Ohio State Buckeyes Remain Undefeated Thanks to Run Defense and Braxton Miller

Updated: October 1, 2013

Heading into their primetime date with the Wisconsin Badgers, the Ohio State Buckeyes had to be very worried about the Top 10 rushing attack featuring Melvin Gordon and James White they were getting ready to face. Instead, Urban Meyer’s defense put the clamps on Gordon and White, holding the duo to just 105 yards rushing and one touchdown on the night.

Nobody truly expected the Badgers to continue their 300-plus yard rushing ways against what has always been a stout run defense in Columbus, but the Buckeyes defense kept the potent rush offense at bay despite a big passing day from Joel Stave. Normally when a quarterback can get going to the tune of 295 yards and two touchdowns the run game should get going with ease, instead, the Buckeyes kept their defensive focus on containing the run and telling the Badgers to beat them with the pass—something Wisconsin ended up not being able to do at the end of the night.

Not discounting Stave’s stellar effort and the 10 reception, one touchdown and 207-yard performance receiving of Jared Abbrederis by any means, but Wisconsin just could not come away with a victory against Braxton Miller and the high-powered Ohio State Buckeyes offense.

In what was surprisingly an even matched game in terms of yards gained, the Buckeyes were able to hold off the pesky Badgers 31-24. Although the score showed only a seven-point victory for the Buckeyes, the Badgers only drew within seven points thanks to a 42-yard field goal with two minutes left in the fourth quarter. For the most part, the Buckeyes held a two score advantage in this game.

While the rest of the college football world was focusing on the return of Miller and the quarterback controversy that never was with senior Kenny Guiton, Miller came out and showed he is still the man in Columbus. He finished the night 17-of-25 for 198 yards and four touchdowns throwing, and also added 22 carries for 83 yards on the ground. Miller had some noticeable rust, including some lame duck throws he was lucky to not have intercepted, but for the most part he had plenty of zip on his passes and threw some darts that made national television shows show the highlight over and over again.

One of the biggest storylines of the day had to be in the run game of the Buckeyes, as the NCAA’s leader coming into the game in rushing touchdowns—Jordan Hall with eight—carried the ball just one time for five yards. The return of Carlos Hyde from his three-game suspension the previous week was expected to take carries away from Hall, but nobody could have anticipated that much of a drop off. Miller’s return didn’t help Hall’s cause either, as the quarterback had a lot of designed run plays for himself. The Buckeyes rushed the ball 43 times on Saturday night, with Miller and Hyde accounting for 39 of them.

The Buckeyes emerged from their first test of the 2013 season with a perfect 5-0 record and a win against a ranked team under their belt. However, the Buckeyes will need to step their game up this week if they hope to get win number six.

Ohio State hits the road for primetime action for the second consecutive week, as they head to Northwestern to take on the No. 16 ranked Wildcats. Sitting at 4-0, the Wildcats feature a potent rushing attack of their own (249.5 yards per game) which is ranked No. 18 in the nation. The Wildcats are also well rested, coming off a bye week after defeating Maine 35-21.

The Buckeyes passed their first test by defeating Wisconsin this week, but if they show the same weakness against the pass, it may be a trip to Ryan Field that derails Meyer and the Buckeyes bid for a second consecutive undefeated season.

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