Rowdy Camp Randall To Greet Buckeyes
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Of all the hostile venues for teams to visit in the Big Ten, none has quite the rep of Wisconsin's Camp Randall Stadium, Ohio State's next destination.
The denizens of the 91-year-old structure have been known to pelt opposing players with batteries or even marshmallows stuffed with nickels. So while the band is rocking to the "Bud Song" or the crowd is pogoing to "Jump Around" between the third and fourth quarters, visiting teams become acutely aware of the fans sitting almost on top the field.
And since the Buckeyes and 18th-ranked Badgers don't kick off until after dark Saturday, the fans will have an entire day to get up for the game.
Ohio State safety Anderson Russell said he had been schooled on the Camp Randall fans by former teammate Brandon Mitchell.
"I'm expecting a wild, crazy atmosphere and then on top of that the game's going to be at night and that amplifies it even more," Russell said.
The Buckeyes don't exactly have history on their side when it comes to road games in Madison.
In their last visit to Camp Randall, the Buckeyes lost 17-10 in 2003.
Wisconsin has won its last 16 games at Camp Randall, the second-longest home streak in the nation (Oklahoma, 20). The Badgers have also won 11 consecutive night games and 21 of the last 22. They have also beaten the Buckeyes the last two times both teams were ranked.
When Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was an assistant under Earle Bruce in the early 1980s, he remembers how the whole Camp Randall press box swayed from the rowdy crowd's energy.
None of the current Buckeyes played the last time the Buckeyes visited Madison, so all of the information the players are getting is anecdotal. About all they've heard is that the crowd is louder than a 747 taking off.
The volume might particularly be a problem because Ohio State starts freshmen at quarterback (Terrelle Pryor) and at center (Mike Brewster). The decibel level can create havoc for an offense checking off or into a play.
"Every Thursday, we practice with noise, understanding that if we're playing at home even, we're probably not going to be able to hear and that the focus is going to have to be visual signals," Tressel said.
A visiting team can quiet the crowd if it takes command early. But Wisconsin knows better than most teams what can happen if the momentum swings in a game that seems to be in hand.
The Badgers led 19-0 against Michigan last Saturday, only to have several big second-half plays energize the crowd at The Big House. The Wolverines ran off 27 consecutive points, then hung on for a 27-25 victory.
Turnovers, penalties and mental errors make it especially hard for a team in an unfriendly environment.
"Any mistake you make can get the crowd back in the game and that can help out the home team," Russell said. "So we can't afford any mistakes."
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)