By BigSportsRadio staff
September 24, 2022
(Cover photo courtesy Ohio State Athletics)
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Perhaps the biggest gasp heard from the 105,483 black and scarlet-clad fans Saturday night came during a timeout in the 3rd quarter.
Ohio State mascot Brutus Buckeye got his felt-covered bell rung during a contest among fans in the south end zone. Brutus managed to walk off the field and into the tunnel under his own power and returned to do an ESPN interview (as best he could without talking, of course) and do a series of pushups with members of the military a bit later. All while smiling. At least, we think he was smiling.
The rest of the night was a laugher as well for Buckeye fans. As Ohio State (4-0, 1-0) has made its dominance over the Big Ten a weekly joke, delivering a 52-21 rout with its latest standup routine.
This was supposed to be a hotly-contested matchup worthy of its primetime designation. Ohio State, ranked third in the nation and three weeks removed from its dramatic win over then-5th ranked Notre Dame under the lights at Ohio Stadium, put its high-octane offense up against a Wisconsin team that boasted some of the best defensive numbers in the country. The Buckeyes dressed up for the occasion wearing black from head to toe and proceeded to play the Grim Reaper to the Badgers' upset hopes on this final game before October.
Take nothing away from Wisconsin (2-2, 0-1). The Badgers are one of the premier programs in the Big Ten as well as the nation and the only team that can match Ohio State's six appearances in the conference championship game, making their case for being a part of the league's Big Three. But the Badgers' effort was farcical, just as nearly every other team's attempt in the past decade to take down the Buckeyes has been.
Ohio State scored three touchdowns before the teams switched end zones. A Wisconsin defense that had given up 24 points all season saw 21 Buckeye points on the scoreboard less than 12 minutes into the game. But more than the total was the way Ohio State scored. The Buckeyes' offense moved down the field with ease as if this were a late summer intrasquad scrimmage; its script executed to perfection. They opened the game by running 39 consecutive plays without losing a yard, a streak that ended with quarterback C.J. Stroud's kneel down to end a 31-7 first half.
Speaking of the junior quarterback, we might soon be calling him 'Mr. Saturday Night'. He was splendid yet again with 281 yards and five touchdown passes for the second week in a row. In three evening games this season, Stroud is completing 72 percent of his passes for 871 yards with 12 touchdowns and just one interception.
But his performance - and the consistent effort put out by this Ohio State juggernaut - has become the norm in Columbus. The Buckeyes are now a stunning 34-2 against Big Ten foes since the start of the 2018 season, whipping conference opponents by an average of 44-21. During this run, they've scored at least 40 points on 22 occasions. They've now won nine straight over Wisconsin, arguably the best of the Big Ten West.
Can they continue chuckling in Columbus all the way to the College Football Playoff? It would seem that only two teams have a chance to wipe that smile off the Buckeyes' face. 14th ranked Penn State has looked strong in its 4-0 start and they'll host Ohio State on October 15th. 4th ranked Michigan is also off to a perfect start, but must play at Ohio Stadium come late November, a place where they haven't won since 2000.
Ohio State has two national championships in this century; only Alabama and LSU have more. All joking aside, the Buckeyes seem primed to collect number three.