Ohio State football: 5 reasons the Buckeyes will beat Wisconsin

MADISON, WI - OCTOBER 15: J.T. Barrett
MADISON, WI - OCTOBER 15: J.T. Barrett /
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MADISON, WI – OCTOBER 15: Alex Hornibrook
MADISON, WI – OCTOBER 15: Alex Hornibrook /

4. The Buckeyes have experience against an offense similar to the Badgers.

The biggest mystery that may go unsolved is the Bucks’ devastating dismemberment in Iowa City. There have been few times where Ohio State has been taken down in that capacity and even fewer instances where it’s been to a team with a below .500 conference record.

However, there is always a bright side to it which is the fact that the Bucks have learned some valuable lessons and improved in spite of it. In fact, both of the losses that the Silver Bullets have taken ended up improving them in their own distinct ways.

Firstly, the Bucks learned how to defend the pass after getting shredded by Oklahoma. This was one of the most important things considering they were getting roasted to the tune of over 400 yards per game up to that point. The Bucks also got a tune-up on offense as Barrett and the receivers got kick started from their sloppy performance.

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The second loss, at Iowa, provided the most important lessons which will be more useful now than ever before. The first lesson was concerning their offensive playing style. Ohio State was blazing hot in the passing game entering Iowa City and everyone was all aboard the Barrett train once again.

Yet, it should have been expected that the train would end up off the rails as it has time and again throughout Barrett’s career. His inconsistencies tend to catch up to him when he gets on a roll.

The Buckeyes learned for the 100th time that handing the ball to the running backs more often than not will always be the ultimate key to their success. Now, here’s where this loss delivers the most important lesson which will be applied against the Badgers.

The defense got demolished by an Iowa offense that beat them with their tight ends. Four out of the five passing touchdowns that Iowa scored were to their tight ends!

This may sound like bad news for the Bucks considering they’re playing against the Badgers who also use their tight ends quite a bit. The reality is that Ohio State tends to make adjustments when necessary rather than holding a crucial weakness.

Their improved pass defense may have been one of the keys against Penn State where they bent but didn’t break. Just like how Oklahoma’s aerial attack in Columbus patched up the Bucks’ pass defense, Iowa’s tight end strike has re-calibrated the Silver Bulllets’ defensive awareness to that position.

Iowa’s power run game plus their dependency on their star tight end is very similar to the Badgers’. Tight end Troy Fumagalli has done the heavy lifting in the receiving game for the Badgers as he leads the team in receptions while having the second most touchdowns and yards.

His presence is even more important to the team as one of the team’s play-makers Jazz Peavy has been absent from the field. Badgers’ quarterback Alex Hornibrook has relied heavily on Fumagalli this season as did Iowa’s quarterback with tight end Noah Fant.

The loss may have been tragic but the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The Bucks were still quietly in position to make a late season push which was made possible by the critical adjustments made following the disaster.

Though the Bucks continue to receive plenty of criticism for their ugly loss to Iowa, those critics will be the same people congratulating the Bucks after their recent successes. Little do they know that this success is a product of the downfalls that ultimately sculpted them to be the battle tested team they are.

Expect Ohio State to have an answer for the Badgers’ tight end/power run offense.