THE Ohio State Buckeyes beat the Wisconsin Badgers 27-21 in the 2017 Big Ten Championship game. Ohio State went into the half up 21-10 and closed the deal while letting Wisconsin hang around all game. Wisconsin’s defense did most of the work as Alex Hornibrook threw two interceptions and Jonathan Taylor ran for under 50 yards but somehow the Badgers hung in.
Here are three plays from the Badgers versus Ohio State battle for the Big Ten.
Wisconsin throws fade for an interception
The Badgers are a run-oriented offense but the Ohio State front 7 really put a stop on that running game. No matter how many gaps the Badgers offense created by adding inline tight ends or winged tight ends (h-backs... whatever) the Buckeyes controlled the Badger offense. Wisconsin is definitely getting desperate when they look to throw four verts down inside the red zone.
The Badgers quarterback, Alex Hornibrook, is turnover prone and here he under throws a fade route which results in an interception for the Buckeyes. Hornibrook throws the one-on-one, the play design is poor with the safeties not really being challenged on the single receiver side of the field, and the ball is poor. Miami defensive backs have to be excited about the resurrection of the Turnover Chain. Michael Jackson, Jaquan Johnson and Malek Young need to step up big and control a below average passer.
Wisconsin defense comes up with a pick 6
Something I do worry about is Malik Rosier against the Badger defense. Wisconsin can control a line of scrimmage better than any team in the country. With an elite defense and a bright young defensive coordinator Miami’s offense has to be prepared and sharp. This isn’t West Virginia’s messy 3-3-5 defense, this is a well coached intelligent group.
As you can see, J.T. Barrett really struggles on this play. He doesn’t complete his sprint out which was costly for positioning. He doesn’t see the flat defender who comes away with the pick 6. Worse is that it’s when the Buckeyes are up 7-0 in the first quarter and this evens out the game. The Buckeyes QB could have either kept it and scrambled because the running lanes were there, or throw any route but well thrown. He underthrows this ball and it’s returned for a touchdown. Rosier needs to be accurate and ready to settle for the scramble.
Ohio State Zone plus RPO
The Buckeyes used the run-pass option or RPO to take advantage of the front above that the Badgers showed. Pre-snap the RPO would be off, but post-snap with the defensive end playing the tailback, and the flat defender playing the quarterback, J.T. Barrett pulls the ball and throws the easy screen.
The OSU receiver blocks well down field and the bubble goes for a touchdown. There are two caveats here: 1) will Mark Richt allow Malik Rosier to use a post-snap RPO versus a pre-snap outlet type RPO using the stalk and bubble, 2) will Rosier even make the damn read and throw anyway?! Miami has to take advantage of their speed on the outside as the Badgers will bully Miami upfront using their front 7 against Miami’s weaker offensive line and lack of an established H-Back.
Final Thoughts: Miami has a home bowl game in Miami Gardens at Hard Rock stadium for the Orange Bowl. Miami used the Orange Bowl to win national titles against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, the Oklahoma Sooners, and the Nebraska Cornhuskers again in 1984, 1988 and 1992’s editions of the Orange Bowl respectively. The Badgers will have to travel for the game, and take on a team with plenty of speed. Is this going to be deja vu of Miami versus Notre Dame or Miami versus Pitt?
Miami 20 - Wisconsin 17