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MADISON, Wis. - In a reversal of much of the 2012 season the Ohio State defense saved the Ohio State offense as Carlos Hyde punched in the game winner in overtime to give the Buckeyes a 21-14 win against Wisconsin and the outright championship of the Leaders Division of the Big Ten.
Braxton Miller was held largely in check with 48 yards on 23 carries (2.1 YPC) and 10-18 passing for 97 yards and three sacks. Hyde led the Buckeyes with 87 yards and two touchdowns and Corey Brown got the Buckeyes on the board first with a 68 yard punt return for a touchdown.
Montee Ball tied the NCAA Touchdown record with his 78th score to tie Miami (Ohio) alum Travis Prentice. Ball ended the day with 191 yards rushing on 39 carries and third string quarterback Curt Phillips passed for 154 yards and a TD on 14/25 passing in a losing effort.
It was a festive post game celebration for the Buckeyes (see video above) and head coach Urban Meyer is proud of the accomplishment of his team to now sit 11-0 and call themselves champions, even with no trip to Indianapolis this season.
"Our players won a ring tonight, they are going to get a ring," Meyer said. "They are champions of their side which is really at the end of the day, if you are going to keep score go be a champion and our guys did."
Now the Buckeyes will turn their attention to the 12th and final game, a game against the Michigan Wolverines and a game that stands between Ohio State and its sixth ever undefeated season in the history of the program.
The Badgers held the edge in time of possession by more than 14 minutes in the game and ran 83 plays in the game. The Ohio State defense spent a lot of time on the field as the offense sputtered for most of the game, most noticed by Ohio State only accumulating 36 yards of total offense in the second half.
"I thought our defense did a fantastic job," Meyer said. "The one drive was painful to watch at the end where they dink and dunked and scored the tying touchdown. But overtime, another overtime win, it is good to see for the Buckeyes."
Miller was flustered and frustrated on the field for most of the game and the offense was unable to be run through Miller and it led to drives of five, three and three plays to end regulation. The only spark that the offense found with semi-regular success was the running of Hyde.
"I just felt like if they would have given me the ball more, I feel like I could have gotten the momentum going," Hyde said. "If they would have given me the ball a little more I feel like I could have sparked the offense and really got it going but that is my coach's decision and I just live with it and do what my coaches say."
Meyer noted after the game that Miller may have been frustrated on the field but was still a strong leader on the bench and kept his teammates in the game, despite not having much personal success in the game.
"They are No. 1 in the Big Ten against the rush and we could not get that going but we are certainly not a finished product on offense and it showed but to come down in that overtime," Meyer said. "Carlos Hyde ran hard, we have to give him the ball a little bit more."
Ohio State held a 14-7 lead going as the clock crept inside of four minutes and it appeared that the Badgers were putting themselves in position for the equalizer with the ball on the 1-yard line at the 3:01 mark. The Badgers fed the ball to Montee Ball on a 4th and 1 (there was still a potential first down on the half yard line) but Ryan Shazier met Ball in the air and knocked the ball lose into the hands of Christian Bryant and stalled the drive.
"I didn't think, I knew for a fact that they were going to give him the ball and they were going to let him break records," Shazier said. "4th and 1, you are going to give it to your best player and I knew that he was jumping and once he jumped I knew I was jumping. I was hitting whoever was jumping."
But the Buckeyes couldn't ice the game away and after a three-and-out had to punt it back to the Badgers for one more shot with a little more than 90-seconds left.
The Badgers didn't have time to run and used Phillips as a passing weapon and had success as they moved down the field. The Badgers moved the ball to the Ohio State 5-yard line and spiked the ball with 13 seconds to go. But the Ohio State defense could not seal the deal and with eight seconds left Phillips found Jacob Pedersen in the front of the end zone and tied the game up at 14.
"We rallied them back and that is leadership on our team," Meyer said. "Our coaches did a good job of getting the guys going because we were sucking our thumbs after they scored with eight seconds left, it is over... no timeouts, the game is over."
The Badgers won the toss and put the Buckeyes on offense first and the Ohio State offense did something that it hadn't done in more than 30 minutes of game action, it moved the ball. First, Hyde took it to the right side for 11 yards down the sideline to get the Buckeyes to the 14 yard line. That was followed up with a pair of Miller runs that moved the ball to the two yard line before Hyde punched it in from two to give Ohio State a 21-14 lead.
"I liked the way that the offense just attacked and Carlos got a big run, Braxton Miller ran like the Braxton Miller, we got him in some space and we pounded it in there," Meyer said.
Wisconsin had one final chance and after a Ball six yard run the Badgers missed on a pass attempt to Derek Watt to set up third down. Ball got stuffed by Etienne Sabino (who returned after several weeks out) to set up a final play for the game.
Phillips tried to find Pedersen again but Bryant was able to dive in front of the pass and knock it down and end the game and preserve Ohio State's unblemished record.
"We have a saying... 'A team that refuses to be beat won't be beat'," Meyer said.
The team won't have long to celebrate this win with the Michigan game coming up.
"This is all I ever knew growing up, we have a group of coaches, eight of our nine coaches are from the state of Ohio and there are a lot of players in (the locker room) that have already experienced it, I hear them already talking (about it), they were doing everything they could not to talk about it," Meyer said. "We are going to dive into it as soon as we get back."
Work begins on Sunday when the Bucks hit the WHAC for practice and treatment.