2 Ohio State Buckeyes (-11) @ 8 Wisconsin Badgers
The game everyone will tune into on Saturday night is between two top-10 teams from the Big Ten. Both teams own great defenses, therefore this could turn into another battle of defenses like Wisconsin forced Michigan into.
The Badgers only managed seven points against Michigan in their last game. Despite their defense holding one of the best offenses in the nation to 14 points, the Badgers’ offense didn’t do enough. Alex Hornibrook and Bart Houston have both struggled this year, putting even more pressure on Corey Clement.
It works against mediocre competition, however there’s a reason Clement is averaging a mere 3.9 yards per carry on the ground. Clement is a good running back, although defenses hone in on stopping him knowing the struggles Wisconsin’s quarterbacks have had in 2016. Michigan shut Clement down and held Hornibrook to a 36 percent completion percentage.
Now, the Badgers will have to try to crack another tough defense. Ohio State ranks third in the nation in points allowed per game. The Buckeyes have only given up more than 20 points once this season — #14 Oklahoma Sooners scored 24 points. The Buckeyes hold teams to 2.8 yards per carry and quarterbacks only complete 46.1 percent of passes against them.
As tough as Wisconsin’s defense has been this season, they won’t be able to stop J.T. Barrett, Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel all game. At some point the Badgers will need to score, and that’s not a guarantee against the Buckeyes’ stifling defense. Unless Hornibrook steps up and forces Ohio State to respect the pass, Wisconsin will have a hard time gaining first downs, let alone finding the end zone.
In the end, Wisconsin’s defense is as good as they come. They can stop Ohio State’s explosive offense for a quarter and maybe even a half. Although, there’s no stopping Barrett for 60 minutes. Ohio State and Wisconsin will start close, but Ohio State will run away with it if Wisconsin doesn’t find a solution on offense.
Prediction: Ohio State 24 Wisconsin 7