The No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes are facing a bit of a quarterback controversy, as Braxton Miller gets the starting nod over Kenny Guiton against No. 23 and Big Ten rival Wisconsin on Saturday night at Ohio Stadium.
Head coach Urban Meyer named Miller the starter two days ago, with the junior reportedly well enough to play after suffering a sprained knee ligament in the first quarter against San Diego State three weeks ago.
Since then Guiton has stepped up to the tune of 664 passing yards and 13 touchdowns, along with consecutive Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week awards.
"I think Braxton will probably start. He had a good day today and it looks like he's pretty close to 100 percent,'' Meyer said after practice on Wednesday. "I just wanted to make sure running the ball he's good, too. And he was. And Kenny's good.''
Guiton deserves plenty of credit, but he wasn’t alone on the field. While Guiton tossed six touchdowns last week against Florida A&M, running back Ezekiel Elliot also rushed for 162 yards and two touchdowns, and junior receiver Evan Spencer caught two scores. Ohio State won in a lopsided 76-0 game, and preserved leading rusher Jordan Hall.
The Buckeye defense has also done their part, allowing only 15.3 points and 319 total rushing yards, both fourth best in the Big Ten.
Meanwhile the Badgers have already started their Big Ten schedule with a 41-10 victory over Purdue last week, highlighted by who else, their running backs.
Melvin Gordon and James White combined for 292 yards and four touchdowns, with Gordon reaching the endzone three times. Gordon is second only two Ohio State’s Hall and Penn State’s Zach Zwinak, with seven rushing scores this season. Overall the Badgers are third in the nation in rushing at 349.8 yards per game.
Wisconsin’s defense has also set the tone for the rest of the conference, ranking first in points and total yards allowed per game.
A major mental mistake by quarterback Joel Stave late in the fourth quarter against Arizona State is the reason Wisconsin is 3-1 rather than 4-0. Stave, who’s passed for 761 yards and six touchdowns, downed the ball deep in the Sun Devils territory thinking he was down by contact. However the clock was still running and the Badgers couldn’t get a field goal off in time to win.
Much more focus will be required of Stave and the rest of the Wisconsin against a Buckeyes squad that’s only given up one rushing touchdown, 2.6 yards per rush, and recovered four of their opponents seven lost fumbles.
The game starts at 8 p.m. ET and will be broadcast by ABC.
Betting Odds: Ohio State is favored by 7 points.
Over/Under: 55.5 points
Prediction: Ohio State 30, Wisconsin 25