In the parking lot after the game, we heard a constant refrain from the Buckeye faithful: "Terrell Pryor sucks." That should make for a happy post-game for me, right?
Had you told me Ohio State would gain fewer than 200 yards, complete only five passes, and score only one touchdown while their offense was on the field, add to that a 368-yard effort by the Badger offense that held the ball for nearly 43 minutes, and more than doubled OSU's first down count? I would expect to be one happy Badger.
But as they say, stats are for losers.
The flip side of that nice story up there is what we Badger fans discussed as we filed through the gate into the Shoe: this Wisconsin team is pretty good, but can't make the kind of mistakes we made last week against Minnesota if they're going to win in the Shoe.
Had you told me Wisconsin would throw two pick-sixes and give up a kickoff return for a touchdown, I would tell you Ohio State would stomp the Badgers. And they did. The fact is, the interception returns and kickoff return gave Ohio State more offense on defense and special teams than they had on offense. That's impressive.
And for the Badgers, impressively bad.
Bottom line? For all those yards the Badgers racked up, including a decent running game, they couldn't score touchdowns against a nasty Ohio State defense.
Going into this game the Badgers were 18 of 22 for touchdowns on trips into the red zone. Saturday they were one for three (I think), with the one coming after an interception put the Badgers there and they scored on special teams with a masterful fake field goal. One for three won't get it done.
It wasn't "Badger mistakes," though. It was Ohio State's defensive front. They owned the Badgers on passing downs, with Tolzien rarely getting a chance to set his feet. His first interception came as a result of the pressure.
He remained under it all day and it clearly rattled him. The second interception likely came because his internal clock was telling him he had so little time to throw (which was basically accurate), so he forced a throw he'd had available a couple of times before. Both "mistakes" were forced by a relentless and effective Ohio State defensive line.
Nonetheless, at 21-13, immediately after a drive for a field goal in the third quarter, the Badgers could have clawed back into it. From Section 8C, we'd been watching Badger special-teams stand out Chris Borland race unblocked down the field on kickoffs. "Why don't they put a hat on him?" we asked.
That kickoff was the only one Phillip Welch didn't angle towards Borland's side (a fade to the right; like many of his field goal attempts this season, including the two misses Saturday, I suspect the kickoff's direction was a mistake on his part). It was also the only one that the Buckeyes actually blocked Borland.
End game. 28-13, allowing the Buckeye defense to simply tee off on the Badger offensive line as Wisconsin was forced into abandoning the run to try and catch up.
That dog don't hunt.
Maybe Pryor isn't progressing all that well, but that Buckeye defensive line did all it needed to do and more.
Stats are for losers; the Buckeyes dominated the Badgers.