It was a one-score game thanks to stout defensive performances from both sides until Ohio State was able to break away with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, all but securing the win.
Wisconsin's defense was particularly impressive, consistently giving the Badgers' offense the chance to challenge the Buckeyes. Kyle McCord was picked off twice — his first interceptions in seven games.
But the Badger offense was slow to start, especially with backup-turned-starter Braedyn Locke under center after Tanner Mordecai suffered a broken right hand (his throwing hand) against Iowa two weeks ago.
At one point, Locke was 1-7, but he picked up steam toward the end of the first half and in the second half, improving to 18-39 for 165 yards overall and one touchdown.
Wisconsin's leading rusher Braelon Allen went down shortly before halftime, limping off the field after rushing for 50 yards on 10 carries. He did not return.
Ohio State's Kyle McCord also seemed to be hobbling around toward the end of the game, but he was able to hold on, going 17-26 for 226 yards and two touchdowns.
His top target was Marvin Harrison Jr., who had six receptions for 123 yards, two touchdowns and averaged 20.5 yards per catch.
While Wisconsin's defense was able to gain the upper hand on McCord and stuff the Buckeyes' run game at times, it wasn't enough to keep running back TreVeyon Henderson from amassing 162 yards and a score after missing the past three weeks due to an unidentified injury.
Wisconsin gave Ohio State a run for its money at times, but the Buckeyes improve to 8-0 with the first College Football Playoff rankings due on Tuesday, October 31.
OSU has reached the playoff in three of the previous four seasons. The biggest regular season contest still remaining on its schedule is at No. 2 Michigan on November 25 — a matchup that will likely decide the Big Ten East.
With the loss, Wisconsin drops to second in the Big Ten West behind Iowa.
Keep reading for a drive-by-drive breakdown and highlights.
FINAL: OSU 24 - WIS 10
No. 3 Ohio State holds on against a strong Wisconsin defense to remain undefeated and improve to 8-0.
Wisconsin kicks it away one final time
Wisconsin wasn't able to produce any sort of miracle, so Ohio State gets the ball back and kneels the clock out.
Ohio State kicks it away with 2 minutes left
The Buckeyes kept it on the ground for three plays as Wisconsin burned two timeouts while trying to salvage time for a miracle comeback.
Wisconsin gets it back on their own 11.
Wisconsin's final attempts fall short
Wisconsin is able to move down the field, earning three first downs before Braedyn Locke throws it incomplete four times, including going for it on 4th and 10.
That will about do it at Camp Randall Stadium.
Buckeyes put the nail in the coffin, OSU 24 - WIS 10
Ohio State has a short field to play with at the Wisconsin 45 and takes advantage. On the third play of the drive, TreVeyon Henderson runs it 33 yards for the score to all but close out this tight matchup.
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) October 29, 2023
Another 3 and out for Wisconsin
Jackson Acker starts the drive strong with a 6-yard run, but Braedyn Locke throws two incomplete passes and the Badgers have to punt it away with the clock ticking down.
If the Badgers can once again hold OSU, they'll have enough time for probably one more drive to try to tie it and force overtime.
Another intentional grounding forces OSU to kick it away
Kyle McCord is once again the subject of an intentional grounding penalty, forcing OSU to punt it away.
Wisconsin punts it away after promising start
OSU gets it back at their own 14.
OSU 17 - WIS 10, End of 3rd Quarter
Kyle McCord clearly in pain, slow to get off field after 3rd down
McCord had an incomplete pass that resulted in an intentional grounding call before Ohio State kicked it away.
McCord limped off the field. A reminder that backup quarterback Devin Brown is unavailable after rolling his ankle last week against Penn State.
With Braelon Allen out, Wisconsin leans on Jackson Acker to no avail
Running back Braelon Allen — Wisconsin's only producing rusher (besides QB Braedyn Locke in the first half) went down right before halftime, limping/hopping off the field on one leg.
Allen is unlikely to return.
Jackson Acker replaced him and ran for three plays and only 9 yards before Wisconsin had to punt it away.
