,” Benton said. “When you win as many as they have, you have some bragging rights. We’ll try to change that this year.”
The Buckeyes made four appearances in the College Football Playoff game, most recently in 2020, and they earned the contender’s makeup again this year. They have a prolific passing attack led by Heisman Trophy CJ Stroud, the Big Ten offensive player of the year who’s already thrown for 941 yards and 11 touchdowns. While a handful of top playmakers have left last year’s team for the NFL, he still has a star-studded lineup of receivers in jackson smith ngigbaAnd the Marvin Harrison son and Emeka Ajboka.
Harrison has 342 yards with five touchdowns so far, while Egbuka is not far behind with 324 yards and three touchdowns. Smith Ngigba, who led the Buckeyes in receptions (95) and receiving yards (1606) in 2021, He suffered a hamstring injury earlier this season but played on Saturday in a win over Toledo.
Sixth year of Kornpark Jay show He doesn’t know who he’ll cover yet, but he’s eager for a challenge.
“Being a kid, that’s something you look forward to,” Shaw, a transfer from UCLA, said. “You want to beat the best, or you want to get the best. To be the best, you have to take the best. It’s something we all look forward to.”
The Buckeyes has scored 66-4 at home since 2012, the third-best mark in the country behind Clemson (66-3) and Alabama (68-3). They are 44-1 at home against Big Ten teams in the same period and have won 25 in a row since losing to Michigan State in 2015.
The Badgers, 12-17 against the seeded teams under coach Paul Cresthas not beaten Ohio’s top 3 team on the road since November 1985. The program has an all-time record 10-39-2 against the three foes, with its most recent win against the third-seeded Buckeyes at home in 2003.
“This is a big match, a great team,” said Aman Kamui Lato.
And Leonhard made it very clear to the team after training.
“They are a great team every year,” outside full-back Nick Herbig He said. “This is a good challenge for us as a team. It will show who we are and who we are.”