Ohio State is taking on the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big 10 Championship on Saturday.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Wisconsin: The Big Ten West Division champions have a lot to prove Saturday. After winning the league’s first two title games, the Badgers have lost each of their last three appearances — twice to the Buckeyes. They also lost 38-7 at Ohio State in October. And while no two-loss team has ever made the College Football Playoff, the selection committee listed Wisconsin as the best two-loss team in the nation. If the Badgers can’t snap a seven-game losing streak to the Buckeyes, the consolation prize still likely would be a New Year’s Day bowl game.
Ohio State: The undefeated Buckeyes control their own fate after clinching the Big Ten East. The selection committee lists Ohio State as its top team, meaning a win would put the league champion back in the playoff for the first time in three years. The Buckeyes also can become the league’s first team to win three straight conference championship games and it’s putting an 18-game winning streak on the line, too. While a loss would likely result in a Rose Bowl trip, anything short of playing for a national championship under first-year coach Ryan Day would be a major disappointment.
Wisconsin’s offensive line vs. Ohio State DE Chase Young. While the Badgers have traditionally had one of the nation’s best offensive lines, Young wreaked havoc in the first meeting this season. He recorded six tackles, four sacks and forced two fumbles. The Buckeyes also held Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor to a season-low 52 yards on 20 carries.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Wisconsin: Taylor. His success has largely driven the Badgers’ season. He has 25 TDs this season — 20 on the ground and five through the air.
Ohio State: QB Justin Fields and RB J.K. Dobbins. Fields and Dobbins have provided the one-two punch on the nation’s top scoring offense. Fields has thrown for 37 TDs and rushed for 10 while Dobbins is rushing for 138.1 yards per game.
FACTS & FIGURES
Ohio State WR K.J. Hill needs four receptions to pass David Boston (191) for most receptions in school history. ... Taylor leads the nation in TDs, is second nationally in yards rushing per game (146.8) and needs 68 yards to reach 6,000 yards in his career. ... Fields needs three TD passes to move past Drew Brees (39) for second on the Big Ten’s single-season chart. ... Wisconsin QB Jack Coan is 11th nationally in passer efficiency (161.7) and third nationally in completion percentage (72.3). ... The Buckeyes need four sacks to break the school’s single season record of 52, set in 2000.