Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Wisconsin Badgers: Watch Live TV Stream Online For Free; Preview
Wiconsin's Montee Ball is two touchdowns away from breaking the NCAA all-time record. (Photo: REUTERS / Lucy Nicholson)
The undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes face the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday afternoon. The game will be broadcast live on ABC or ESPN2 at 3:30 p.m. ET, and you can also watch a live TV stream online for free here.
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Ohio State stands at 10-0 on the season and has clinched at least a share of the Leaders Division title. The Buckeyes can clinch the division outright with a win on Saturday, but Wisconsin has already secured a spot in the Big Ten Championship game. That's because Ohio State is ineligible for the 2012 postseason after various NCAA violations.
The Ohio State Buckeyes have rebounded from a disappointing and scandal-ridden 2011 season. They have done so mostly on the strength of their running game, which ranks eighth in the nation with 256.1 yards per contest. In their most recent matchup, Ohio State defeated Illinois, 52-22, thanks to three touchdowns from running back Carlos Hyde.
But, the Wisconsin Badgers are nearly as strong on the ground. Wisconsin is 17th in the nation in rushing with 218.8 yards per game. The rushing game is led by senior Montee Ball, who already has 1,226 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. The 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist needs only two more touchdowns to break the NCAA all-time record in that category.
Ball's performance is even more impressive considering his slow start to the season. The running back missed much of the offseason after being attacked while walking home back in August. Ball started the season opener but managed just three touchdowns over his first four games. Since then, however, he has scored at least twice in all but one contest.
While both of these teams can rack up huge yardage on the ground, they both struggle with consistency in the passing game. Ohio State's Braxton Miller is known primarily for his skills in the running game, as he has just four 200-yard passing games all season. However, he is still first in the conference and 22nd nationally in total offensive yardage per game.
The Wisconsin Badgers, meanwhile, have already gone through three starting quarterbacks this season. They began the year with Danny O'Brien before coach Bret Bielema pulled him halfway through the team's victory over Utah State. Redshirt freshman Joel Stave replaced him until breaking his clavicle during the Badgers' loss to the Michigan State Wolverines. O'Brien came off the bench in that game as well, but Bielema ultimately chose to start Curt Phillips the following week against Indiana. Philips attempted just seven passes but led his team to 62 points. The senior is expected to start again on Saturday against Ohio State.
Defensively, Wisconsin has the edge in this contest. Ohio State is allowing 24 points per game, though the defense has only allowed 43 points over its last three games. The Badgers, meanwhile, are 17th in the nation in points allowed and have not given up more than 30 points in any game this season.
The Ohio State Buckeyes lead the all-time series against their conference rival, 54-17-5. However, over the last 27 years the series has been much closer, with the Buckeyes winning 15 of those contests. Last season, Ohio State defeated the Buckeyes, 33-29, on a last-second touchdown pass from Miller to wideout Devin Smith.