MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Marvin Harrison Jr. continues to make a case that he’s the nation’s top performer.
And he has a little more help now that TreVeyon Henderson has returned to Ohio State’s backfield.
Harrison caught two touchdown passes, Henderson rushed for 162 yards in his first game in over a month and the third-ranked Buckeyes remained unbeaten by defeating Wisconsin 24-10 on Saturday night. Harrison remarked afterward how much of an impact Henderson’s presence has on the offense.
“Big difference,” Harrison said. “He’s the most explosive back in the country. Anytime he touches the ball, he can take it for six.”
Harrison is pretty explosive in his own right.
After Ohio State (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) squandered an early 10-0 lead, Harrison had a tiebreaking 19-yard touchdown reception in the right corner of the end zone with 7:14 left in the third quarter. Harrison also ran a shallow cross and turned it into a 16-yard touchdown in the second period.
Harrison finished with six receptions for 123 yards. This came one week after catching 11 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown in a 20-12 victory over No. 10 Penn State, which was ranked seventh at the time.
“I believe he’s the best football player in the country,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said.
Ohio State beat Wisconsin for a 10th consecutive time and withstood an injury to safety Lathan Ransom, who was carted to the locker room in the second half.
Wisconsin (5-3, 3-2) played the second half without star running back Braelon Allen and wide receiver Chimere Dike due to leg injuries. Allen, who rushed for 50 yards on 10 carries, got hurt while unsuccessfully trying to score on a third-and-goal reception from the 1 in the second-to-last play of the second quarter.
Neither Day nor Wisconsin coach Luke Fickell had updates on their injured players after the game.
While the Badgers were missing Allen, Ohio State welcomed back its standout running back.
Henderson sealed the victory by running through a big hole on the left side, breaking a tackle downfield and delivering a 33-yard touchdown run with 5:15 left. Henderson was playing for the first time since a Sept. 23 victory at Notre Dame after missing three games with an unspecified injury.
“I took a cheap shot at the beginning of the Notre Dame game,” Henderson said. “That’s why I’ve been out. Thank God, he healed me and allowed me to come back out here and give my team everything I’ve got.”
Henderson rushed for 1,248 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2021 but has fought through injuries ever since.
Wisconsin tied the game on Braedyn Locke’s 13-yard touchdown pass to Will Pauling early in the third quarter, but Ohio State pulled ahead for good on its ensuing possession.
“We’ve just got to finish,” Wisconsin safety Hunter Wohler said. “We’ve got to be able to close a game out, and we didn’t make enough plays. When the opportunities came, we made some, but didn’t make enough.”
Locke was 18 of 39 for 165 yards in his second career start.
Ohio State’s Kyle McCord went 17 of 26 for 226 yards, but threw a pair of interceptions to go along with his two touchdown passes to Harrison. McCord hadn’t been picked off since Ohio State’s season opener.
McCord also lost a fumble during a fourth-and-3 conversion attempt from the Wisconsin 33 on the game’s first series.
Ohio State: While Ohio State’s offense got a boost from Henderson’s return, its defense remained as dominant as ever. The Buckeyes haven’t allowed any opponent to score more than 17 points all season. Wisconsin failed to score on a first-half drive that began at the Ohio State 36 and settled for a field goal after having first-and-goal from the 1 late in the second quarter.
Wisconsin: The Badgers are in a four-way tie for first place in the Big Ten West and now wait to see if Allen or Dike will miss extended time. Wisconsin’s offense already is playing without starting quarterback Tanner Mordecai due to a broken hand and running back Chez Mellusi because of a leg injury.
Ohio State figures to stay at No. 3 for another week. No. 1 Georgia beat Florida and No. 2 Michigan was off.
Ohio State: At Rutgers next Saturday.
Wisconsin: At Indiana next Saturday.
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