Big Game: Ohio State, Wisconsin Look For Fresh Starts

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Chris "Beanie" Wells cracks up in the huddle when freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor eagerly tries to describe each play before Ohio State run it.

"It's funny, Terrelle always has to look back and explain the full play," said Wells, who pesters Pryor about the habit. "I just know it comes with being a new guy."

No. 14 Ohio State (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) is having fun again after being crushed by Southern California, with its dynamic backfield of Wells and Pryor providing plenty to get excited about.

"I don't think we're looking forward to redemption, we're just trying to go out there and get better," said Wells, the hobbled running back who'll wear a lineman's shoe to protect his injured foot.

Wells is expected to play against No. 18 Wisconsin (3-1, 0-1) after gaining 169 yards and scoring three times in last year's 38-17 victory. The winner of Saturday night's showdown can keep big bowl hopes afloat and feel much better near the season's halfway point.

Both teams have had embarrassing low points already.

Ohio State needs to win at night on the road to forget 35-3 romp to the Trojans on Sept. 13.

Wisconsin needs to move on after squandering a 19-0 lead in a 27-25 loss at Michigan last Saturday in what was supposed to be the Badgers' coming out party.

Instead of kicking off a BCS push, Wisconsin will again be pushing to change the perception that it's a notch below Ohio State.

"Nobody likes to lose. But it happened and we can learn from it," said running back P.J. Hill, who is averaging 4.9 yards per carry with four touchdowns but missed last year's game with the Buckeyes.

With a 3-2 record, Wisconsin is the only team in the conference to own a winning record against Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel. And the Badgers thrive at night, winning 21 of the last 22, including all six since coach Bret Bielema joined the staff.

"Any time you play the game that you did (at Michigan) and have it end the way they did, they're going to be excited to play anywhere," said Bielema, who has a 16-game home winning streak. "To have it be in Camp Randall, to have it be at night, to be in an environment that they've had a lot of success in, I'm sure makes them all feel better, including the head coach."

But they'll face an evolving Ohio State offense ever since Pryor took over two weeks ago.

Pryor sparked the offense in a 34-21 win against Minnesota by running for a 33-yard TD and throwing for another. He gets his first road test in Ohio State's first trip to Madison since 2003.

"He doesn't play like a freshman at all. Him being a freshman, to me is irrelevant. He's the type of guy who's going to go out there and perform and play hard no matter who we're playing," Wells said. "He's a competitor and I love that in him. You really don't find that too much in QBs. QBs are usually the laid back guys, just nice guys. Terrelle is a guy who's going to get in your face, and I love that about him."

Tressel is confident that Pryor's outward emotion doesn't affect him during the game.

"Performance-wise, he was calm," Tressel said. "I thought at the Coliseum, he had command. Has he been perfect? No. Has he executed everything exactly right? Absolutely not. Every experience is going to be a valuable one for him and this is up another notch."

But the key to this game might be the other quarterback.

Allan Evridge must keep Pryor and Wells off the field and be efficient in the pocket to help open up the running game for Hill.

Against Michigan, Evridge fumbled once and threw two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown after being thrown slightly behind Kyle Jefferson.

"The biggest thing for us right now is executing small things," the senior quarterback said. "They don't seem like much but they add up to the big things in the end."

And Wisconsin hopes that a win over Ohio State will begin building some needed momentum in the Big Ten with Penn State on the schedule next.

"If we take it one game at a time, the picture could be pretty good at the end," Evridge said.