Buckeyes bury Badgers in Big Ten opener

Wisconsin Badgers running back Braelon Allen carries the football as Ohio State Buckeyes safety Josh Proctor goes for the tackle on Sept. 24. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Cade Stover and Emeka Egbuka each caught two of C.J. Stroud’s five touchdown passes, Miyan Williams rushed for two more scores and No. 3 Ohio State blew by Wisconsin early and cruised to a 52-21 win on Saturday night.

The Buckeyes (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) scored touchdowns on their first four drives and led 31-7 at the half. Wisconsin could only slow them down after that but didn't get closer than 21 points.

Running backs TreVeyon Henderson and Williams both had 100-yard games; Henderson had 121 yards, and Williams averaged more than 9 yards per carry in rumbling for 101.

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Stroud completed 17 of 27 attempts for 281 yards and also threw an interception for the first time this season. He has 16 touchdown passes in four games.

The TD catches were the first for Stover, a tight end in his fourth year who has also played defensive end and linebacker for the Buckeyes. His first was on a 13-yard toss, two plays after after Ohio State safety Tanner McCalister picked off Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz.

Later the 6-foot-4, 255-pound tight end caught a 2-yard scoring pass to put the Buckeyes up 21-0 before the end of the first quarter.

Egbuka caught scoring passes of 32 and 8 yards. Julian Fleming also caught a touchdown pass for the Buckeyes.

Mertz was 11 for 20 for 94 yards, rushed for a touchdown and threw for another. Braelon Allen rushed for 165 yards, including a 75-yard TD romp in the fourth quarter.

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The takeaway

Wisconsin: The Badgers (3-1, 0-1) were expected to put up more of a fight in the first Big Ten game for both teams. Instead, they got hit early and couldn't recover.

Ohio State: Stroud completed his first eight passes on the way to another outstanding performance. The Heisman favorite again was exceptional taking advantage of what the defense gave him, and the combination of Williams and Henderson carrying the ball kept Wisconsin off balance.

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Poll implications

With a good showing against a conference opponent, Ohio State should stay put.

Up next

Wisconsin: Hosts Illinois next Saturday. The Illini (3-1) beat Chattanooga 31-0 on Thursday.

Ohio State: Hosts Rutgers next Saturday in the last of five consecutive home games. Rutgers lost to Iowa 27-10.