Wisconsin’s formula wasn’t enough to beat Ohio State

INDIANAPOLIS – Wisconsin was as close to the College Football Playoffs as they’ve ever been. The Badgers came into the Big Ten Championship with a perfect 12-0 record and ranked No. 4 in the country. A win against Ohio State would have given them a berth in the semi-finals.

It wasn’t meant to be. The Badgers finally dug a hole too deep for themselves to climb out of. Time and time again they were a team that was much better in the second half of games than they were the first. Saturday night was much of the same for Wisconsin.

To close out the first half, Wisconsin defensive back Nick Nelson blocked a 43-yard field goal attempt off the right foot of Ohio State kicker Sean Nuernberger to keep the score at 21-10 in favor of Ohio State. At one point, Wisconsin faced a 14-point deficit, their largest of the season.

The Badgers were able to turn things on in the second half. They outscored Ohio State 11-6 and had the opportunity to win the game in the final two minutes. This time, they just couldn’t pull through.

Wisconsin had gotten as far as they did by managing the game in the first half and taking control in the second half. Ohio State was simply too talented for that to happen, despite Wisconsin’s best efforts.

The Buckeyes built their first half lead on big plays and speed that Wisconsin hadn’t seen to date this year. They struck first on an 84-yard touchdown pass from quarterback J.T. Barrett to wide receiver Terry McLaurin. McLaurin beat Wisconsin safety Joe Ferguson deep over the middle and won a footrace to the end zone.

After Wisconsin tied the game on an Andrew Van Ginkel interception returned for a touchdown Ohio State responded with another big play. Buckeye wide receiver Parris Campbell caught a swing pass from Barrett, broke a tackle from Wisconsin safety Natrell Jamerson, and took it 57 yards for another Ohio State touchdown.

Add in a 77-yard run from running back J.K. Dobbins to set up a Barrett touchdown run from a yard out and the Badgers had given up three plays of 50 or more yards in the first half. In their first 12 games combined they had only given up three such plays.

The second half was a different story, while they still allowed a 53-yard run to Dobbins, the defense was much better. After allowing a whopping 309 yards of offense in the first half, the Badgers only gave up 140 yards in the second half, despite the 53-yard scamper. The defense looked much like it had all season after halftime, keeping Ohio State out of the end zone.

Offensively, the Badgers were never able to get their running game going. The staple of Wisconsin football was only able to muster 60 total yards on the ground. That was partly due to playing from behind and partly due to Ohio State’s defensive line having their way with Wisconsin’s offensive line. Linebackers Jerome Baker and Tuf Borland were free to make tackles. Baker finished with a team-high 16 tackles and Borland was behind him with seven.

Freshman running back Jonathan Taylor was unable to generate any running room, finishing with 41 yards on 15 carries, by far his lowest output of the season. That meant the Badgers had to rely on the arm of quarterback Alex Hornibrook. He attempted a career-high 40 passes, completing 19 of them for 229 yards and two interceptions. One interception came while searching for tight end Troy Fumagalli deep in Ohio State territory. The other pick came on the Badgers’ final offensive play, a fourth down with 20 yards to go with 1:16 on the clock.

Wisconsin was set back in the fourth and long situation due to a holding penalty on offensive lineman Michael Deiter on first down. On that same play, Hornibrook looked for wide receiver Danny Davis down the field. Davis was tangled up with an Ohio State defensive back on a play that certainly could have warranted a flag. In fact, the field judge grabbed at his penalty flag before having second thoughts.

If that penalty flag comes out, there’s no telling what happens. It might have changed the game, it might not have. It certainly made Wisconsin’s comeback effort more difficult.

In the end, everything was too much to comeback from. The slow start, the big plays, the lack of a rushing attack, the questionable no call on the final drive, it was all too much to overcome.

The Badgers simply couldn’t follow the same formula they had used to reach the Big Ten Championship to find a way to the College Football Playoffs.

