Here are our picks for the Ohio State players deserving recognition after the win vs. Wisconsin. Give us your vote on the Ask The Insiders message board.
Ben Axelrod: To be honest, I haven’t even had time to look at the stat sheet from tonight yet, but my Buckeye Leaf goes to Christian Bryant. And not only as a result of his performance against Wisconsin, but rather his Ohio State career that now appears to be over because of a broken ankle that he suffered at the end of the Buckeyes' win over the Badgers.
A three-year starter, Bryant was never a fan favorite because of some untimely penalties, but he’ll go down as one of the more underrated safeties to ever wear the scarlet and gray. The Cleveland Glenville product was one of the clear-cut leaders on this year’s OSU squad, and judging by the emotional heights which Urban Meyer reached while speaking about Bryant, it’s clear that he is a favorite of his head coach as well.
Bryant’s departure could prove to be costly on an OSU defense that already lacked experience heading into 2013. This will prove to be a pivotal moment in the season one way or another for the Buckeyes, but regardless of how this season plays out, Bryant will be more than missed.
Pat Brennan: In a game in which Ohio State’s offense struggled to find consistency against Wisconsin, receiver Corey Brown was one of few constants. Buckeyes wide receivers made 17 catches in the game, and Brown accounted for the bulk of those, as his eight catches were good for 85 yards and two touchdowns.
Brown’s first touchdown catch — a 40-yard hookup with junior quarterback Braxton Miller that ignited the south end zone — came with less than one minute remaining before halftime. That play helped the Buckeyes grab momentum heading into break. Brown found pay dirt again after the intermission, slipping through a crack in in the Badgers’ defense and connecting with Miller on a 1-yard grab that put OSU up 31-14 and would eventually turn out to be the game-winning score.
The offense was far from perfect, and the same can be said of Brown’s performance against the Badgers, but very little of the offense’s first-half success carried over into final 30 minutes. Brown was reliable and sure-handed throughout.
Ryan Ginn: After weeks of selecting quarterbacks, I’ll start Big Ten play by going out on a limb and giving my Buckeye Leaf to punter Cameron Johnston. The Aussie freshman was called into duty just six times but made each opportunity count by downing all six inside the 20-yard line. He averaged less than 40 yards per punt, but that was more a result of kicking from great field position. He concluded a great night by pinning the Badgers to their own 10-yard line with 1:29 left to play, giving the visitors a nearly impossible task on their final drive.
Marcus Hartman: This was far more than a one-man win – as some have felt over the last couple of years for Ohio State – but it is hard to go any other direction than Braxton Miller. The junior quarterback was far from perfect, but his big-play ability was on display all night as all four Buckeye touchdowns came off his hand and he piled up 281 total yards on the night. Miller's 83 yards rushing were key in helping move the chains on several occasions and a reminder of what sets him apart from other quarterbacks. He'll need to keep refining his game for the Buckeyes to take another step up the national ladder, but tonight he was the man of the match again.
Matthew Hager: I thought about going with Cameron Johnston as my player of the game. He actually did perform very well, as all six of his punts were downed inside the 20. Braxton Miller is the obvious choice, but I’m going to go with the entire Ohio State front seven. Holding Wisconsin’s big, bad rushing attack to 104 yards is impressive. The Badgers entered the game with the third-ranked rushing attack in the nation – averaging 349.8 yards per game. Yes, Melvin Gordon left the game with an injury and Wisconsin passed more than expected, but one can't ignore the final figures.
Jeff Svoboda: This is a hard one but I'm going to go with Corey Brown. Philly had caught eight balls for 85 yards and two touchdowns, including the pivotal play of the game, a 40-yard TD pass from Braxton Miller with a mere second to play in the first half. Brown was Miller's safety blanket throughout the game, keeping the chains moving and allowing the Buckeyes to move the ball even if it was occasionally in a helter-skelter fashion.