Published: Mon, December 04, 2017
Sports | By Brandy Patterson

Ohio State outlasts Wisconsin to win Big Ten Championship

Ohio State outlasts Wisconsin to win Big Ten Championship

Ohio State's close win puts them in a tough position for the final spot in the College Football Playoff. Each team traded field goals in the third quarter.

The Buckeyes, ranked No. 8 in last week's College Football Playoff rankings, will await their playoff fate on Sunday. So would Wisconsin scoring 70 against Nebraska in the 2012 Big Ten title game. While a playoff spot is nearly mathematically impossible, a New Year's Day game is on the line.

It was the first loss of the season for Wisconsin (12-1) and nearly certainly knocked the Badgers out of a College Football Playoff spot.

Quarterback J.T. Barrett had recently aggravated a knee injury when a photographer bumped into him on a crowded sideline at MI.

Kickoff is set for 7:17. Then Ohio State's Sean Nuernberger pushed the lead back to 11 points with a 27-yard field goal. Barrett overthrew a wide-open Johnnie Dixon in the end zone. At Wisconsin, Coach Kirk Ferentz's team had 66 yards of offense in a 38-14 loss. His touchdown immediately followed Dobbins's 77-yard run, a sprint that set the Buckeyes single-season freshman rushing record, breaking the mark Maurice Clarett had set in 2002.

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And what about Wisconsin, an undefeated team with a much-questioned schedule which is nearly a touchdown underdog to a two-loss team?

After Rafael Gaglianone's 46-yard field goal cut the Buckeyes' advantage to one score at 21-13, Dobbins broke through the line for another long gain.

It will likely be between the 11-2 Buckeyes and 11-1 Alabama for the playoff's final spot.

However, that "2" in the loss column for Ohio State will make the decision very hard, especially since one of those losses was a 55-24 defeat to Iowa a month ago. In addition, they can point to Penn State previous year and Stanford in 2015. Both teams definitely feel the adrenaline pumping.

So, will unpredictable Ohio State show up tonight in Indianapolis?

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Ohio State faced a big question of its own coming into this game.

The senior aggravated his already sore right knee last week in a 31-20 win against MI when a cameraman tried to squeeze by him on the sideline, an incident that drew condemnation from Coach Urban Meyer during Ohio State's postgame news conference. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last week. The senior quarterback completed practice Thursday and was cleared to play against No. 4 Wisconsin after what Meyer called a "very positive" week of treatment.

If needed, redshirt freshman Dwayne Haskins would start for the Buckeyes as he filled in for Barrett against the Wolverines last week.

Barrett played and, on the Buckeyes' second possession, looked nimble enough scrambling for a first down.

Barrett completed just 12 of his 26 pass attempts for 211 yards, rushing for 60 yards and another score. on 19 attempts six days after undergoing surgery to fix a knee injury suffered in Ohio State's victory over MI. The junior wide receiver came open over the middle, getting behind safety Joe Ferguson, and was untouched en route to his sixth scoring reception this season. The Buckeyes would seal the game on a Damon Webb interception, his fourth of the year, to win the Big Ten title.

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One thing is certain: An Ohio State (10-2) win would throw the playoff debate into chaos. Parris Campbell turned a short catch into a 57-yard touchdown. The score came one play after Barrett escaped a tackle attempt from defensive end Alec James and picked up nine yards on third-and-7.

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