Wisconsin’s sum is greater than the individual pieces

INDIANAPOLIS – Ohio State’s football program is nationally regarded as one of the historic powers of the sport. The Buckeyes have won eight national championships, possess seven Heisman trophies, and have won the Big Ten 35 times in the program’s history. The program is filled with star power, both currently and traditionally. Head coach Urban Meyer is considered one of the best in the world at his profession, and the program is truly elite. The operation run in Columbus, Ohio is one that nearly every program in the country strives to be. Very few can boast more impressive historical resumes.

For as good as Wisconsin has been in recent memory, they don’t have the historical relevance that the Buckeyes do. That won’t matter on Saturday when the two teams square off in the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis.

The Badgers aren’t trying to close the gap on Ohio State as a program, they’re trying to win one game and earn their first appearance in the College Football Playoff.

“It’s tough, obviously they have a lot of talent, but we have a lot of talent,” linebacker T.J. Edwards told the media. “The [recruiting] stars and stuff, it doesn’t mean much going into this game. We know we’re going to get their best and that’s not really something we’re focused on because we know we can match just about anything in the country.”

Since 2000, Wisconsin has had 38 recruits that have garnered either four or five stars, per 247. Ohio State has had 227 such players. The Buckeyes currently have more four and five-star players on their current roster than the Badgers have had in the past 17 years.

This isn’t something that’s new. Looking at the top eight in the most recent College Football Playoff rankings, the Badgers are far behind the other seven teams. There are currently six players on Wisconsin’s roster that garnered a four-star rating out of high school, and none that were five stars. Ohio State has 62 such players rostered.

Ohio State is as successful of a program as they are in part due to the gaudy number of immensely talents players they’ve brought in. Wisconsin does things much differently. The Badgers develop kids and take an incredible amount of pride in their walk-on program. Very few, if any, other major college football programs have had this much success with that method.

The Buckeyes enter the game favored by nearly everyone. Despite their two losses this season, they get the benefit of the doubt. The Badgers are routinely criticized for going unbeaten through a primarily weak schedule, despite having two more wins against bowl-eligible teams than Ohio State does. Part of the reasoning for that is due to the amount of respect Ohio State gets natural talent the Buckeyes have, and possibly a little bit of disrespect of the way Wisconsin develops their talent.

The Buckeyes are going to continue to be in the national spotlight, and they’ve earned that. The Badgers shouldn’t be slept on, however. Wisconsin has been one of the best in the country over the past decade. They’ve won 100 games over the past 10 years, which is no small feat. In fact, only a few teams have won more games in that span, and Ohio State (110 wins) is one of them.

“I think it’s another great opportunity to prove that we are legit, that we are the team that we think we are,” tight end Troy Fumagalli, a former walk-on, said of the matchup with the Buckeyes. “I think it’s another great opportunity with another great team.”

The Buckeyes have an immense amount of talent. They’re one of the most talented in not only the Big Ten, but the country as well. At times, however, they haven’t shown up. There have been a number of occasions this season where Ohio State has failed to play up to their capabilities. Their 55-24 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes was the most drastic instance. On a weekly basis, the world can question as to which Ohio State team is going to show up.

The Badgers had moments where they didn’t play to their highest potential against lesser opponents, but still found a way to win. That’s the sign of a team that has things figured out despite not always being the most talented on the field.

Ohio State hasn’t had a game this season where they haven’t had the talent edge. Even in their two losses, the Buckeyes could make the argument that they had more individually talented pieces. In all of their wins, the Badgers have been able to say that the sum of their parts is greater than the individual pieces.

Big Ten Championship; Three keys to Wisconsin winning

INDIANAPOLIS – Wisconsin heads into Saturday’s matchup with Ohio State searching for their first Big Ten Championship since 2012. The Badgers enter the game perfect on the season at 12-0, but haven’t faced a team quite as talented as the Buckeyes to date.

The Buckeyes come into the contest at 10-2 on the season. At times, they’ve looked like one of the best teams in the country, but on other occasions they’ve looked rather pedestrian.

Here are three keys to a Badger win on Saturday night:

1. Ohio State defensive lineman Nick Bosa was awarded as the Big Ten Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the year earlier this week. The matchup between Bosa and the Wisconsin offensive line will be a very interesting one to watch on Saturday. So far, this season Bosa has 12.5 tackles for loss and six sacks and both of those marks pace the Buckeyes.