McCord to Harrison Jr. for TD, OSU 17 - WIS 10
With their run game spotty, Ohio State leans on its passing game, with Kyle McCord hitting Marvin Harrison Jr. on two long plays (16 and 19 yds, respectively) to answer Wisconsin.
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) October 29, 2023
Locke to Paulding for TD, OSU 10 - WIS 10
It's all tied up after a balanced drive from Braedyn Locke and Co. For his part, Locke completed three passes on that drive, including a 27-yarder to start and the 13-yarder for the score. He also caught the Buckeye defense off guard with a 29-yard run to get the Badgers into the red zone.
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) October 29, 2023
OSU 10 - WIS 3, End of Half
Wisconsin will get the ball to start the second half.
Locke locks in, OSU 10 - WIS 3
Wisconsin was moving down the field, including an OSU offsides penalty in their favor, before Locke was sacked by Jordan Hancock for a loss of 10 to the OSU 49.
But Locke found his rhythm, hitting C.J. Williams for 7 yards and Will Pauling for 19 yards to turn the momentum back in the Badgers' favor.
By the end of the drive, it seems Wisconsin has unlocked the key to beating this Ohio State defense.
Braedyn Locke is rolling (4-4 on the drive), and Braelon Allen is grounding and pounding in typical Badger fashion. It's a hybrid that might just be enough to keep up with the Buckeyes in the second half.
For now, though, the Badgers settle for a field goal after three plays at the one-yard line come up short.
Down by 10, Wisconsin defense delivers once again
Kyle McCord is picked off again after a false start penalty had OSU at the WIS 48.
OSU holds Wisconsin to 7 yards and a 3 and out
The Buckeyes will get the ball back at their own 22 after Braedyn Locke was able to complete two passes but for minimal gain and having to punt it away.
Harrison Jr. dances into the end zone, OSU 10 - WIS 0
After driving down the field and shaving four minutes off the clock, Kyle McCord connected with standout wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. for 16 yards and the score. PAT was good.
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) October 29, 2023
Braedyn Locke 1-7, Wisconsin punts it away
Ohio State will get it back at its own 48 after Locke couldn't connect with his receivers once again.
OSU 3 - WIS 0, End of 1st Quarter
It's been an exciting quarter of football. Wisconsin is holding the No. 3 team in the nation, but the Badgers will have to get something going to contend with McCord, Harrison Jr., and co.
Dramatic drive sees Ohio State come up empty-handed
It was third and long before Marvin Harrison Jr. made his first catch of the evening — a 35-yard pass to get to the Wisconsin 24. Wisconsin gave them 5 more yards for an offsides penalty.
McCord took a shot to the end zone on 1st and 5 but missed his target, so they gave it to TreVeyon Henderson on the next play to get to the Wisconsin 15 and set up 3rd and 1.
After a play clock flub up that initially wrongly penalized OSU, the Buckeyes gave it to Henderson again but the Badgers stood him up for no gain.
Wisconsin got an unsportsmanlike call for taunting to extend the Buckeyes' drive and get them to the Wisconsin 9 on a fresh set of downs, but the next play, McCord threw a pick in the end zone, resulting in a touchback for Wisconsin.
It was McCord's first interception in 204 pass attempts.
Early miscues could be important in the long run
After a great punt return, Wisconsin was set up at the OSU 36. The Buckeyes had a lineman seemingly jump offsides, but instead of snapping the ball and getting the free yardage from the penalty, Locke and co. were confused, let the clock run down, and got a delay of game penalty.
Badgers went for the 54-yard field goal but missed it far left.
Ohio State 3 and out
Buckeyes are stopped after gaining only 5 yards on a pass play from Kyle McCord to Julian Fleming.
Wisconsin's defense is doing its job — now the offense needs to get going.
Braedyn Locke unable to get anything going through the air
On the Badgers first real drive, new starter Braedyn Locke was 0-for-3 passing. The only first down came thanks to an OSU penalty before they had to punt it away.
