Wisconsin 31, Ohio St. 18

Badgers bounce Buckeyes

Wisconsin derails No. 1 Ohio State

John Clay celebrates one of his two rushing touchdowns with Nick Toon as Wisconsin stunned Ohio State. John Clay celebrates one of his two rushing touchdowns with Nick Toon as Wisconsin stunned Ohio State. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
By Ralph D. Russo
Associated Press / October 17, 2010

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MADISON, Wis. — Ohio State is one and done as No. 1.

John Clay ran for 104 yards and two touchdowns and James White darted in for the clinching score in the fourth quarter as No. 18 Wisconsin took down top-ranked Ohio State, 31-18, last night.

For the second week in a row, there will be a new No. 1 in college football, with the Buckeyes (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten) falling the way Alabama was beaten last week — on the road and in conference.

Wisconsin hadn’t defeated a No. 1 since 1981, when the Badgers knocked off Michigan, 21-14.

“I know this isn’t a bowl game or the national championship game, but I just started crying, man; to just be in a situation like that where nobody expects you to win,’’ safety Aaron Henry said. “Nobody really expected us to go out there and win.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling. I wish this night could last forever.’’

This one felt like an upset right from the start.

David Gilreath returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown and the Badgers (6-1, 2-1) proceeded to run over the Buckeyes in the first half, taking a 21-3 lead into the break behind Clay and his blockers.

“I challenged our offensive line at the beginning of the week,’’ Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said. “If we’re going to have success, it starts with you guys.’’

Terrelle Pryor, who threw for 156 yards and ran for 56, guided Ohio State on two long scoring drives in the second half and Dan Herron capped them both with touchdowns to cut the Wisconsin lead to 21-18 with 11:38 left in the fourth.

But the Badgers responded with another long touchdown drive and then added a field goal. Now No. 1 is up for grabs again — just in time for the BCS standings to make their season debut today.

Next up at No. 1 in the AP Top 25? Maybe No. 2 Oregon, which was idle this week and has never been top-ranked before. The Ducks must have enjoyed watching the show at rowdy Camp Randall Stadium. No. 3 Boise State and No. 4 TCU also must have been smiling as the scores rolled in from around the country.

For Ohio State, its national title hopes are in critical condition.

“We just blew it as a team,’’ Pryor said. His Heisman Trophy hopes may have taken a beating, too, after he went just 14 of 28 with an interception.

The Buckeyes just couldn’t overcome Wisconsin’s dominant first half in front of a pumped-up crowd of 81,194. The Badgers outgained the Buckeyes, 197-93, in the first 30 minutes, punishing a defense that hadn’t allowed someone to rush for 100 yards in 29 games.

Even after that terrible first half, though, Ohio State responded in the third quarter.

First it was a 77-yard touchdown drive that featured some of the best of Pryor, using his arm and legs to make plays. Herron got the Buckeyes’ first touchdown with a 13-yard run out of the wildcat and it was 21-10 with 10:08 left in the third.

Ohio State’s next drive, 94 yards in 19 plays, was capped again by Herron’s 1-yard run. Pryor tossed to Reid Fragel for the 2-point conversion to make it 21-18.

The Badgers didn’t buckle, however, and the Buckeyes’ defense, rated No. 3 in the country coming in, couldn’t come up with a stop.