“I think [Ohio State] and Michigan had some of the best edge rushers I’ve seen this year,” offensive lineman Michael Deiter said earlier this week. “One-hundred percent it will be my biggest challenge, especially on this stage, out there at tackle.”

Not only was Deiter speaking about Bosa, but also defensive end Sam Hubbard. Hubbard was a consensus second-team All-Big Ten this year and has 10 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks on the year. Things don’t end there for the Buckeye defensive line, Tyquan Lewis was also a consensus first-team selection, and Dre’mont Jones was named to the third-team by the media.

Wisconsin likely has the best offensive line that Ohio State has faced this season, but this will be a true battle of strengths. The Badgers must be able to open holes for freshman running back Jonathan Taylor to help keep quarterback Alex Hornibrook out of obvious passing situations. When the Badgers do fall into obvious throwing situations, the offensive line must keep Hornibrook upright.

2. Hornibrook’s favorite target this year has been senior tight end Troy Fumagalli. He leads the Badgers with 38 grabs on the season for 471 yards and four touchdowns despite missing some time due to injury. On the contrary, Ohio State has struggled defending tight ends in the play-action passing game at times this season.

Against Iowa, the Buckeyes allowed a combined nine catches for 125 yards and four touchdowns to tight ends T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant of the Hawkeyes. Those two aren’t necessarily mirror images of Fumagalli, but the area of weakness remains on the Buckeye defense. As recent as last week there were multiple instances of intermediate routes being open for Michigan’s offense. Wolverines’ quarterback John O’Korn was unable to find his teammates, however.

Hornibrook should be able to find Fumagalli in key situations, just as he has often attempted to do this year. That’s an area of weakness that the Badgers should look to exploit.

3. When Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett was removed from the game against Michigan last week immediate uncertainty surrounding the quarterback position for the Buckeyes emerged. Backup Dwayne Haskins entered the game for Ohio State and helped them to win the game.

News broke during the week that Barrett had surgery on his knee on Sunday following the Michigan game but is expected to play against Wisconsin. His effectiveness is yet to be seen. Ohio State head coach told the media that Barrett had practiced throughout the week and is cleared to play, but never declared Barrett the starter.

Barrett is a quarterback that’s able to extend plays and escape the pocket when things break down around him. If his knee isn’t right and his running ability suffers because of that, Wisconsin’s already stout defense could be in even better position. The Badgers would be able to key on running backs Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins in running situations and presumably be able to get to Barrett easier when the pocket collapses.

Barrett has been inconsistent throwing the ball, even when he’s been healthy. Wisconsin’s defense could take control of the game and force Barrett into mistakes and make things much more difficult than they normally do. Wisconsin’s chance at winning improves exponentially if those things happen.

Prediction: Early in the week I was leaning towards taking the Buckeyes, and I did go on record picking them before news of Barrett’s knee procedure broke. His health is my deciding factor, it takes an incredibly special athlete to be able to play in a football game six days after having surgery. While I commend Barrett for having the guts to try and suit up with his teammates, I don’t think he’ll play well enough for the Buckeyes to win.

Wisconsin 24-21

Wisconsin’s defense can prove its legit against Ohio State

MADISON – Wisconsin’s defense has put up absolutely gaudy numbers this season. Statistically, it’s got a claim on being the best in the country.

But the numbers haven’t quieted the critics, largely because of the lack of high powered offenses Wisconsin has seen in its historic run to 12-0. Oddly enough, Wisconsin’s biggest challenge as a defense came in its second game of the season, against Florida Atlantic. The Owls’ number might be a bit inflated due to their schedule, but they’ve averaged 39.8 points per game and 6.6 yards per play, ranking 16th in total offense.

Outside of FAU, Wisconsin has only faced one other offense in the top 80 of the FBS and that was Purdue. The Boilermakers are ranked 76th in total offense, and were held to just nine points on 221 yards of offense on a chilly, rainy day at Camp Randall Stadium in October.

The test against Ohio State will be by far the biggest for Wisconsin this season. The Buckeyes enter the Big Ten Championship ranked fourth in total offense, averaging 43.8 points per game and 529.8 yards per game.