Ohio State on the board first — OSU 3 - WIS 0
Buckeyes were able to get into the red zone, but the Badgers were able to hold them to a 27-yard field goal.
Primed for a turnover-fest
Wisconsin had the ball for two plays before Braelon Allen ran it for 11 yards and fumbled, with Ohio State recovering it at the OSU 44.
Ohio State comes out swinging but comes up short
Ohio State had a 14-yard pass and then some short runs in its first drive before coming up short on third down and deciding to go for it on 4th and 3.
Kyle McCord was sacked for a loss and Wisconsin forced a fumble, coming up with it even though they would have gotten it anyways.
Ohio State earns another marquee win against Penn State
For the second time this season, Ohio State beat an AP top 10 team. After beating then-#9 Notre Dame on the road last month, the Buckeyes shut down then-#7 Penn State at home last week in a 20-12 win.
Ohio State Looking to Reach Another College Football Playoff
OSU has reached the College Football Playoff in 3 of Ryan Day’s previous 4 seasons at the helm (2019, 2020, 2022) and very well could be headed to the last 4-team playoff at the end of this season.
Luke Fickell’s Columbus Roots; Facing Alma Mater
Wisconsin head coach Luke Fickell was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, played football at Ohio State, began his coaching career with Ohio State and altogether coached at his alma mater for 16 seasons. This will be Fickell’s second time facing the Buckeyes as a head coach after he led Cincinnati into Columbus in 2019, and lost 42-0.
Wisconsin Stages Furious Fourth-Quarter Comeback to Beat Illinois
Wisconsin entered the 4th quarter last week at Illinois down 21-7 and staring down a 2nd consecutive loss before outscoring the Fighting Illini 18-0 in that final quarter to come away with the win.
Wisconsin Offense Evolves with “Air Raid,” But Yet to Bloom
When Wisconsin fired head coach Paul Chryst after 5 games last season, it was also a philosophical shift. New head coach Luke Fickell would hire North Carolina offensive coordinator Phil Longo for the same role at Wisconsin, bringing Longo’s version of the pass-centric “Air Raid” offense to a Badgers program that has long been a ground-and-pound operation behind big offensive lines.
Does Ohio State Have the Best Defense in the FBS? And Can it Avoid a Second-Half Slide?
Ohio State has yet to allow 20 points in a game this season and has limited the offenses of two top-10 teams.
Junior WR-QB duo Marvin Harrison Jr. and Kyle McCord Leading Way for Ohio State Offense
Former high school teammates Marvin Harrison Jr. and Kyle McCord proved a strong connection last week against Penn State, with Harrison posting 11 receptions (career-high) for 162 yards and a touchdown. This season, Harrison has 42 receptions for a Big-Ten-leading 766 yards as well as 6 receiving touchdowns
Braedyn Locke Steps Up at Quarterback for Wisconsin with Tanner Mordecai Injured
Wisconsin starting quarterback Tanner Mordecai missed last week’s win at Illinois after suffering a broken right hand (his throwing hand) late in the loss at Iowa two weeks ago. Head Coach Luke Fickell has said there is no timetable for Mordecai’s return. Redshirt freshman Braedyn Locke replaced Mordecai in the Iowa game and went 15 for 30 for 122 yards and 1 INT. In his first college start last week at Illinois, Locke went 21 for 41 for 240 yards and 2 TDs to 0 INTs. Wisconsin came back from a 14-point deficit in the 4th quarter (including Locke throwing the game-winning TD with under 30 seconds left), as the Badgers outscored Illinois 18-0 in the 4th quarter for a 25-21 win.
