Wisconsin falls to Ohio State in Big 10 Championship Game

Indianapolis, I.N. ~ The Wisconsin Badgers suffered their first loss of the 2017 season in a heartbreaking fashion – a 27-21 loss to rival Ohio State in the Big 10 Championship Game.

For the second straight year the Badgers could have won the Big 10 and made it to the College Football Playoff, but both last year and this year, they’ve squandered their chances. Last season Wisconsin allowed Penn State comeback and beat them 38-31.

Wisconsin will miss out on the Playoff once again, as Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Alabama took up the four spots. But the Badgers will get a New Years Six bowl game for the second straight year, the Orange Bowl, against Miami. Last season Wisconsin took on Western Michigan and won in the Cotton Bowl.

The Badgers lost to the Buckeyes for the sixth straight time, and lost in the Big 10 Championship Game for the third straight time since 2014, when Ohio State smothered them 59-0.

Wisconsin’s first ranked defense struggled greatly against the Buckeye offense. The defensive unit that ranked first nationally in total defense, first in rushing defense, and second in points allowed, were burned over and over again by J.T. Barrett and J.K. Dobbins. These stat lines explain the night for the Wisconsin defense – Barrett had two touchdown passes, of 84 and 57 yards, and Dobbins exploded for a 77-yard gain before being tackled at the one-yard line. Barrett then scrambled in for the score.Ohio State went into half time leading by 11, 21-10. Too many big plays hurt the defense.

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RB Jonathan Taylor struggled Saturday night in Indianapolis.

Wisconsin almost came back from a 21-7 deficit but their last went down the drain when Alex Hornibrook threw an interception on 4th and 20 late in the 4th Quarter. The Badgers offense looked sluggish the whole night. True freshman standout running back Jonathan Taylor came into the game averaging 150 yards per game, but he struggled too, only mustering up 41 yards on 15 carries.

On one of the drives in which Wisconsin actually picked up some good yardage, Hornibrook made a critical and costly mistake. The Badgers were in the end zone when Hornibrook tried to hit All-American tight-end Troy Fumagalli down the right sideline, but the ball was underthrown and picked off by Denzel Ward. Shortly after, Barrett made the Badgers pay, and delivered an 84-yard strike to Terry McLauren for a TD.

Wisconsin got some points from there defense in the first half. After a great punt set the Buckeyes up deep in their own territory, J.T. Barrett threw a pick-six to Andrew Van Ginkel to tie the game at 7.

A couple Ohio State drives later Mike Weber made a mistake. Leading 21-7 with 5:33 left in the half, Weber lost the football when Van Ginkel made another key play and stripped it from him. That set the Badgers up in good field position, but they were unable to score a touchdown, but put three more points on the board.

Wisconsin came within three points when Chris James scored on a 1-yard touchdown but were ultimately unable to finish, and the Ohio State Buckeyes are now the Big 10 Champions.

By Jacob Szczap 

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Ohio State celebrates their win over Wisconsin.


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