“People always talk about how we haven’t played great offenses,” defensive back Derrick Tindal said. “I’ve turned on the film and watched these same offenses that we’ve played destroy some people.”

That quote from Tindal could be taken a few different ways, with one of them alluding to the fact that Iowa’s offense rolled up 487 yards and was responsible for 48 of the Hawkeyes’ 55 points in a whipping of the Buckeyes just a week before they managed 66 yards and no offensive touchdowns in a loss to the Badgers. To Iowa’s credit, it did score a defensive touchdown against the Buckeyes and two against the Badgers as well.

Ohio State could be entering the game with a rather significant question mark at the quarterback position. Starter J.T. Barrett had to leave last week’s 31-20 win at Michigan with a knee injury sustained before the game. Barrett did play the first half before being removed after re-aggravating the injury in the third quarter. The senior then underwent arthroscopic surgery on the knee on Sunday, but coach Urban Meyer said in a radio interview he expects Barrett to play.

However, if Barrett is unable to go, backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins would be the guy under center for Ohio State. He’s not as mobile as Barrett, but is praised for his arm strength that he put on display in relief against Michigan. He was 6 of 7 passing for 94 yards through the air.

In the backfield, Ohio State has the Big Ten’s second-best freshman running back in J.K. Dobbins. While he hasn’t put up the numbers that Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor has, he’s been impressive to watch as a young piece of the Buckeyes’ offense.

“Very explosive, he’s a guy that can cut on a dime at full-speed. Definitely need to get multiple hats to the ball with him. If you put yourself in too many one-on-one situations, then he’s going to make guys miss,” Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard said of Dobbins.

Just as much is made of Wisconsin’s weak schedule and lack of opponents with explosive offenses, there’s another side to that coin. Ohio State hasn’t faced a defense as good as the unit Wisconsin has. Michigan State and Penn State have the ones that are most comparable, but both allow nearly a full yard per play more than Wisconsin does.

In this matchup, something will have to give, as it always does. The old adage states that “defense wins championships.” If Wisconsin is going to win the Big Ten, that’s how it is going to have to be done. If the Badgers are able to hold Ohio State’s offense in check, the defense will no longer have a reason to be doubted.

Tough test on tap for Wisconsin’s receivers

MADISON – The Wisconsin Badgers are coming off one of their better offensive performances of the season against Minnesota in their regular season finale. To say they were flawless would be a false testimony, but it was an effort that was certainly repeatable, and one they’ll likely need to attempt to improve upon this week against Ohio State.

The Buckeyes present a much more talented defense than the Gophers did, and there isn’t an argument on that front. It’s no secret that Wisconsin has struggled to take care of the ball at times. That’s something they can ill-afford to do when they square off with Ohio State. The Buckeye defense is filled with big named playmakers more than any other unit the Badgers have gone against this season.

“They’re a good defense, man,” offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph told the media on Tuesday. “Their defensive line, they’re so deep and there are so many guys to study and watch. Their backers can fly around and run, they can step up and play press on you all day. They’re just really good and they’re really well coached within their scheme. I said this about Michigan’s defense, was a defense that was similar, but every guy can make the play. You know what I mean? They’re a field full of playmakers, which is difficult. You’ve got to be on, and every guy has to be on. They’ll be quite a challenge.”

The Buckeyes have the eighth best total defense in the FBS this season. They only give up 291.8 yards per game while holding opponents to slightly under 20 points per game. The Buckeyes have also been stout in the passing game, keeping opponents to an average of only 179 yards per game though the air. They’re also fifth in yards allowed per play at a miniscule 4.4. On the other end, Wisconsin’s defense actually ranks first in both yards per game and per play, at 236.9 and 4.0, respectively.

On offense, Wisconsin has relied on freshman running back Jonathan Taylor to be one of the best players in the country, but recently new playmakers have started to establish themselves. Quarterback Alex Hornibrook has played better over the past two games and wide receivers Danny Davis, Kendric Pryor, and A.J. Taylor have done a remarkable job filling in for the injured Quintez Cephus.

