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No. 1 Ohio State kills Selection Sunday suspense by rallying past No. 8 Wisconsin for Big Ten title

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For about 20 minutes on Saturday night, it seemed we were in for an interesting Selection Sunday. No. 8 Wisconsin led No. 1 Ohio State 21-7 and, with the 12-0 Buckeyes bid already secured, it became a discussion point as to whether the winner of an Ohio State-Wisconsin Big Ten Championship could jump a 1-loss Big 12 champion at the 11th hour, a la 2014.

And then the second half kicked off.

Ohio State accepted the ball to open the second half and rolled 75 yards in five plays, as Justin Fields found Chris Olave for a 50-yard gain and tight end Jeremy Ruckert for a 16-yard touchdown. Then the Buckeye defense forced a three-and-out, Wisconsin punter Anthony Lotti dropped the ball, and the College Football Playoff selection committee might as well have shut their television sets off and gone home. Ohio State only turned that dropped punt into a field goal, but the writing was on the wall in Sharpie.

Zach Hintze missed a 48-yard field goal that would’ve stretched the Wisconsin lead to 24-17, KJ Hill (who, earlier on the drive, became Ohio State’s all-time leading pass catcher) put Ohio State on top with a 16-yard grab with 2:23 to go in the third quarter, and then put the game away for good with a 13-yard scoring catch with 12:09 to play.

While time will tell if it’s enough to hold off No. 2 LSU for the right to avoid No. 3 Clemson, Ohio State raced past the Badgers with a 27-0 second half to win its third straight Big Ten championship game, 34-21.

After slow starts each, Fields finished 19-of-31 for 299 yards and three touchdowns, while JK Dobbins carried 33 times for 172 yards and a score. After rushing 13 times for 135 yards and a score in the first half, Jonathan Taylor mustered just 13 yards on seven carries in the second half — including a loss of six on a 4th-and-2 pitch from the Ohio State 32 with 2:39 remaining, as Chase Young swallowed the Wisconsin running back and ended the comeback effort before it truly started.

Though it didn’t end well, Wisconsin did indeed come out swinging.

Paul Chryst‘s team won the toss, elected to receive, hit Quintez Cephus for a 27-yard completion on the first play of the game and scored on a 44-yard Taylor run.

Ohio State moved into Badger territory on its first possession, but Fields was stuffed for no gain on a 4th-and-7 run from the Wisconsin 34. The Buckeyes moved into Wisconsin territory again on their second try, but Fields was sacked on 3rd-and-10 from the Wisconsin 34 and this time Ryan Day punted.

Taking over after the punt at its own 20 with 1:20 to play in the first quarter, Wisconsin pieced together a vintage Wisconsin drive: 14 plays, 80 yards, six and a half minutes and capped by a 6-yard Taylor run, who became the seventh player to top 6,000 yards in the process of putting the Badgers up 14-0 with 10:19 to play in the first half.

Wisconsin again sacked Fields on 2nd-and-10 on the ensuing possession and Ohio State appeared headed for a three-and-out, but Day dialed up a pass from punter Drue Chrisman to Luke Farrell for 21 yards, keeping a drive alive that eventually reached the Badger 4, where Fields fumbled the ball away on a 3rd-and-goal run.

However, Ohio State forced a Wisconsin punt and then finally got on the board when Dobbins leaped into the end zone with 42 seconds left in the half. Wisconsin might’ve been content to take its 14-7 lead to Lucas Oil Stadium’s home locker room, but Taylor popped a 45-yard run to the Ohio State 30 — in the process becoming the first 100-yard rusher against Ohio State all season. Another Taylor run pushed the ball to the 25, and then Jack Coan hit Cephus for a leaping 24-yard grab, and Coan did the rest, putting Wisconsin back up 14 with 10 seconds left before halftime.

Dwayne Haskins leads No. 3 Ohio State past upset effort from Minnesota

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Minnesota (3-3, 0-3 Big Ten) had their chances but the Gophers were unable to pull off a major upset on the road in the Big Ten. No. 3 Ohio State (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) walked away with a hard-fought 30-14 win to remain undefeated and in charge of the path to a Big Ten championship.

Dwayne Haskins, who was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week each of the past two weeks, should be on his way to a third straight weekly award from the Big Ten after passing for 412 yards and three touchdowns in the win. It was the second-straight week Haskins passed for at least 400 yards to help Ohio State pull away from a potential upset bid at home. Minnesota did well in not allowing the Buckeyes to gain an advantage in the running game, but KJ Hill was a receiver the Gophers just had no answer for. Hill caught two of the touchdown passes from Haskins and led all players with 187 receiving yards.

Minnesota freshman running back Mohamed Ibrahim was finding running lanes for much of the afternoon against Ohio State, as he rushed for a career-high 158 yards and two touchdowns, but Minnesota couldn’t find enough in the tank to cash in on a few opportunities. Zack Annexstad was intercepted twice and has now been intercepted seven times in the last three games after starting the season without a pass picked off in the first four games of the year.

Minnesota trailed Ohio State 17-14 at halftime but missed two field goals in the second half. Ohio State scored 10 points following those two missed field goals.

Ohio State will now prepare for a road game next week at Purdue. It will be another primetime game for the Buckeyes away from home, with games against TCU and Penn State also having been played under the lights already this season.

Minnesota will be back on the road again next week when they visit Nebraska.

Ohio State gets replay to go their way but Minnesota hanging around in Columbus

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Minnesota was a heavy underdog this afternoon against Ohio State, but the Gophers are keeping the Buckeyes within reach after one half of play in Columbus. Ohio State leads Minnesota 17-14 at halftime, thanks in part to two touchdowns coming after pivotal instant replay situations to go their way.

One play after it appeared Minnesota may have stopped Ohio State on a fourth and short, there was no replay called by the Big Ten replay official to review the spot where Mike Weber landed on the field. Dwayne Haskins wasted no time capitalizing on the lack of replay and went deep for a touchdown for the Buckeyes.

Minnesota was not rattled, however. The Gophers responded with a nine-play 75-yard touchdown drive, ending with Mohamed Ibrahim punching one in from three yards out to regain the Minnesota lead. It was then Minnesota’s defense with a chance to make a big play, stonewalling Ohio State on 4th and 1 from the Minnesota 17-yard line out of an Ohio State timeout. The Buckeyes’ 11-play drive not cutting into the lead or taking the lead was a nice spark for the Gophers, but a fumble on the next offensive series for Minnesota led to an Ohio State touchdown.

This time, the instant replay booth did get involved to decide if a fumble by receiver Tyler Johnson would be upheld. After review, the ruling was made Johnson did secure the catch and lose control of the football after doing so. Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah recovered the football and Haskins later completed a 36-yard touchdown pass to KJ Hill as the Buckeyes took a 17-14 lead, which held for the remainder of the first half.

Minnesota’s own mistakes have hurt them in this first half, as well as they are playing overall. Two turnovers and three personal foul penalties have not helped the upset bid. However, with one half to play, Minnesota is in position to keep the pressure on Ohio State in the second half if the Buckeyes cannot make enough adjustments. Big plays have favored Ohio State, but will they continue to wear down Minnesota in the second half?

Minnesota Coney Dur was ejected from the game for targeting on Haskins.