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Top 25 Roundup: Defense saves No. 2 Ohio State in 30-23 OT victory against No. 8 Wisconsin

Ohio State running back Mike Weber, left, gets past Wisconsin's Zach Baun, center, during the first half. (Andy Manis / Associated Press)
Ohio State running back Mike Weber, left, gets past Wisconsin's Zach Baun, center, during the first half. (Andy Manis / Associated Press)
Associated Press

Perhaps Ohio State’s steamrolling of Wisconsin in the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game will be an aberration the series won’t see again for some time.

The nationally televised clash between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 8 Wisconsin Saturday night in Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin, returned to the dramatic, bruising affairs that usually characterize the matchup.

The game went to overtime, with Ohio State escaping with a 30-23 victory.

In the extra period, Wisconsin won the toss and elected to play defense. The Buckeyes overcame a holding penalty and scored a touchdown on J.T. Barrett’s 7-yard pass to Noah Brown, with Tyler Durbin kicking the extra point.

On Wisconsin’s possession, it reached the OSU 4, but Tyquan Lewis sacked Alex Hornibrook for a loss of 11 yards on fourth down to end the game. Jerome Baker tackled Corey Clement for no gain on third down.

Ohio State (6-0, 3-0) has won eight of the last nine meetings since Wisconsin (4-2, 1-2) prevailed in 2003 and ‘04. With the Buckeyes favored by 10 1/2 points, it marked the first time the Badgers had been a home underdog since 2010, when they upset No. 1 OSU 31-18.

Ohio State trailed 16-6 at halftime, but in the third quarter, OSU outgained Wisconsin 118 yards to 11.

On the Buckeyes’ first series of the second half, quarterback J.T. Barrett drove them from their own 36 to the Wisconsin 13. But during a brief downpour, safety D’Cota Dixon picked off Barrett’s pass in the end zone at the 9:17 mark.

Barrett shook it off to direct a 13-play, 47-yard drive capped by his 1-yard TD run that cut the gap to 16-13 with 2:52 left in the third quarter.

The Badgers had the ball for only one play as cornerback Gareon Conley picked off Alex Hornibrook’s pass at the Wisconsin 38.

Ohio State capitalized for a touchdown, with Barrett running 8 yards for the score with 14:09 remaining to give the Buckeyes their first lead. But the Badgers found life, driving 81 yards in 11 plays with junior fullback Austin Ramesh scoring on an 8-yard run with 7:54 to play. It was the first rushing touchdown given up by Ohio State all season. Coming in, it had been the only team in the Football Bowl Subdivision to boast that.

On its next possession, OSU reached the Wisconsin 14 before being forced to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Tyler Durbin that tied the score 23-23 with 3:57 remaining.

With 55 seconds left in regulation, Conley appeared to get his second pick of the game. But as he tried to transfer the ball from his arm to his stomach as he hit the ground, the ball touched the turf and the play was ruled an incompletion after a replay review. The Badgers failed to convert on the ensuing third-and-12 from the 50, forcing overtime.

In the first half, the Badgers found success where the Buckeyes’ previous five foes hadn’t. Ohio State’s defense came in allowing 98 rushing yards per game; Wisconsin senior Corey Clement had surpassed that by halftime with 110 yards, including a 68-yard scamper, the longest rush given up by OSU this season. At the end of regulation, the Badgers had rushed for 247 yards and had totalled 440.

Clement’s 68-yard run set up Wisconsin’s only touchdown of the first half, a 24-yard pass from Hornibrook to Jazz Peavy with 6:17 left in the first quarter.

The rest of the half was a field-goal duel. Wisconsin’s Andrew Endicott connected from 46, 32 and 22 yards, while Ohio State’s Durbin hit from 25 and 40 yards.

The low-scoring game had been expected, with Ohio State ranking second in the nation in scoring defense coming in and Wisconsin fourth.

In recent years, the meetings between OSU and Wisconsin had been nail-biters, save for the Buckeyes’ 59-0 victory in the conference championship game en route to the 2014 national title.

In 2011, OSU won 33-29 on Braxton Miller’s 40-yard TD pass to Devin Smith with 20 seconds remaining. In 2012, OSU prevailed 21-14 in overtime. In 2013, OSU won 31-24.

Adding to the task coming in was Wisconsin’s 75-9 record at home since 2004, its .893 winning percentage the second-best among Power 5 teams in that span behind Ohio State’s .899 (80-9).

