It didn’t look easy but the Ohio State Buckeyes (11-2) fought to win their 36th Big Ten Championship as they defeated the Wisconsin Badgers (12-1) in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Now they must sit and wait while the playoff committee decides if they’re worthy to be apart of the College Football Playoff which will be revealed at noon on Sunday.
J.T. Barrett just six days removed from knee surgery gutted it out with heart and maximum effort to get the conference championship that’s alluded him during his time in Columbus.
Despite two interceptions, Barrett had a great performance with 211 passing yards, two passing touchdowns along with 60 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
He silenced some doubters in the first quarter with an 84 yard pass to Terry McLaurin and a 57 yard catch and run by Parris Campbell that both went for touchdowns.
However, those interceptions including the one returned for a touchdown by Wisconsin linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel helped the Badgers stay in the game till the end.
Barrett had true freshman running back J.K. Dobbins to lean on through the night. Coming into the game, Dobbins needed 48 yards to break Maurice Clarett’s record for rushing yards as a freshman.
Dobbins had 17 carries for 174 yards, bringing his total to 1,364 yards and was named the game’s MVP.
Alex Hornibrook put up a great effort against an elite Buckeyes defense but it ultimately wasn’t enough as he couldn’t get it into the end zone late in the game. The sophomore quarterback finished 19 of 40 for 229 yards and two interceptions.
Freshman running back Jonathan Taylor was limited to 41 yards on 15 carries. He now sits seven yards behind Adrian Peterson’s freshman record which I’m sure he’ll break in the Badgers bowl game.
When it comes to the debate now between Ohio State and Alabama for the final playoff spot, ultimately Ohio State has the better resume.
Alabama, while they went 11-1 in the regular season and there’s no denying that they’re a great team didn’t have a very tough schedule when you look at it.
Their one loss was to Auburn who got throttled by Georgia in the SEC Championship and their biggest wins was against Mississippi State who is 8-4, LSU who is 9-3 but lost to Troy and Fresno State who lost their conference championship on Saturday to an unranked Boise State.
They also didn’t play for a conference championship which the committee uses as part of their criteria.
Ohio State, while they lost to Oklahoma who is going to make the playoff and then got blown out by Iowa have a pretty solid resume to back them up. At the time of the victories, they beat the #2 team in the country in Penn State, the #12 team in the country in Michigan State and beat an undefeated Wisconsin who was #4 in the country coming into tonight.
Adding the win against Wisconsin as well as a conference championship, Ohio State should be the final team into the College Football Playoff. Buckeye Nation will be on pins and needles come Sunday at noon.