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Buckeyes’ big plays doom, frustrate UW

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Associated Press
October 12, 2009
— There were 129 plays in Saturday’s Wisconsin-Ohio State football game. On all but a few, the Badgers seemed like the better team.

But three big plays flipped the game in the Buckeyes’ favor. Maybe that’s why they’ve won all or a share of the last four Big Ten titles.


Badgers coach Bret Bielema came away both frustrated by the Buckeyes—and amazed by them.


“If you want to be considered a player in this league, you’ve got to beat Ohio State,” Bielema said after the ninth-ranked Buckeyes’ 31-13 victory. “A very wise coach once said, ‘If you’ve done it, you’re not bragging.’ They’ve done it for four straight years. They’ve set the bar in this league, and we need to be able to go after it.”


Wisconsin’s offense played well for most of the game. So did its defense. And it had only one slip-up on special teams. But the Buckeyes


(5-1, 3-0) gave the Badgers no margin for error.


With Wisconsin (5-1, 2-1) driving in the first quarter of a scoreless game, quarterback Scott Tolzien was pressured by Ohio State’s line as he looked to throw. His hurried pass went directly to safety Kurt Coleman, who went 89 untouched yards with the interception.


Still, the Badgers trailed only 14-10 when they took the second-half kickoff. Five plays later, Tolzien’s pass to Isaac Anderson was picked off by Ohio State safety Jermale Hines. Hines tipped the ball, then collected it before racing down the left sideline 32 yards for a TD.


Philip Welch’s 46-yard field goal cut the lead to a tenuous 21-13 with 10 minutes left in the third quarter. But Welch’s kickoff was taken back 96 yards by Ray Small for another score.


Wisconsin finished with 22 first downs to the Buckyes’ eight and with advantages of 118-97 in rushing and 250-87 in passing. The Badgers also dominated time of possession (42:47).


Still, the Buckeyes found a way to win. Ohio State next plays at Purdue (1-5, 0-2) on Saturday.


“They’re always a good litmus test for where you’re at,” said safety Chris Maragos, who scored the Badgers’ only touchdown on a


9-yard run off of a fake field goal. “They’ve won the conference four straight years. They’re a big dog that you have to take down.”


Wisconsin, meanwhile, will go back to the drawing board and try to figure out how to catch up. The Badgers host unbeaten Iowa on Saturday.



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