(3) Clemson 24, North Carolina State 17 (OT): Deshaun Watson hit Artavis Scott with 10-yard touchdown pass in overtime and Marcus Edmond finished it with an interception in the end zone as the Tigers beat the Wolfpack in Clemson, South Carolina. It wasn’t the prettiest game for Clemson, which gave up 397 yards and turned it over four times – including Watson’s first-ever pick six – to the Wolfpack.

Clemson took a big hit early on when running back Wayne Gallman came out, looking woozy and out of it as he headed to the locker room. Gallman, the team’s leading rusher, did not return.

Receiver Hunter Renfrow, who had six catches in his first game since Sept. 10 because of a broken hand, was hurt in the fourth quarter and came out the rest of the way.

(13) Houston 38, Tulsa 31: Emeke Egbule returned a fumble 24 yards for a touchdown with 1:21 remaining to give the Cougars a win over visiting the Golden Hurricane.The game was tied at 31-31 when Garrett Davis knocked the ball out of the hands of quarterback Dane Evans. Egbule scooped it up and dashed into the end zone for the score. Tulsa had a chance to tie it, but Jesse Brubaker was stopped just short of the goal line after a reception on the last play of the game to seal Houston’s victory.

(22) Arkansas 34, (12) Mississippi 30: Jared Cornelius scored on a 6-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to lift the Razorbacks over the Rebels in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The win is the third in a row for Arkansas over Ole Miss, which has now lost three of its first six games a season after winning the Sugar Bowl. Austin Allen was 19-of-32 passing for 229 yards and three touchdowns for Arkansas, giving the junior an SEC-best 18 touchdown passes for the season. Rawleigh Williams added a career-high 180 yards rushing on 27 carries for the Razorbacks.

North Carolina 20, (16) Miami 13: Mitch Trubisky threw two touchdown passes, Malik Carney forced a turnover with 1:31 left to thwart Miami’s last chance at a rally and the Tar Heels knocked off the Hurricanes in Miami Gardens, Florida.Ryan Switzer and Austin Proehl had scoring catches for the Tar Heels. Bug Howard had 10 catches for 156 yards for North Carolina, which rebounded in a big way from last weekend’s blowout loss against Virginia Tech. Trubisky completed 33 of 46 passes for 299 yards.

Mark Walton rushed for 82 yards and Joe Yearby ran for 74 more and a touchdown for Miami (4-2, 1-2), which lost its second straight game after last week’s 20-19 loss to Florida State.

Brad Kaaya completed 16 of 31 passes for 224 yards for Miami, but he was hit by a blitzing Carney and lost the ball late in the game to send fans streaming for the exits. North Carolina took over and ran out the clock, sealing the deal when Elijah Hood rumbled 13 yards for a first down with 1:02 left – the 14th conversion in 23 third-down opportunities for the Tar Heels.

(10) Nebraska 27, Indiana 22: Terrell Newby ran for one score and Tommy Armstrong Jr. hooked up with Stanley Morgan Jr. on a 72-yard touchdown pass with 9:57 left to play, helping the Cornhuskers hold off the Hoosiers in Indianapolis. Nebraska won its seventh straight game overall and its fifth in a row in this series, last played in 1978. It’s also the first time since 2001 that Nebraska has won its first six.

Nebraska opened the game by driving for a field goal then got Newby’s 4-yard TD run and Chris Jones’ 33-yard interception return for a score in a 14-second span to make it 17-0. The Hoosiers answered with the next 15 points, finally getting into the end zone on the final play of the third quarter, a 33-yard TD run from Devine Redding on a fake reverse.

Nebraska took advantage when Indiana’s two safeties ran into one another, allowing Morgan to turn about a 20-yard gain into a 72-yard TD. (19) Oklahoma 38, Kansas State 17: Baker Mayfield completed 25 of 31 passes for 346 yards and four touchdowns, Dede Westbrook contributed nine receptions for 184 yards and three TDs and the Sooners defeated the Wildcats in Norman, Oklahoma. One week after Mayfield passed for 390 yards and Westbrook had a school-record 232 yards receiving, the duo was electric once again as Oklahoma won its third straight game after starting out 1-2.

Joe Hubener came in and threw for 157 yards on 12 of 23 passes, with a spectacular 54-yard touchdown to Dominique Heath early in the fourth quarter that pulled K-State to within 31-17. Heath ended up with seven receptions for 101 yards and the TD.

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