Records on line against Ohio State

first_imgAfter applying for a sixth year of eligibility, fifth-year senior quarterback Curt Phillips is still not sure if Saturday’s Senior Day will mark his final game at Camp Randall.[/media-credit]For the second time in as many visits to Camp Randall, No. 6 Ohio State arrives in Madison with an undefeated record.And while the Buckeyes already have at least a share of the Leaders Division title wrapped up, it will be the Wisconsin Badgers (7-3, 4-2 Big Ten) who represent the division Dec. 1 in the Big Ten Championship Game, regardless of Saturday’s outcome, due to a one-year bowl ban on Ohio State (10-0, 6-0).But that doesn’t mean the game lacks meaning for either team, or that Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema will be resting his starters for a trip to Indianapolis guaranteed with two conference games remaining.“We’re in a race to finish at the top of our division and this opportunity this week is a chance to play the team that’s at that No. 1 spot,” Bielema said.“I think I might have a mutiny on my hands if I tried to pull anybody out of this game this Saturday.”Aside from the implications for the division title, these teams don’t exactly like each other.Perhaps the most treasured win – and one of the most souring to OSU – of the past decade for the UW football program was its upset of the then-top-ranked Buckeyes in the confines of Camp Randall in a 2010 night game that jump-started Bielema’s squad on the fast track to the Rose Bowl. In 2011, Ohio State struck back, as a late touchdown pass from Braxton Miller to wide receiver Devin Smith sent the Badgers to their second straight loss and eliminated their slim hopes of a shot at the national championship.Cementing the added fire in recent years to this growing rivalry between the two teams this week were the fiery words of Ohio State junior wide receiver Corey Brown.“I don’t want to go on record saying that I hate Wisconsin more than Michigan,” Brown told The Columbus Dispatch. “But I hate Wisconsin just as much as Michigan.”The matchup between these two teams has been extremely even over the past eleven meetings, with Ohio State owning a 6-5 advantage.Hard feelings aside, there’s also a big piece of NCAA history that could be made in the 2012 installment of this rivalry.Sitting at 77 career touchdowns, Wisconsin senior tailback Montee Ball needs just two scores to break the NCAA record for most scores in a career, a mark set at 78 by Travis Prentice of Miami (Ohio).It’s a bit ironic that Ball has the chance to break the record against Ohio State in Camp Randall. The last time the Buckeyes came to Madison, Ball didn’t even play a single snap.“I think I look back on it when times get tough,” Ball said Monday. “I look back on it and tell myself I went through that. I went through that challenging time, so anything that comes my way again, I’m able to overcome it.”Coming off a school-record 564 rushing yards against Indiana, Wisconsin’s offensive line will hope to propel Ball to a potential historic feat against the conference’s second-best run defense (107.9 rushing yards allowed per game).“They mix it up and bring all kinds of different pressures,” UW offensive line coach Bart Miller said. “That’s something we really have to work on this week. They’ve had two weeks to prepare for us and they’ve had a lot of time to dial things up. We’ve got to be perfect in our execution and in our preparation.”If numbers are any indication of continued success, the Badgers should be a bit worried of the Buckeyes coming off their bye week. Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer’s teams are 32-2 in games where they have had more than two weeks to prepare.Leading Meyer’s spread offense is Heisman hopeful Braxton Miller. The sophomore dual-threat quarterback has spearheaded the Big Ten’s best scoring offense this season (39.9 points per game) and is always a threat to run with the ball, rushing for 1,116 yards and 13 touchdowns through 10 games.Boasting the conference’s best run defense (103.4 yards allowed per game), UW has already been tested once this year against an equally-gifted quarterback in Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez.The results weren’t encouraging, as Martinez shredded the Badgers for 107 rushing yards – most of them coming in the second half – and a touchdown combined with 181 yards and two touchdowns through the air in a 30-27 comeback win for the Huskers.It will also be Senior Day at Camp Randall, where nine Badgers will adorn the cardinal and white for the final time at home in their careers.Then again, that number could be eight.Battling back from three ACL tears, fifth-year senior Curt Phillips made the first start of his career Saturday against Indiana and showed his own versatility at quarterback, throwing the ball just seven times but running for 68 yards, including a 52-yard gain on a designed draw.Applying for a sixth-year of eligibility at the conclusion of the season, Phillips hopes Saturday’s game won’t be his last in Madison. But, even if it is, the fifth-year senior isn’t one to get emotional.“It wasn’t my plan initially to be here for that long, but I’ve enjoyed it,” Phillips said. “And if I get a chance to stay around, I’d love to.”Follow Nick on Twitterlast_img

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