Against Minnesota, Hornibrook had his first interception-free game in the Big Ten this year and those three receivers combined for 11 catches for 131 yards and a touchdown. That group will be facing a huge test when lining up against Ohio State corner Denzel Ward.

“Playmaker,” Rudolph said as soon as Ward’s name was mentioned in a question about Ohio State’s defense. “We saw that against us [with Iowa’s Josh Jackson]. I think you’ve got great talent on the edges there. You give them an opportunity to make a play and they can make it.”

Ward was named a first-team All-Big Ten defensive back on Tuesday by the media as well. He’s been a regular in the first round of many mock draft experts and one of the best corners the Badgers have seen all season, only Iowa’s Jackson compares.

“He’s got good feet, he’s athletic, he’s quick,” Taylor said about Ward. “It’s going to be a competition, it’s going to be a fight. He’s a good corner. It’ll be a fun matchup.”

“I feel like he may be a little more faster and quicker with his feet,” Pryor said comparing Ward to Jackson.

If the Wisconsin offense was faced with this challenge shortly after Cephus went down for the year with a right leg injury it may be too tall of a task. Even though Cephus has only been out for three weeks, they’re more seasoned on the outside at this point than they were right after his injury.

“We keep saying each game we get better and better but I really think we’re a lot more comfortable,” Taylor said. We are a lot more comfortable as a group going out there and just doing our thing. Nobody is really nervous to go out there and maybe run a route or catch a ball in a big-time moment. We’re all more comfortable and we can think now, we feel like the game is starting to slow down. I’d say that’s how we’ve gotten it. The game is slowing down to us and it’s not as fast and intense as it would be.”

The young group will be facing a tough test on a stage larger than one they’ve previously been on, but it’s a challenge they’re ready for.

Wisconsin beats Ohio State, advances to B1G Tournament finale

DETROIT—Headed into the Big Ten tournament, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team knew what they had to do in order to make the NCAA tournament and that was to win the championship. The first step was accomplished on Friday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena.

The No. 2-seeded Badgers (20-14-1) took down third-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes (21-11-6) in a tightly-contested game by a score of 2-1, advancing UW into the championship game on Saturday night.

“I think today’s game is what you want to see in college hockey,” head coach Tony Granato said. “I think every inch of ice was battled for and it was two teams that understood what was available to them. I thought our guys played one of their most solid games of the year.”

The first period was evenly played, with Wisconsin having a slight 7-6 shot advantage. Luke Kunin opened the scoring 17 minutes into the frame after collecting a rebound in front of the goal and firing it passed OSU goaltender Matt Tomkins. The captain’s 22nd goal of the year was assisted by JD Greenway and Tim Davison.

Thanks to the goal, the Badgers held a one-goal lead heading into the first intermission. Jack Berry, who made several key saves in the beginning of the period, finished with six stops in the stanza.

“When Matt (Jurusik) went down and Jack (Berry) had to step in the first time, I think that’s when we realized he was an amazing goalie and he’s been stepping it up ever since,” Will Johnson said.

The Cardinal and White looked to build a lead in the second period, but Ohio State’s top-ranked power play capitalized on a Ryan Wagner tripping penalty on Dakota Joshua’s 12th goal of the year to tie the game at 1-1 with 6:12 remaining in the middle frame.

Despite giving up a goal, the Badgers limited Ohio State to just 13 shots through the first two periods while holding a 22-13 shot advantage in that time period.

With UW’s season on the line heading into the third period, Johnson netted his 10th goal of the year just 1:30 into the final period of regulation to put the Badgers up 2-1, a lead they would not relinquish. The sophomore forward slotted the puck into an empty net following a great pass from Seamus Malone. Senior Aidan Cavallini also added his sixth assist of the season on the game-winning goal.

“It all started with him (Malone) winning the face-off and we were able to get the puck out of the defensive zone,” Johnson said. “That first move he made around the defenseman was unbelievable and him getting the puck over to me, I just had to tap the puck in.”

The Buckeyes continued to push for a tying goal but a five-minute major and game misconduct assessed to defenseman Josh Healey with 2:28 remaining in the game gave the Badgers a five-minute power play. UW was able to pass around the puck for most of the extended power play and saw out the rest of the game without any threat towards their net.

