MADISON, Wis. — Carlos Hyde scored on a 2-yard run in overtime Saturday, giving No. 6 Ohio State a 21-14 victory over Wisconsin and keeping the Buckeyes' hopes of a perfect season alive.
The win gave the Buckeyes (11-0, 7-0 Big Ten) the Leaders Division title outright. But they are ineligible for the Big Ten title game and a bowl as part of their punishment for NCAA violations under former coach Jim Tressel. The best the Buckeyes can hope for is to end the regular-season unbeaten, hope no one else does and perhaps sneak in as No. 1 in the AP Top 25.
Ohio State finishes the season with The Game, hosting Michigan in a showdown that could determine the Legends Division winner.
Montee Ball tied the major-college career record with his 78th touchdown, a 7-yard run in the second quarter. But he fumbled on what would have been the record-breaker with 2:46 left in regulation, leaping over the pile on the goal line with the ball held in front of him and having it batted away by Ryan Shazier.
Wisconsin (7-4, 4-3) got one more chance, thanks to a defense that was stellar all day. It limited the Buckeyes to 236 yards and only allowed Ohio State to cross midfield once after halftime. It forced a quick three-and-out to give the Badgers the ball back with time and great field position. Third-string quarterback Curt Phillips took advantage, finding Jacob Pedersen for a 5-yard score to tie the game at 14 with eight seconds left.
The Badgers won the toss and opted to play defense, and Ohio State made quick work of overtime. Hyde ripped off a run of 11 yards on the first play and, two plays later, strolled virtually untouched into the end zone for the go-ahead score.
After Ball opened Wisconsin's OT drive with a 6-yard run, the Buckeyes shut him down and the Badgers couldn't find any other options before safety Christian Bryant batted down Phillips' fourth-down pass to end the game.
Ball finished with 191 yards on a career-high 39 carries. He'll have three more games to get the record he shares with Travis Prentice of Miami (Ohio) all to himself, starting next weekend at Penn State.
But Wisconsin lost its chance to prove it's not going to the Big Ten title game simply by default. The Badgers trail both Ohio State and Penn State in the Leaders Division, but neither team is eligible for the postseason. The Badgers also wanted to avenge last year's loss to Ohio State, when the Buckeyes won on Braxton Miller's 40-yard heave with 20 seconds left.
The Buckeyes, though, were having none of it.
They have known all along that the postseason isn't an option for them, and they made peace with it months ago. But a perfect record is still within their reach, and it would go a long way in making up for all those wins from the 2010 season that were erased by NCAA sanctions.comments powered by Disqus