Ohio State beats Northwestern, 45-24, to win third Big Ten title in five years

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Early on, the Big Ten Championship game seemed to be a microcosm of the Ohio State Buckeyes’ 2018 season. The offense played very well while the defense was inconsistent, all while allowing a long touchdown run early in the game (again). Whether it was the fact that the scarlet and gray wore down the Northwestern Wildcats as the game went on or just out-talented them in the second half, the Buckeyes took care of business, beating Northwestern, 45-24, to take home their third Big Ten championship in the last five years.

In all, the Buckeyes did what they had to do, even if it meant struggling at times throughout the game.

It was another game and another record for Dwayne Haskins, who seemed to have not only secured one of three spots in New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony but made quite an argument that he should take home the hardware as well. After completing 34-of-41 passes for 499 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception, the redshirt sophomore smashed yet another record. Haskins had the most passing yards in Big Ten Championship game history, passing Penn State’s Trace McSorley, who threw for 384 yards in 2016. He also became the Big Ten’s single-season record holder for total offense, breaking the previous record set by Michigan’s Denard Robinson (4,272) in 2010.

The gunslinger had one heck of a season, but Haskins saved his best performance for last. He not only made some big-time throws when it mattered most, but his elusiveness in the pocket paired with throwing the ball right where it had to go was second to none. Prior to this season, just one quarterback in Ohio State’s long, storied history had thrown for 400-plus yards (Art Schlichter threw for 458 in 1981). Haskins has now done so five times this season, including in back-to-back-to-back games.

With Haskins throwing for nearly 500 yards, Zone 6 had quite a dominant game as well. In all, 10 players had at least one reception. Johnnie Dixon (seven catches, 129 yards, one touchdown), Parris Campbell (seven catches, 89 yards), Chris Olave (five catches, 79 yards, one touchdown), and Terry McLaurin (three catches, 78 yards, two touchdowns) were the top wideouts Saturday night.

J.K. Dobbins’ success during his first two seasons at Ohio State has somewhat gone unnoticed given how much talent the Buckeyes have had, but with 68 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries against Northwestern, Dobbins is the first Buckeye to rush for 1,000-plus yards as a freshman and as a sophomore.1 He also added four catches for 50 yards and a touchdown as well.

Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, outside of their game, nothing seemed to go right for Ohio State on Saturday. They most likely needed either Clemson or Oklahoma to lose, paired with the scarlet and gray winning their game. Both the Tigers and Sooners won, which means that even though the Buckeyes won the Big Ten championship and are now 12-1 on the season, it’s quite possible that they will be left out of the Playoff, one that will most likely feature Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma. We’ll find out Sunday afternoon.

  1. That includes a freshman record 1,403 rushing yards in 2017. []