Sometimes, it just so happens that you dominate a game in almost every statistical category and still (somehow) barely win the game. That’s what happened Saturday night in the Big Ten Championship game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Wisconsin Badgers in Indianapolis. With that being said, the scarlet and gray shot themselves in the foot a number of times. Even though they did that, the Buckeyes beat the Badgers, 27-21, to bring home their second Big Ten championship in four years.
If you looked at the stats and not the score, you probably would have thought that Ohio State dominated Wisconsin, but that’s not what happened whatsoever. The Buckeyes outgained the Badgers, 449-298, but you would have never guessed that if you didn’t watch the game and instead just looked at the final sore. Although they dominated in total yards, the Buckeyes’ three turnovers were all costly. They not only stopped potential scoring drives, but the Badgers turned those three turnovers into 18 points, too. Yes, Wisconsin scored just three points on drives that weren’t started by turnovers.
After both Wisconsin and Ohio State went three-and-out to start the game, the Badgers drove down the field and looked to score the first points of the game. Denzel Ward had other ideas. On first-and-10 on the 18-yard line, Ward picked off Alex Hornibrook, giving the Buckeyes the ball and stopping Wiscosin’s drive inside the red zone.
Just four plays later, J.T. Barrett found Terry McLaurin for an 84-yard touchdown to give Ohio State a 7-0 lead. It was a special moment for the wide out.
Terry McLaurin sure did honor the late Terry Glenn. He finished with two catches for a career-high 92 yards, including an 84-yard touchdown. His previous career high was only 53 yards (September 16, 2017 vs. Army)
— Josh Poloha (@JorshP) December 3, 2017
On their next drive, Barrett threw a pick-six on the second play of the drive, the first of many times that the quarterback shot himself in the foot Saturday night.
The redshirt senior made up for it just four plays later by connecting with Parris Campbell for a 57-yard touchdown. The speedy wide receiver did the majority of the work.
Although he didn’t have that Ezekiel Elliott-esque closing speed to get the touchdown, J.K. Dobbins’ 77-yard run to setup a one-yard touchdown by Barrett was impressive. It’s still amazing to think that he’s only a true freshman.
The Buckeyes then took a 21-10 lead into halftime, but it just didn’t seem like enough. The scarlet and gray dominated the first 30 minutes and should have been up at least 28-0, if not more. While the 11-point lead was good, they wanted more. That was obvious.
In a second half that didn’t feature any more touchdowns for the Buckeyes and just more of Ohio State’s offense shooting themselves in the foot more, the scarlet and gray were able to hold the lead to take home their second Big Ten championship in four years.
The win was capped off by a Damon Webb interception after Wisconsin tried to convert a fourth-and-20 with 1:15 left in the game.
After what happened to Barrett’s knee prior to and during the Michigan game last Saturday, the quarterback had arthroscopic knee surgery on Sunday, leaving his status for the Big Ten title game up in the air. Although he was named the starter prior to the game against the Badgers, many believed that Barrett wouldn’t be able to run as well as he should. They thought wrong.
The redshirt senior led the team with a career-high 19 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown. He also completed 12-of-26 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns to go along with two interceptions. Barrett had just two less carries than both J.K. Dobbins (17) and Mike Weber (four) combined. You’d think that if your quarterback just had knee surgery, that wouldn’t happen.
Ohio State won, but their margin of victory should have been much greater than six. While the Big Ten title is nice, their close game against Wisconsin may not be enough to sway the College Football Playoff committee. We’ll find out at 12 p.m. ET Sunday, when the Final Four and other major bowl games are announced.