COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State is about to find out what life is like on the road. At least the Buckeyes will have quarterback Craig Krenzel to help them navigate it.
After opening with five games at Ohio Stadium, the third-ranked Buckeyes (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) take their high-wire act to Wisconsin (5-1, 2-0, No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. 23 AP) on Saturday. Krenzel will start after being out a month with a hyperextended right (throwing) elbow.
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel doesn't think Krenzel's long layoff will affect the Buckeyes' game plan.
"I asked him if there was a limit as to how much he could throw on
Saturday," Tressel said Tuesday, "and he said the limit was 50. And he said
his limit running was probably 25 carries. So that's 75 plays, so I
don't think there's a limit.
"Now, that will be his decision. If, all of a sudden [his elbow] is not feeling as it should, then we'll make things accordingly. But
we're going into this game expecting everyone to be able to do everything they're capable of, because that's what it will take."
Based on recent history, the Buckeyes -- riding the nation's longest winning streak with 19 in a row -- will have their hands full.
Ohio State has split its last four games on its first road trip
of the season, including a 23-19 escape last year against
Cincinnati when Bearcats receivers dropped two touchdown passes in
the final minute.
"If you can't win on the road in your league, you're not going to win your league," Tressel said. "It's a reality we're going to have to play well on the road."
The visiting team has won the last four meetings between the teams -- the last two games decided by a total of eight points.
"We love going to Camp Randall," Krenzel said. "It's a great atmosphere. I think they have one of the biggest
crowds, one of the best student sections that I've ever seen. Last year we didn't play as well on the road as we did at home. And this
year I don't think we've played as well as we can, period.
"We've had the first five games at home, and we haven't played a game
where we've walked away happy with our play."
A year ago, the Badgers led 14-13 at Camp Randall Stadium going
into the fourth quarter but Ohio State pulled out a 19-14 win on Krenzel's 3-yard TD pass to tight end Ben
Hartsock with 9:59 left. The Buckeyes' defense made it stand up,
one of seven times the Buckeyes won a game by seven points or fewer
during their national-championship run in 2002.
The Buckeyes don't have a back in the top 10 in the Big Ten in rushing, Krenzel isn't among the top 10 in the
11-team league in passing yards per game and Ohio State is last in
the conference in total offense (298 yards a game).
"It doesn't take a real genius to figure out that we're not
doing the things we need to do offensively," Krenzel said.
Information from The Associated Press and Scripps Howard News Service was used in this report.