2019 Game Preview: Big Ten Championship Game – Ohio State vs Wisconsin
Ohio State remained perfect for the regular season with a win against Michigan, and after having already clinched the Big Ten East with their win the week before against Penn State. Allthey needed was to await who they would play, which came down to the final matchup with Wisconsin and Minnesota. The Badgers battled through the snow and won 38-17, taking away with them Paul Bunyans axe, and the Big Ten West title.
This will be Ohio State’s third straight appearance and their 5th overall. They have won 3 times, the most of any time since the inception of the Big Ten Championship game in 2011. Wisconsin makes their 6th appearance, their first since 2017, where they lost to the Buckeyes. They have won 2 times, including the first Big Ten Championship game against Michigan State, where Russell Wilson bested Kirk Cousins in what was a rematch game that season. This will be the third time these two teams will face each other for the title, where Ohio State won 59-0 in 2014, which propelled them to win the inaugural College Football Playoff, and 27-21 in 2017.
With a win, Ohio State will most likely earn a spot in the College Football Playoff, and even with a loss, there is a chance they get in. Wisconsin, having 2 losses and all but eliminated from playoff contention, is seeking to be the Big Ten representative in the Rose Bowl. Both teams went undefeated in November, and each have a lot on the line.
Head Coach: Paul Chryst
2019 Record: 10-2 (Big Ten West Champion)
Location: Madison, WI
Conference: Big Ten
Ohio State Preview: Ohio State is hoping to make its third appearance in the College Football playoff holding a perfect regular season record, and a 13-0 record with potentially 5 top 25 wins has a case to make the first place seed. Ohio State has been focused and as dominant as any team has been, and based on metrics alone have been as good as the 2005 Texas Longhorns, and 2001 Miami Hurricanes, both teams who have won a National Championship.
Ryan Day has done a phenomenal job as a first time head coach. He was named Big Ten Coach of the Year by the Media, but the coaches voted for PJ Fleck. His win was the first time an Ohio State coach had won the award since Earle Bruce in 1979. The Buckeyes also swept the offensive and defensive players of the conference in Justin Fields and Chase Young respectively. The Buckeyes also have a good chance to send 2 or three players to the Heisman Ceremony in Fields, Young, and JK Dobbins.
The media and outside perspective is that this team could lose this game and still make the playoff, but everyone in the Woody Hayes facility is focused one winning this one.
Justin Fields has 2654 yards passing with 37 touchdowns and 1 interception. He also has 470 yards rushing with 10 touchdowns on the ground. With his 47 total touchdowns, he is 7 touchdowns away from tying the season record for total touchdowns in a season which was set by Dwayne Haskins last season. He has a chance to break the record with at least two more games on the schedule, hopefully 3. It will be interesting to see how much he will be used in the run game after taking a hit to the knee the previous week.
Jk Dobbins, who was named first team All-Big Ten has 1657 yards rushing on the season and 19 touchdowns. The single season rushing record is 1927 yards, which he could have a chance to break in the next two games. Master Teague was named 3rd team All-Big Ten with 780 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns.
Chris Olave, who was also named 3rd team All-Big Ten has 705 yards receiving so far this season with 11 touchdowns. KJ Hill is now 1 reception away from breaking the record for most receptions in a career, and is second on the team with 486 receiving yards along with 8 touchdowns. Ben Victor 24is third on the team with 29 receptions with 480 yards and 6 touchdowns. Garrett Wilson’s role continues to expand and he could be a difference maker in a playoff run.
Wisconsin Preview: Wisconsin returns to Indianapolis for the 6th time, most of any Big Ten teams since the start of the Big Ten Championship Game. The Badgers have won every game in November after losing two in a row to the Fighting Illini and the Buckeyes, both games on the road. The key to those losses had been a lot of turnovers. If the Badgers can limit their mistakes, they should bring a punchers chance against the Buckeyes for their second game this season.
The Badgers came in at 8th in the latest CFP rankings ahead of Penn State. If they win, they will have locked a showdown in the Rose Bowl with either Utah or Oregon. With a loss, they still might get the invite, or might make a New Years 6 bowl as a at large bid, and Penn State would get the nod as the Big Ten representative.
Jack Coan passed for 2309 yards with 17 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He has been passing at a high percentage of 72 percent, and 7 touchdowns since the loss to the Buckeyes.
Jonathan Taylor won the Big Ten running back of the year, along with being named to first team All-Big Ten. He leads the Big Ten in rushing with 1761 yards on the ground, and 20 touchdowns. He also has been a key in the passing game with 206 yards receiving with 5 touchdowns. Nakia Watson is the back up running back, and has 331 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Quintez Cephus leads the Badgers with 720 yards receiving with 6 touchdowns. Tight End Jake Ferguson is the second leading receiver with 330 yards and 2 touchdowns. AJ Taylor is the next leading receiver with 267 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Buckeye Spotlight: Justin Fields. They last two weeks, Fields has went down with an injury to his knee. The Buckeyes success will depend on his health and safety. Last time, it was Dobbins who controlled the game with a dominating rushing attack. This time, with the dome, and the turf, this will set up perfectly for Fields and the wideouts. Also, this game could help build his Heisman case to try and take some votes away from Joe Burrow.
Badger Spotlight: Jonathan Taylor. This one shouldn’t come as a surprise because this offense is defined by the success of Taylor. In they games the Badgers lost, Taylor was contained, and had to rely on Coan to make plays through the air. Taylor wants to try and make amends for getting contained the first time these two teams played.
Water Cooler Stat of the Game: 104. The difference in yardage between these two premier backs is 104 yards, with Taylor leading the Big Ten. However, the last time these two teams played, Dobbins was the best back on the field. With all due respect to Chuba Hubbard, this game will probably decide the winner of the Doak Walker award.
Prediction: Ignore the cliche phrase that it is hard to beat the same team twice for this one. Ohio State knows it needs to win this game and it will achieve two goals: Win the Big Ten Championship, and make the College Football Playoff. Last time these two teams played in Columbus, it was cold, and rainy, and forced the Buckeyes into a running attack game. Wisconsin went undefeated in November, but they still rely on Jonathan Taylor for the source of their offense. With this game indoors, and the Buckeyes having players healthy, their talent will be showcased in this one. They might need to show some style points to in order to get the top seed for the playoff. The Buckeyes take care of business and win their third straight Big Ten Championship, and 4th overall.
Ohio State 52 – Wisconsin 17