Berry finished with 23 saves on 24 shots in the game.

With the win, Wisconsin improved to 16-1-1 when scoring first.

“At the beginning of the week, we just talked about sticking to the game plan and wearing the other team out,” Kunin said. “We were able to do that for all three periods and everyone bought in to what we had to do in order to be successful tonight.”

(uwbadgers.com)

Wisconsin drops season finale vs Ohio State 3-1

MADISON, Wis  Saturday night at the Kohl Center was filled with celebration, as four seniors were honored, all alumni were recognized and the 1977 NCAA championship team celebrated its 40th anniversary.

However, the Badgers (19-14-1, 12-8-0-0 Big Ten) were unable to finish the evening with a happy mood as they were defeated by Ohio State (20-10-6, 11-8-1-1) by a 3-1 score at the Kohl Center.

“The effort was there. I wouldn’t question our effort yesterday either,” head coach Tony Granato said. “I question the fact that we came out a little bit, waiting to see what was going to happen instead of trying to dictate how the game’s going to be played.”

OSU began the scoring just 2:46 into the first period on a power-play goal from Mason Jobst, his 18th of the year.

The Badgers looked to quickly respond, but they were outshot during the period, 10-7, and headed into the first intermission trailing by one.

Jack Berry made nine saves in the opening stanza.

The Buckeyes grabbed control of the game in the second period, adding a second goal 10:42 into the period on Kevin Miller’s 11th of the season.

Wisconsin wasn’t able to capitalize on two power plays during the period and were put in a three-goal hole on the latter man-advantage as Brendon Kearney scored a short-handed goal to make it 3-0 in favor of the Buckeyes with just over two minutes to play in the second.

“It’s pretty tough when they’re blocking a lot of shots. I think they had 20 plus shots this game,” Ryan Wagner said. “It’s kind of what coach said between the second and third periods, just throw a little fake in there and if another guy comes to block it throw it off the back wall. We can’t really be giving them all of those blocks like that because they build off that.”

In terms of shots on goal, the third period was the strongest for the Badgers, as they outshot OSU 10-5. Matt Ustaski seemed to cut the Buckeyes’ lead to 3-1 after he beat Tomkins. However, the play was challenged and ruled offside, nullifying the marker.

Luke Kunin was eventually able to make it 3-1 on a power-play goal 11:37 into the final period. The captain finished off a cross-ice feed from Cameron

Hughes for his 21st of his sophomore campaign. Trent Frederic also earned an assist on the play.

The Cardinal and White continued to push for goals but they were unable to find the back of the net, falling 3-1 in their regular-season finale.

Berry finished with 25 saves on 28 shots on the evening.

“I mean obviously it’s disappointing,” Kunin said. “It’s not the way we wanted the weekend to go, but our group’s bounced back all year and we’ve had a lot of ups and downs but I believe in this group and what we can accomplish.”

The Big Ten tournament starts next weekend in Detroit and the Badgers will be the second seed in the single-elimination championship. UW will play on Friday, March 17 against the winner of Ohio State and Michigan State at 3:30 p.m. CT. Those two will play on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. CT.

The Big Ten championship games takes place Saturday, March 18 at 7 p.m. CT.

(uwbadgers.com)

Buckeyes steamroll Badgers 5-1

MADISON, Wis. — Goaltending proved to be the difference as Ohio State defeated Wisconsin 5-1 at the Kohl Center Friday night.

The Badgers outshot the Buckeyes 29-17 but the Buckeyes’ Matt Tomkins stopped 28 of the 29 shots he faced. Wisconsin, on the other hand, was forced to roll with the struggling Jack Berry due to an injury suffered in the second period by Matt Jurusik.

About five minutes into the contest, penalties by both teams equaled two minutes of four-on-four play, where Wisconsin seemed to have the upper hand in terms of possession. But lazy passing by the Badgers nearly resulted in turnovers on two occasions during the power play. That lack of discipline also meant a couple missed chances at shots on goal.

