The Ohio State Buckeyes open their Big 10 schedule with a night game at home against Wisconsin this Saturday, and while they won't win this one 76-0, they'll hope their excellent play carries over from last weekend.
Kenny Guiton set an Ohio State record by throwing six touchdown passes (all in the first half), and the Buckeyes dominated Florida A&M from the opening whistle. Wisconsin is coming off of a 41-10 win over Purdue in their conference opener, and they'll lean heavily on college football's best running back, Melvin Gordon.
The biggest question facing the Buckeyes this week concerns who's going to start under center on Saturday: Braxton Miller or Kenny Guiton. Miller has reportedly recovered from the sprained MCL he suffered in Ohio State's season opener, and according to Urban Meyer the QB with the better week of practice will start on Saturday.
Let's take a look at how the offenses stack up head-to-head:
Running Game: Both Wisconsin and Ohio State are fantastic on the ground. The Badgers are averaging an absolutely obscene 349.8 rushing yards per game, but the Buckeyes aren't far behind with 311. Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon has transformed from a relative unknown to an outside contender for the Heisman trophy, and the scariest thing for the Buckeyes is that he isn't alone - his backup, senior James White, has averaged over five yards per carry throughout his four years at Wisconsin. As if Gordon and White weren't enough, Freshman Corey Clement also has over 300 rushing yards already as well, and the trio have combined for 14 rushing touchdowns through just four games.
The Buckeyes have established a platoon of three running backs. Jordan Hall has had the majority of carries so far, with Ezekiel Elliott and electric freshman Dontre Wilson filling in depending on the situation. Kenny Guiton and Braxton Miller are also threats on the ground, and no matter who starts at QB on Saturday, Wisconsin will have to prepare for a QB who can hurt them with his legs as well as his arm.
Passing Game: Ohio State has two excellent receivers in Devin Smith and Philly Brown, but Wisconsin's Jared Abbrederis might be the best receiver on the field on Saturday. The rest of Wisconsin's receiving corps is nowhere near as dangerous as Abbrederis, though, and the Buckeyes definitely have better depth.
Wisconsin's QB Joel Stave isn't as good as either Guiton or Miller, and Urban Meyer knows that if the Buckeyes go up early, the Badgers will have trouble catching up through the air. Stave has six touchdown passes on the season to go along with three interceptions.
Advantage: Ohio State
Offensive Line: The Buckeyes' recently overhauled offensive line has performed well so far, but they haven't been seriously tested through tOSU's first four games. Center Corey Linsley is one of the best at his position in college football, and the Buckeyes have a number of talented underclassmen pushing their way up the depth chart.
The success of Wisconsin's running game is as much a credit to their offensive line as it is to their running backs. Left tackle Ryan Groy is a future NFL player, and Ohio State's front seven will have to contend with physical equals for the first time all season.