The Buckeyes’ Big Ten opener was never in doubt.
Against a Wisconsin team that was expected to give Ohio State one of its toughest tests of the season to date, the Buckeyes dominated on both sides of the ball, scoring on their first five possessions of the game en route to a 52-21 win over the Badgers.
|#3 Ohio State||21||10||7||14||52|
|SEPT. 24, 2022 • Ohio STADIUM • Columbus, Ohio|
Ohio State’s offense hit the ground running, driving 88 yards down the field in six plays on its opening drive. C.J. Stroud completed an 18-yard pass to Marvin Harrison Jr., a 22-yard pass to Cade Stover and a 33-yard pass to Emeka Egbuka before Miyan Williams capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run.
The Buckeyes got the ball back inside the red zone on their second possession after Tanner McCalister intercepted a pass and returned it to the 16-yard line. Two plays later, Stover got wide open for a 13-yard touchdown, the first touchdown of his Ohio State career, to give the Buckeyes a 14-0 lead just over six minutes into the game.
Stover scored again on the Buckeyes’ next possession, capping off a seven-play, 70-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown catch to make it 21-0 just over 11 minutes into the game.
|6.0||AVERAGE per RUSH||5.5|
|16.5||AVERAGE per COMPLETION||8.7|
|7.7||YARDS PER PLAY||5.3|
|7-11||third down conv||6-13|
Williams expanded Ohio State’s lead to 28-0 on its fourth possession when he scored a 3-yard touchdown one play after spinning through multiple tacklers on a 21-yard run.
The Badgers finally got on the board on their fourth possession of the game. A 26-yard pass from Graham Mertz to Skyler Bell got Wisconsin into the red zone, and Mertz finished the drive by running the ball into the end zone himself from one yard out.
Ohio State drove inside Wisconsin’s 10-yard line again on its fifth possession of the game before settling for a Noah Ruggles field goal on 4th-and-2 from the 7-yard line, drawing some boos from the home crowd but extending its lead to 31-7.
Stroud threw his first interception of the season on his 100th passing attempt of the season when Wisconsin safety John Torchio picked off a pass that Stroud sailed over Harrison’s head on the Buckeyes’ final possession of the first half.
What a catch— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) September 25, 2022
Badgers hand C.J. Stroud his first INT of the season! pic.twitter.com/mlLjZjYJC1
That gave the Badgers a chance to score again before halftime, but McCalister preserved the Buckeyes’ 24-point halftime lead with a rangy pass breakup to prevent what otherwise could have been a deep-ball touchdown.
Just have to revisit this amazing play from Tanner McCalister. pic.twitter.com/FjJqyYfsip— Eleven Warriors (@11W) September 25, 2022
Ohio State got back in the end zone on its opening possession of the second half, with Julian Fleming scoring a 12-yard touchdown after getting the Buckeyes into the red zone with a 31-yard catch-and-run.
Stroud extended the Buckeyes’ lead to 45-7 with 2:22 to play in the third quarter when he zipped a dart to Egbuka between two defenders for an 8-yard touchdown.
The Badgers scored their second touchdown of the game on their next drive, driving 80 yards in 14 plays and capping it off with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Mertz to fullback Jackson Acker.
Stroud threw his fifth touchdown pass of the night and Egbuka scored his second touchdown of the night when the pair connected on a 32-yard scoring play to put the Buckeyes over the half-century mark on the scoreboard.
C.J. Stroud with his fifth passing TD pic.twitter.com/GyRhA8XEq0— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) September 25, 2022
That would be the final play of the night for Ohio State’s starting quarterback, who finished the game with 281 passing yards on 17 completions and 27 attempts. Egbuka was the Buckeyes’ leading receiver, catching six passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns, while TreVeyon Henderson (121) and Williams (101) both topped 100 rushing yards.
With mostly backups in the game, Ohio State’s defense gave up a one-play touchdown drive on its second-to-last defensive series of the game, allowing Braelon Allen to run for a 75-yard score to cut the Buckeyes’ final margin of victory to 31 points.
Tommy Eichenberg led Ohio State’s defense for the night with 14 total tackles, including two tackles for loss.
Ohio State ends the month of September with a 4-0 record. It will begin October with its fifth straight home game to begin the season when it hosts Rutgers in its second game of Big Ten play next Saturday at 3:30 p.m. with Big Ten Network televising.
- Wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and cornerbacks Cameron Brown and Denzel Burke were among 11 unavailable Ohio State players.
- Julian Fleming made his first start of the season at wide receiver while Emeka Egbuka started in the slot in place of Smith-Njigba.
- JK Johnson and Jyaire Brown both made their first career starts at cornerback in place of Burke and Cameron Brown. Jack Sawyer also made his first career start at defensive end, getting the nod over J.T. Tuimoloau.
- C.J. Stroud, Cade Stover, Tommy Eichenberg and Kourt Williams were the captains for the pregame coin toss.
- True freshman Sonny Styles saw playing time with the first-team defense against the Badgers as a hybrid safety/linebacker in short-yardage situations.
- Miyan Williams had the third 100-yard game of his Ohio State career, while Henderson had the fourth 100-yard game of his Ohio State career. Both had their first 100-yard games of the season, and they became the first duo of Buckeyes to top 100 rushing yards in the same game since Trey Sermon and Justin Fields against Michigan State in 2020.
- Henderson has now rushed for more than 1,500 yards in his Ohio State career.
- 105,473 was the attendance for Saturday night’s game, marking the third time already this season the Buckeyes have drawn more than 105,000 fans to the Shoe.
- Stroud now ranks third in Ohio State history, behind only J.T. Barrett (104) and Justin Fields (63), with 60 touchdown passes.
- It was Stroud’s seventh career game with five passing touchdowns, extending his lead for the most such games in school history. He also now has 10 career games with four passing touchdowns, trailing J.T. Barrett by just one for the most by an Ohio State quarterback in that category.