Although the Badgers aren’t quite as good as the Buckeyes last opponent, they’re out on the outside of the getting ranked, so it’s not as if they’re a bottom of the barrel Big Ten team.
The Buckeyes are facing off against a quarterback in freshman Braedyn Locke, who is making his second career start, so the Badgers have plenty of questions about how he will play.
As for Ohio State, they also have plenty of questions entering this contest and here are the biggest ones that stand out in my eyes.
How will the Buckeyes handle Camp Randal?
This one of the most raucous environment in the Big Ten, and you add that this contest is at night, and it becomes just that much more intimidating. The Buckeyes have played at Notre Dame, but that might not match what we will see tonight. Ohio State can’t let the noise get to it, but rather, the Buckeyes need to stay composed and not have the crowd have an impact on their play.
Will we see some rust on the returning injured players?
"Now we are getting to the end of October it's time for all of that stuff to start paying off"
Ryan Day confirms that Emeka, Henderson, and Burke made the trip.
He says a game like this is when they need to start playing their best football: pic.twitter.com/XS9fjvujSP
— Adam King (@AdamKing10TV) October 27, 2023
This is much more about the offense than the defense, as the Buckeyes are getting receiver Emeka Egbuka and running back TreVeyon Henderson back for this one. They’re also getting corner Denzel Burke or so we think, but for as much as he’s been dominant this year, the secondary has shown impressive depth this year. The offense missed two of its biggest playmakers last week and if they come back without any rust, we could see a very impressive performance from this group.
Can the Buckeyes slow down Braelon Allen?
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 25, 2023
There is no doubt in my mind that the Badgers will try and pound Allen to set up some deep shots later in the game. He’s averaging just over 100 yards-per-game, coming off his best performance of the year against Illinois, running the ball 29 times (!) for 145 yards and a score. I’d expect similar usage against the Buckeyes, as Locke is still being eased into the starting role. Ohio State needs to make this offense one-dimensional, and it starts with slowing down Allen.
Can the offensive line open up running lanes?
Josh Fryar said it felt like the Buckeyes had more than 79 rushing yards against Penn State.
The Ohio State offensive line believes the running game is improving. It feels and looks better right now.
— Spencer Holbrook (@SpencerHolbrook) October 26, 2023
Wisconsin is a middle of the road statistical team when opponents run the ball. That means that there will be opportunities for Ohio State to move the chains on the ground. The Badgers will also try and make the Buckeyes one-dimensional, as their secondary is the strongest unit for them. There has been just one game where a Buckeye back has gone over 100 yards on the ground, and if the return of Henderson is as impactful as we’d like, this number is very achievable for this offense.
Who wins the battle between Marvin Harrison Jr. and Ricardo Hallman
Wisconsin CB Ricardo Hallman this season:
🦡 Zero TDs Allowed
🦡 4 INTs | 2 PBUs
🦡 35.1 Passer Rating Allowed
🦡 82.5 Coverage Grade pic.twitter.com/glDKwH8AQj
It took a few games, but the Pennsylvania high school connection of Kyle McCord and Marvin Harrison Jr. has found a groove. It didn’t matter much against Penn State’s potential first round pick, Kalen King, but Notre Dame’s future early selection in Benjamin Morrison did. The difference is stated above, the last three games has seen Harrison Jr. explode, 425 total yards and three scores. Hallman has been great this season and the winner of this matchup will go a long way for their respective team.