The Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the Northwestern Wildcats late Saturday night, earning their second straight Big Ten title–and third in five years–at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins further pushed his name into the minds of Heisman voters with an elite-caliber performance against a lacking Northwestern secondary, setting Big Ten Championship Game records for completions (34), passing yards (499), and touchdowns (5).
Ohio State jumped to an early lead, marching down the field and scoring their first touchdown of the game in less than five minutes.
Northwestern brought the game even when running back John Moten IV found a hole and ran 77 yards for a touchdown.
The Buckeyes went on to score 17 more points before halftime as the Wildcats could not stop the Ohio State passing attack. On the other side of the ball, Northwestern was unable to put together a drive of their own, turning the ball over twice and never reaching Ohio State territory.
Northwestern received the kickoff to start the second half, and the Wildcats opened with 14 unanswered points in back-to-back possessions, shrinking their points deficit to three.
After turnovers on both sides, Ohio State finally answered at the end of the third quarter, when Haskins found Chris Olave for his third passing touchdown of the night.
To begin the fourth quarter, the Wildcats managed to block a 27-yard field goal and put up three points of their own on their next possession, pulling them within seven points.
But Northwestern’s pass defense was no match for Haskins, and he continued to pick apart its secondary for two more touchdowns, giving the Buckeyes a commanding 21-point lead with four minutes left in the game.
Haskins finished the game 34-41 for 499 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception and was named Championship Game MVP.
The win was not enough to move the Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff rankings as Oklahoma moved into the fourth spot with their win over Texas in the Big 12 title game, and Georgia moved to fifth. As such, the repeat Big Ten champs will take on the Pac-12 champion Washington Huskies in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on New Year’s Day.
Northwestern will go to San Diego for the Holiday Bowl on New Year’s Eve to battle the Pac-12 runner-up Utah Utes.
By: HMG Guest Writer, Jack McKessy