Three returns power No. 9 Buckeyes, 31-13Oct 11, 2009 - 12:13 AM By RUSTY MILLER AP Sports Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio(AP) -- Three plays will torment Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema for another year.
Kurt Coleman and Jermale Hines returned interceptions for touchdowns and Ray Small brought a kickoff back 96 yards on Saturday to lead the ninth-ranked Buckeyes to a 31-13 win, despite getting badly outgained by the self-destructive Badgers.
"I hate losing to these guys," Bielema said. "Absolutely, it's something I can't stand for whatever reason. The bottom line is I have to do it again. It's something we'll continue to look at until we have another opportunity next year."
Wisconsin outgained Ohio State by nearly 200 yards, and had 22 first downs to the Buckeyes' eight. None of it mattered in the end.
"It was obviously a different type of football game," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. "When you get two defensive touchdowns and then a kickoff return touchdown, that's more than you could ever wish for. Those three moments were critical."
Coleman, playing his first game since a Big Ten-mandated suspension for a late hit, was the only person near Scott Tolzien's pass in the first quarter and returned it 89 yards.
"It was just an easy pick for me," Coleman said. "I just was standing right there, happened to be in the right spot and my team led me all the way down the field. I did the easy part. They did all the work."
After Wisconsin (5-1, 2-1 Big Ten) made it 14-10 early in the third quarter, the Buckeyes (5-1, 3-0) padded their lead when Hines tipped a pass, pulled it in and followed a glut of blockers on a 32-yard return.
The Badgers countered with a field goal, but Small brought back the next kickoff.
Wisconsin had won on its last two trips to Ohio Stadium. But the Badgers' mistakes led to their undoing this time.
They dominated the statistics, leading in first downs 22-8 and total offense 368-184, but the three big returns spelled the difference.
Tolzien, intercepted just three times on 125 attempts in Wisconsin's first five games, completed 27 of 45 passes for 250 yards but threw the two costly picks. Sacked just twice all year, the Buckeyes managed it six times and harassed him all day.
"There were some times when he was under amazing duress and he still delivered the ball," Tressel said while praising his defense. "There were also some times when he didn't have a chance."
The Buckeyes and quarterback Terrelle Pryor didn't have the ball much and didn't have to do much with it when they did.
Wisconsin dominated time of possession 42:47 to 17:13. The Buckeyes had the ball for less than 2 minutes in the third quarter alone, yet outscored the Badgers 14-3.
Pryor, who finished 5 of 13 passing for 87 yards with one interception, looked completely confused by Wisconsin's defense - at least until late in the half.
He was picked off by linebacker Culmer St. Jean, who returned it 13 yards to the Buckeyes 12. Four plays later, holder Chris Maragos took the snap on a fake field goal and ran around left end, stretching the ball out with his right arm to touch the pylon for a 9-yard score that tied it at 7 midway through the second quarter.
The Buckeyes had just 36 yards of total offense on their first five possessions until Pryor found his footing late in the second quarter with Wisconsin on top 10-7. He hit half of his six passes in a quick 88-yard race against the clock, capped by a 32-yard scoring pass to DeVier Posey with 40 seconds left.
That was it for the offense. But the interception return by Hines and Small's kickoff return virtually ended the suspense.
"We always say if you can do something special in the special teams and win the turnover margin, you're going to have a chance to win a tough game," Tressel said.
- NCAAF FINAL
1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
WISCONSIN 0 10 3 0 13
OHIOST 7 7 14 3 31 FINAL
1ST QUARTER: OHIO ST - TD, KURT COLEMAN 89 YD
INTERCEPTION RETURN (AARON
PETTREY KICK), 11:12. OHIOST
2ND QUARTER: WISCONSIN - TD, CHRIS MARAGOS 9 YD RUN
(PHILIP WELCH KICK), 4:40.
Oct 10 6:48 PM
OHIOST 31 0:00 LEFT, 4TH QTR
Oct 10 6:48 PM
OHIOST 31 12:32 LEFT, 4TH QTR
Wisconsin 13, Ohio State(9) 31 4th - 12:32Oct 10 6:12 PM
OHIOST 28 0:00 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Oct 10 6:05 PM
OHIOST 28 10:06 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Wisconsin 13, Ohio State(9) 28 3rd - 10:06Oct 10 5:44 PM
OHIOST 21 10:06 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Wisconsin 13, Ohio State(9) 21 3rd - 10:06Oct 10 5:39 PM
OHIOST 21 12:08 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Wisconsin 10, Ohio State(9) 21 3rd - 12:08Oct 10 5:32 PM
OHIOST 14 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Oct 10 5:04 PM
OHIOST 14 0:40 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Wisconsin 10, Ohio State(9) 14 2nd - 0:40Oct 10 4:57 PM
OHIOST 7 1:53 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Wisconsin 10, Ohio State(9) 7 2nd - 1:53Oct 10 4:47 PM
OHIOST 7 10:20 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Wisconsin 7, Ohio State(9) 7 2nd - 10:20Oct 10 4:27 PM
OHIOST 7 0:00 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Oct 10 4:14 PM
OHIOST 7 3:48 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Wisconsin 0, Ohio State(9) 7 1st - 3:48Oct 10 4:06 PM
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