Braelon Allen Carrying Badgers Run Game, Maybe More Than Wisconsin Hopes
Junior Braelon Allen entered the season as one of the Big Ten’s best running backs and hasn’t disappointed, posting 704 rushing yards and 8 rushing touchdowns (both of which rank 2nd in the Big Ten). He is also averaging nearly 6 yards per carry. In the last 3 games, Allen has carried a large load, logging 68 carries for 333 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Wisconsin Defense Remains Reliable
Wisconsin has long boasted a solid defense, and in fact has led the Big Ten in scoring defense 3 of the past 8 seasons (2015, 2017, and 2021). This season’s defense started to take shape three weeks ago vs Rutgers when Wisconsin held the Scarlet Knights’ high-powered rushing attack to 64 yards and allowed only 13 points. The key moment was a 95-yard pick-six by redshirt sophomore CB Ricardo Hallman near the end of the first half that head coach Luke Fickell called, “as big of a play as we’ve had all year.”
Big Ten Outlook
This game is a potential Big Ten Championship Game preview as it’s entirely possible that the Buckeyes and Badgers meet again on December 2nd at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to decide the conference title. With its win over Penn State, Ohio State looks poised to meet Michigan in its regular-season finale with a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game on the line once again (that game decided the Big Ten East the last two seasons). Wisconsin leads the Big Ten West as it looks to make the conference title game for the first time in four years.
Buckeyes & Badgers – Big Ten Championship Game Meetings
Ohio State and Wisconsin have combined to win more than half (7 of 12) of the conference titles since the Big Ten began holding championship games in 2011. These programs met in three of those contests (2014, 2017, 2019), with Ohio State winning each, in games that have impacted the College Football Playoff positions.
25 Years of “Jump Around,” Wisconsin’s Iconic In-Game Tradition
Wisconsin football is synonymous with “Jump Around” – a tradition in which between the third and fourth quarters at Wisconsin home games, House of Pain’s 1992 song “Jump Around” is blared through the stadium speakers and the whole stadium of Wisconsin fans jump up and down (creating a frenzy of energy). The tradition creates so much energy that it has been known to shake the press box at Camp Randall Stadium. The “Jump Around” tradition debuted on Oct. 10, 1998, in Wisconsin’s 31-24 win vs Purdue (and quarterback Drew Brees), and was the brainchild of former Wisconsin players Ryan Sondrup (SAHN-drup) and Erik Waisanen (WICEnan).
The NBC Research department contributed to this report.
Jump around tryouts before kickoff
Ladies and gentleman, the "Jump Around" tryouts. pic.twitter.com/pfTpyvvvpy
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) October 28, 2023
How to watch No. 3 Ohio State vs. Wisconsin: Time, TV/live stream, key storylines for Week 9 matchup
When: Saturday, October 28
Where: Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET (Pregame coverage begins at 7:00pm ET)
Watch: NBC, Peacock
No. 1 Georgia vs. Florida (in Jacksonville, Fla.) | 3:30 p.m. — CBS
No. 3 Ohio State at Wisconsin | 7:30 p.m. — NBC (coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. with NBC Sports’ B1G Saturday Night)
No. 4 Florida State at Wake Forest | 12 p.m. — ABC
No. 5 Washington at Stanford | 7 p.m. — FS1
No. 6 Oklahoma at Kansas | 12 p.m. — FOX
No. 7 Texas vs. BYU | 3:30 p.m. — ABC/ESPN
No. 8 Oregon at No. 13 Utah | 3:30 p.m. — FOX
No. 10 Penn State vs. Indiana | 12 p.m. — CBS
No. 11 Oregon State at Arizona | 10:30 p.m. — ESPN
No. 12 Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt | 7:30 p.m. — SEC Network
No. 17 North Carolina at Georgia Tech | 8 p.m. — ACC Network
No. 18 Louisville vs. No. 20 Duke | 3:30 p.m. — ESPN
No. 19 Air Force at Colorado State | 7 p.m. — CBSSN
No. 21 Tennessee at Kentucky | 7 p.m. — ESPN
No. 22 Tulane at Rice | 4 p.m. — ESPN2
No. 23 UCLA vs. Colorado | 7:30 p.m. — ABC
No. 24 USC at Cal | 4 p.m. — Pac-12 Network
No. 25 James Madison vs. Old Dominion | 8 p.m. — ESPNU