C.J. Stroud threw five touchdown passes and both top running backs had 100-yard games as the Buckeyes cruised to a 52-21 win over Wisconsin on Saturday night.
“I thought the tempo and mix of run and pass today was what we were looking for,” said Ohio State coach Ryan Day.
Cade Stover and Emeka Egbuka each had two touchdown receptions, and Miyan Williams added two more.
On their way to a 31-7 halftime lead, the Buckeyes (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) controlled the line of scrimmage and scored touchdowns on their first four drives.
After that, Wisconsin could only slow them down and get no closer than 21 points.
TreVeyon Henderson had 121 yards on the ground, and Williams had 101 yards on the ground, averaging more than 9 yards per carry.
“We know how long the season will be,” Day explained. “The key is when you have two guys going back and forth who are unselfish and understand what it means to be a team.”
Stroud completed 17 of 27 passes for 281 yards and threw his first interception of the season. In four games, he has 16 touchdown passes.
Egbuka finished with 118 yards after catching touchdown passes of 32 and 8 yards. For the Buckeyes, Julian Fleming also caught a touchdown pass.
“We distributed the ball pretty well in the first half, had some good momentum coming out quick, and that’s something we definitely want to do,” Stroud said.
Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz completed 11 of 20 passes for 94 yards, rushing for a touchdown and throwing for another. Braelon Allen rushed for 165 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown run against Ohio State’s backups in the fourth quarter.
Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said, “We really didn’t get off to a good start.” “We didn’t respond as well as we should have on the field.”
The touchdown catches were the first for Stover, a fourth-year tight end who has also played defensive end and linebacker for the Buckeyes. His first touchdown came on a 13-yard toss two plays after Ohio State safety Tanner McCalister intercepted Mertz.
Later in the first quarter, the 6-foot-4, 255-pounder caught a 2-yard scoring pass to put the Buckeyes up 21-0.
“That’s a tough, proud program,” said Stover. “They’re well-known for it.” We’re taking a step in the right direction if we can go out there and really force our will on those guys.”
INJURIES AND DISAPPEARANCES
Wisconsin’s starting left tackle, Jack Nelson, was unable to play due to illness.
WR, Ohio State Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who has played sparingly since suffering a hamstring injury in Week 1, was ruled out. Denzel Burke and Cam Brown, the starting cornerbacks, were both unavailable. Burke’s right hand was either cast or wrapped in warmups. Brown was injured and had to leave last week’s game.
CUNDIFF HURTS YET AGAIN
Wisconsin TE Clay Cundiff has carted off the field late in the first half with an apparent leg injury. Cundiff suffered a season-ending injury last season on Oct. 30 with a dislocated ankle, broken fibula, and torn deltoid. In the Week 2 loss to Washington State, he worked his way back and caught both scoring passes.
Wisconsin hosts Illinois the following Saturday. On Thursday, the Illini (3-1) defeated Chattanooga 31-0.
Ohio State: Hosts Rutgers next Saturday in the final of five home games. Rutgers was defeated by Iowa 27-10.