No. 3 Ohio State scores early and often, buries Wisconsin

Gaelen Morse / Getty Images Sport / Getty

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — 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.

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.

“I thought the tempo and the mix of run and pass today is what we’re looking for,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said.

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.

“I'm proud of what Cade is becoming for this offense,” Day said.

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.

“We really didn’t get off to a good start," Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. “We didn’t respond on the field the way we needed to.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Wisconsin: The Badgers (2-2, 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.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

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

INJURIES AND ABSENCES

Wisconsin: Jack Nelson, Wisconsin’s starting left tackle, was unavailable due to an illness.

Ohio State: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who has seen limited time on the field since a hamstring injury in Week 1, was out. Both starting cornerbacks, Denzel Burke and Cam Brown, were unavailable. Burke had his right hand either in a cast or wrapped in warmups. Brown left last week’s game with an unspecified injury.

CUNDIFF HURT AGAIN

Wisconsin TE Clay Cundiff was hurt again, carted off the field with an apparent leg injury late in the first half. Cundiff suffered a season-ending injury on Oct. 30 last season — a dislocated ankle, broken fibula and torn deltoid. He worked his way back and caught both scoring passes in the Week 2 loss to Washington State.

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.

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No. 3 Ohio State scores early and often, buries Wisconsin
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