COLUMBUS, Ohio – Wisconsin looks to bounce back from a shocking setback and No. 4 Ohio State aims to keep the train rolling down the tracks when the two Big Ten heavyweights collide Saturday in Columbus. Wisconsin's stunning loss at Illinois last week stole some of the thunder from this week's matchup on a national level after the Badgers dropped from sixth to 13th in the polls, but it remains a significant test with major implications for both teams.
TV: Noon ET, FOX. LINE: Ohio State -14
While Ohio State has done little wrong in its first seven games this season, Wisconsin is expected to provide the biggest challenge to date as long as the Badgers can overcome any lingering effects from last Saturday's stumble. Statistically speaking, the Buckeyes and Badgers boast the top two defenses in the nation. Wisconsin is ranked No. 1 in total defense, passing defense, scoring defense and rushing defense, and Ohio State is No. 2 in each of those categories except rushing defense (No. 9). Each team's run defense likely will have its hands full slowing down Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor (957 yards, No. 3 nationally) and Ohio State's J.K. Dobbins (947 yards, No. 4).
ABOUT WISCONSIN (6-1, 3-1 Big Ten)
Taylor paces the country in scoring (16.3 points per game) and shares the national lead with 15 rushing touchdowns, but it will be difficult for him to carry the load against Ohio State without some help from the passing game. Quarterback Jack Coan ranks second nationally in completion percentage (76.0) and has been intercepted only twice, but one of those came last week with 2:32 left and set up Illinois' winning field goal. Wisconsin's defense had been nearly invincible before last week, posting four shutouts in its first six games.
ABOUT OHIO STATE (7-0, 4-0)
In Fields' first season with the Buckeyes, he already has thrown 22 touchdown passes and rushed for eight, making him responsible for 25.7 points per game (No. 2 in FBS). With Fields' dual-threat ability and Dobbins' proficiency as a runner, the Ohio State offense is averaging 526.7 yards per game, including 287.1 yards on the ground, and 49.7 points per game while getting off the fast starts. On defense, the Buckeyes have made a habit of dominating at the line of scrimmage and getting in the opponents' backfield with 66 tackles for loss - the highest total in the nation.
1. Something has to give on third downs: Ohio State's offense leads the country with a 56.1 percent success rate and Wisconsin's defense is No. 1 on third down, allowing opponents to convert 16.1 percent of their chances.
2. Ohio State is 9-1 against Wisconsin since 2007 and has won six in a row in the series, including a 27-21 victory in the 2017 Big Ten Championship Game in their last meeting.
3. Ohio State extended its winning streak to 13 games, second longest active streak in the nation, with a 52-3 victory last Friday over Northwestern. ... The Buckeyes have lost only one Big Ten game at home since the start of the 2012 season.
PREDICTION: Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 17