Ohio State's Chase Young Aims to Blow Up Wisconsin Again
There may not be adequate time for Wisconsin to address every necessary deficiency from its loss to Ohio State six weeks ago in time to be fully prepared for an 8 p.m. rematch Saturday in the Big Ten championship game.
But it certainly shouldn't have been difficult for the Badgers to know where they should start.
If Ohio State defensive end Chase Young is given the same attention -- or, more accurately, inattention -- that he received on Oct. 26, Wisconsin will have no hope of avenging losses to the Buckeyes for the conference title in 2014 and 2017.
Young thrust himself into the national spotlight in Ohio State's 38-7 victory at Ohio Stadium by wrecking the Badgers' offense in the second half.
He registered two of his four sacks after Wisconsin closed to within 10-7 and both times he forced a fumble that OSU recovered and turned into a TD.
That fed the rout and left Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst with the unusual dilemma of having to augment his normally-dominant offensive line with some sort of a special plan to account for a defensive opponent.
There’s no doubt, we didn’t do a great job in the passing game consistently," Chryst said of round one against the Buckeyes "You have to give credit to the whole defense for what caused that...If we’re going to have success, we’re going to have to do a better job of protection and getting open. All in all we gotta be better.”
Wisconsin was much better than its 10-of-17, 108-yard passing effort against OSU on Saturday in the snow at Minnesota. Quarterback Jack Coan went 15-of-22 for 280 yards, with two touchdowns.
His numbers suggest he can make plays down the field, given a No. 3 ranking in the Big Ten and 11th-place national ranking in pass efficiency. Coan completed 72% of his passes, throwing for 17 TDs against four interceptions.
By contrast, OSU's Justin Fields passed for 37 touchdowns, so Wisconsin doesn't throw it nearly as much.
The trouble is, the Badgers have had no success springing tailback Jonathan Taylor for the success against Ohio State that he typically experiences against other opponents.
Taylor had just 52 yards on 20 carries vs the Buckeyes on Oct. 26 and managed just 41 yards on 15 attempts in the 2017 Big Ten title match-up with OSU.
“I’m very motivated," Taylor said. "My team is going to try and lean on me to make plays and I gotta make sure I am ready this week and have a great week of preparation so when my number is called, I am able to go out and execute.”
For the latest on Ohio State follow Sports Illustrated Buckeye Maven on Facebook and @BuckeyeMaven on Twitter.