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Ohio State Routs Wisconsin with Dominant Third Quarter

Dobbins, Young, Fields leads Buckeyes to eighth straight win

Ohio State's dismissive treatment of yet another supposed-equal of an opponent seems certain to have answered any lingering questions about the third-ranked Buckeyes' qualification as a national championship contender.

Oh, but wait.

Despite its 38-7 annihilation of No. 13 Wisconsin Saturday in a rainy Ohio Stadium, there are still still at least three vexing unknowns about the 8-0 Buckeyes.

  • Is their strongest Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Justin Fields, tailback J.K. Dobbins or defensive end Chase Young?
  • If you were able to buy a No. 2 Ohio State jersey to wear proudly around Columbus, would you be doing so because Dobbins or Young is the best OSU player in that number?
  • How in the name of Woody Hayes did the almost-exact-same collection of defensive players transform from a unit that a year ago gave up 25.5 points and 404 yards per-game into a man-eating collection that now yields fewer than 225 per-game and just 7.9 points per-game.
  • If the 13 teams in the Big Ten outside Ohio compiled an all-star roster, could it play Ohio State closely enough to force Fields and the rest of the starters to toil and entire four quarters?

That didn't happen Saturday against Wisconsin, which at 6-1 coming in with a defense ranked No. 1 nationally in virtually every category (points allowed, rushing and passing yards allowed) seemed capable of extending OSU like it had not previously been extended.

Instead, the best the Badgers could do was make it a game for a half, trailing only 10-0, and then briefly drawing within 10-7 early in the third quarter.

Rather than scare the Buckeyes, all it did was apparently anger them.

Dobbins began running wild on offense, with 163 yards on 20 carries, two of which went for touchdowns.

Young built on a first-half in which he tormented the Badgers with two sacks by getting two more, including a sack fumble to set up another Ohio State score.

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"I think he's the most dominant player in college football right now," OSU coach Ryan Day said. "He can really change the game in a hurry, which you saw in the second half."

Fields rushed for one score and threw for two, giving his team a sufficient cushion to stand and watch the final few minutes, just like he has every game this season.

Wisconsin came up short for the same reason fellow-Big Ten members Indiana, Nebraska, Michigan State and Northwestern did in earlier cracks at Ohio State -- a debilitating shortage of depth, talent and speed to match the wave after wave of scarlet-and-gray assault forces that wash in from the opposite sideline.

If the Badgers thought they could keep the ball away from OSU with tailback Jonathan Taylor, they quickly learned otherwise.

He had no success early and never found a rhythm, finishing with 52 yards on 20 carries.

In two career games now against Ohio State -- the other the 2017 Big Ten title game -- Taylor has 93 yards on 36 attempts.

Dobbins, in two games against Wisconsin, now has 337 yards on 37 attempts.

We had a lot of things going against us," OSU coach Ryan Day said. "It was raining. They were coming off a tough loss...We knew it was going to be tough. I thought our character showed up in the second half."

The Buckeyes have won every game by 24 points.

They now enter their second off week of the season, then comes Maryland at home, Rutgers on the road and Penn State's visit to Ohio Stadium on Nov. 23.

After that, it's Michigan in Ann Arbor and perhaps a rematch against Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game

Unless the Badgers, and everyone else in the West, opts out.

After Saturday, who could blame them?

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