So what if lightning can’t strike the same place twice? It struck Wisconsin right in the heart two weeks in a row in almost exactly the same fashion.
Down by three points with less than 30 seconds remaining, Braxton Miller pulled off one of those kinds of plays that Ohio State fans will remember forever. Rolling out to his right, the crowd collectively holding its breath, Miller fired a deep ball to the back of the end zone.
As the camera followed the ball, the television viewer was not privy to anything going on on the field, and thus could not see how wide open Devin Smith was.
And then it happened.
Miller’s pass connected, leaving the Badgers with 20 second and no timeouts to answer yet another “Hail Mary” that essentially won the game for the opposing team.
Wisconsin was lucky to be in the game in the first place with a near epic collapse by the Ohio State defense in the later stages of the game, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the Buckeyes played almost flawless football offensively and did it in a way to keep the Badgers to only 14 points until the later stages of the game.
Despite the fact that Ohio State looked ugly as sin on Saturday night football, they played like they wanted the Big Ten Championship more than the Badgers did, straight up.
As expected, the two biggest factors for Ohio State offensively were Braxton Miller and Dan Herron. Miller accounted for three touchdowns, including his first and second of the season on the ground.
Herron carried the ball 33 times for 160 yards, averaging just under five per carry.
The true key for Ohio State was stopping Wisconsin running back Montee Ball, and if you look at the stats, you might think they didn’t accomplish that. Ball had 85 yards rushing and 30 yards receiving with two more touchdowns to add to his impressive season totals.
However, Ball had merely 45 yards until late in the fourth quarter when he broke a huge 40 yard run that set up a touchdown pass from quarterback Russell Wilson.
This was a huge victory for the Buckeyes who have now revitalized their home crowd and given hope for the future. Not only that, but they still have a shot at a Big Ten title in 2011, and if they keep it up with this kind of magical play, they could definitely do it. They are still a young team, so fans have to be ready for a potential let-down, but don’t be shocked if these guys continue winning games and making believers out of people.
Quarterback Braxton Miller made the play of the night for fans of the Ohio State Buckeyes. With pressure mounting and precious seconds ticking away, it appeared to all the world that Miller was about to run for enough yards to put the Bucks in field goal range. And when I say, "all the world" I mean all the world including the Wisconsin secondary because as their attention turned to making sure Miller didn't turn the play into a highlight run, the freshman QB kept thinking big and looking down field.
When Miller stopped on a dime mere inches away from the line of scrimmage and heaved the ball toward the end zone, he and receiver Devin Smith were the only two people in Ohio Stadium not surprised. As the ball floated through the air like a perfect punt allowing all eyes the time to see where Miller was aiming, the signature roar from Ohio Stadium began to mount with Smith standing open to catch the game-winner.
A defensive struggle turned into an offensive outburst in Columbus on Saturday night with the Ohio St. Buckeyes giving up a late lead only to rally to beat the No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers 33-29 at the Horseshoe. Braxton Miller connected with Devin Smith on a 40-yard touchdown with just 20 seconds remaining to give the Buckeyes the win. It was the second last-second defeat in a row after losing to Michigan State 37-31 on the final play last week.
The Buckeyes and the Badgers combined for 31 points over the first three quarters before the teams combined to score four touchdowns in the final 4:39.
Miller, the Buckeyes freshman quarterback, ran for 99 yards on 19 carries and scored twice, in addition to completing 7 of 12 passes for 89 yards and a score.
Fickell said that before Miller went onto the field for the last possession, the quarterback turned to the coach and winked.
"I felt good about it. That's what you need," Fickell said. "You've got to have confidence in what you're doing. You have to have belief in what you're doing."
Ohio State had just 89 yards passing - 40 came on the final touchdown - but racked up 268 yards on the ground led by Dan Herron's 160 yards on 33 carries.
Ohio State seemingly took control of the game in the 3rd quarter when Jordan Hall ran in from 2 yards to give the Buckeyes a 17-7 lead. Wisconsin got back into the game after a Buckeyes fumble gave the Badgers a short field. Montee Bell scored from a yard out to make the score 17-14 and the teams were set for the furious final quarter.
Leading 20-14, Miller raced left on a 3rd and 2 and went untouched into the end-zone for a 26-14 lead with 4:30 to go. Wisconsin came right back, however, needing just 44 seconds to cut the led to 26-21. After forcing a three-and-out from Ohio State, Wisconsin went 68 yards in four plays, with Badgers quarterback Russell Wilson finding Jared Abbrederis all along for a 49-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion gave the Badgers a 29-26 lead with 1:18 remaining.
That left Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes too much time. Ohio State came right back, taking over at their own 48 after a 42-yard kickoff return by Hall.
They picked up 12 yards on three plays before Miller took the snap on first down at the Wisconsin 40 with 30 seconds left. He floated right to avoid a rush, barely sidestepped a potential tackle and suddenly noticed Smith wide open in the end zone. Miller stopped and looped the ball to Smith who caught it just before two defenders closed on him.
"Obviously, it's another heartbreaking loss," Badgers coach Bret Bielema said.
The Wisconsin Badgers visit the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday evening for this weekend's marquee matchup in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes are coming off a bye week after a strong road win at Illinois two weeks ago helped right the ship following two tough Big Ten losses to Michigan State and Nebraska. Ohio State is desperate for a win today to remain in the race in the Big Ten's Leaders division since at 1-2 in conference, the Bucks are already two games behind Penn State.
Wisconsin is looking to bounce back after a gut-crushing loss at the buzzer to Michigan State last week, their first L of the season. The Badgers still have plenty of big stakes to play for as they too try to keep pace with Penn State in the Leaders division.
Here's the rundown of information for Saturday's game between Wisconsin and Ohio State:
Game Date/Time: Saturday, Oct. 29, 8:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)