But it didn’t take long for Ohio State to take advantage of Wisconsin’s miscues. 8:54 into the first period, Miguel Fidler’s pass was deflected off a Wisconsin player and cleaned up by Drew Brevig , who found the net while surrounded by white jerseys. It only took three minutes for the score to become lopsided in the Buckeyes’ favor. David Gust scored his 16th goal of the year just seconds after the puck was dropped for a faceoff in Wisconsin’s zone.

The second period was more of the same, as Dakota Joshua scored with 12:56 left before intermission to make it 3-0 Ohio State. That appeared to end Berry’s night, replaced by Jurusik. But after the Badgers struck back on a Matt Ustaski power play goal, Jurusik would leave the game with an injury and Berry would re-enter the game.

Berry’s nightmare continued at the 14:22 mark after Fidler showed his play-making ability on a deke move to give the Buckeyes a 4-1 lead. The Kohl Center crowd went silent after realizing Wisconsin is just 5-9-0 when opponents score four or more goals. Down by three, the Badgers are facing a 1-10-1 record when trailing after two periods.

Wisconsin tried to mount a comeback in the third period, but a goal was disallowed because of a J.D. Greenway penalty on the Badger end of the ice. The last time Wisconsin had overcome a three-goal deficit was Feb. 6, 2004 against North Dakota. To make matters worse, the Buckeyes tacked on another goal just moments later when Mason Jobst found the back of the net on a power play.

Frustrations came to a head with 5:25 remaining when Seamus Malone received a five-minute major penalty for spearing and a game disqualification.

Koenig expects to start for Badgers vs Ohio State

MADISON, Wis. — Senior guard Bronson Koenig played through a left calf injury in Sunday’s win over Maryland and told reporters Tuesday night that he expects to be back in the starting lineup Thursday night at Ohio State.

Koenig suffered the injury Jan. 24 against Penn State, which caused a sharp decline in his play the next five games. His Big Ten season average of 57.5 percent from three-point range and 51.5 percent from the field dipped to 22.6 and 25.5 percent, respectively. He then missed the Feb. 16 contest at Michigan — his first time sitting out due to injury. That’s why his 31 minutes of action in the win over Maryland was significant.

“I didn’t know how many minutes I had played until I looked at the stat sheet after the game,” Koenig said Tuesday following practice. “I was kind of surprised and surprised at how good I felt.”

All nine of Koenig’s points against the Terrapins came in the second half after adjusting to playing off the bench.

Koenig acknowledged that he intends to play Thursday night in Columbus, and that “rest is key at any point of the season but especially at this point. I don’t think anybody is really 100 percent.”

Wisconsin hot in 89-66 win over Ohio State

MADISON, Wis. — Bronson Koenig scored 21 points and was 5-of-7 from three-point range in Wisconsin’s 89-66 win over Ohio State at the Kohl Center Thursday night.

The Badgers overcame a 2-for-14 performance from deep against the Boilermakers, seemingly unable to miss from distance, converting on 12-of-22 attempts (54.5 percent).

“After a shooting performance like [the one against Purdue], it’s always nice to come home,” Koenig said of the team’s bounce back performance. “I feel like we always shoot really well [at the Kohl Center]…It was good to finally see the ball going in for everybody.”

Free throws were an area the Badgers struggled, converting on just 33.3 percent (5-of-15) attempts on the night. That included an 0-for-4 performance from Ethan Happ and 1-for-5 for Nigel Hayes. But Wisconsin made up for that in other areas, namely second-chance points, where the Badgers held the advantage over the Buckeyes 28-9.

“Those second chances really just demoralized the other team, especially when we were getting to the free throw line,” Vitto Brown said. “I think that was probably the most important thing in terms of getting the momentum swinging in our direction.”

Brown finished with 12 points of 5-of-9 shooting, grabbing five rebounds and adding two assists.

Also worth noting:

Wisconsin held a special halftime ceremony to honor longtime friend of the program, Albert “Ab” Nicholas, who passed away this summer. He and his wife have been some of the biggest donors of the University and helped establish scholarships for students. Beginning next season, the Kohl Center floor will be known as “Ab Nicholas Court.”