Here's my thought... we ALL know what the Buckeyes have this year. We may not be able to tell quite yet how good they actually are, but we are familiar with our team. As Big Ten Conference play starts, I thought that maybe people who don't spend as much time as I do looking at the other teams in the B1G might want a quick reference guide - Cheat Sheet if you will - for the opposition each week.
So today marks the beginning of my Friday Cheat Sheets - a look at the upcoming opponent, what they bring to the field, what players could give OSU trouble. This way, you'll know what names to watch for on Saturday and what parts of the game could cause the Buckeyes some problems. Hope this helps your enjoyment of another OSU victory. O-H!
Wisconsin Badgers (3-0)
The Badgers come to Columbus this Saturday for a 7:00 pm kickoff having spanked Purdue 41-10 last week. They have a very good offense, scoring 45, 48, 30, and 41 in games so far this season. Their only loss was in week 3 to Arizona State 32-30 and if not for a bad call, they would be 4-0. With the decline of the Michigan Wolverine football program in recent years, Wisconsin has become a fierce rival for the Buckeyes, with 15 of the last 28 games being decided by 7 point or less!
#25 RB Melvin Gordon carries the load for their offense. They've always tended to be a power running team - remember Montee Ball? - and this year is no different. They rank 3rd nationally with an average
approaching 350 rushing yards per game. Gordon's got help from guys like #20 James White and #6 Corey Clement, but Gordon is the real threat. He's got 624 yards through four games, an average of 11.8 yards-per-carry. YIKES!
QB Joel Stave has struggled this year. The O-Line has only given up 3 sacks this season so there's no obvious reason. Perhaps it's his willingness to rely on a terrific run game, and why not? This week may be the answer to that question - if the Buckeyes can keep Gordon from getting 100 yards, Stave will be forced to take to the air.... If that happens, I'm not too worried.
Head Coach Gary Anderson. Well, we all know that Bret Bielema is gone and I'm pretty sure none of us miss him. But Coach Anderson has brought the same intensity, desire to win, focus on power-run and defense that we expect from Wisconsin. He just bring it in a much nicer package. He's also got ties to the Buckeyes as he was Coach Urban Meyer's defensive coordinator back in 2004 at Utah during their undefeated season. They remain friends, although family and football commitments make it hard to talk as often as they'd like. My guess is that the desire to beat someone who could be described as his mentor will make Anderson pull out all this stops this weekend.
Now, with all that being said, the Buckeyes should have the edge in the passing game, passing defense, and QB play. This is their first real test, an opponent who isn't a push-over. If they can stop the run then we'll all be breathing a lot easier during the game Saturday night!