Badgers Fall Short In Big Ten Championship to Ohio State

The Wisconsin Badgers unbeaten season and hopes for a bid to the College Football Playoff came to an end at the hands of Ohio State, 27-21 in the Big Ten Championship Game Saturday night in Indianapolis.

Ohio State struck first, with an 84 yard touchdown pass from J.T. Barrett to Terry McLaurin with 6:31 left in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead. After a Badger punt that pinned Ohio State deep in their own territory, Wisconsin linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel returned a Barrett interception nine yards for a score to tie the game with 2:08 left in the opening quarter.

Big plays then helped the Buckeyes expand their lead into halftime. A 57 yard touchdown pass from Barrett to Parris Campbell made the score 14-7 with 59 seconds left in the first quarter, then a 77 yard run by running back J.K. Dobbins set up a short touchdown run from Barrett at the 11:10 mark of the second quarter to make the score 21-7. Wisconsin would add a field goal by Rafael Gaglianone at the 3:42 mark of the second quarter to make it a 21-10 lead at halftime.

After trading field goals in the third quarter, Wisconsin made it a three-point game at 24-21 on Chris James’ one yard plunge with 12:39 to play in the game. The score by James capped an 11-play, 52 yard drive for Wisconsin. A 20 yard field goal from Sean Nuernberger created what would be the game’s final margin with 5:20 to play in the game. On the Badger’s final drive, Wisconsin would get to the Ohio State 43 yard line before a holding penalty and three incomplete passes set up a 4th & 20 from their own 47. Needing a first down to keep the game alive, Alex Hornibrook was intercepted by Ohio State’s Damon Webb to end the game.

Hornibrook was 19 of 40 for 229 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions in the loss. The Badgers running game was held in check by the Buckeyes offense, totaling just 60 yards on 32 carries. Jonathan Taylor led the pack with 15 carries for 41 yards. Danny Davis led Wisconsin in receiving with three catches for 50 yards.

The 12-1 Badgers will await their bowl game matchup, which will be announced Sunday morning.