Quintez Cephus

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No. 6 Oregon, No. 8 Wisconsin trading blows as Granddaddy of Them All hits halftime

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PASADENA, Calif. — The Granddaddy of Them All didn’t wait long to prove once again why the Rose Bowl holds a special place in every college football fan’s heart.

Amid a glittering backdrop on a picture perfect Southern California day, No. 6 Oregon and No. 8 Wisconsin wasted no time trading blows in the 106th edition of the venerable bowl game. The Ducks struck first on the scoreboard but it was the Badgers who wound up with a 17-14 halftime lead in a thrilling start to the traditional Big Ten/Pac-12 battle.

Oregon QB Justin Herbert (81 yards passing) kicked things off by taking the ball off the coin toss and leading an opening drive that resulted in the Eugene native running it in for the first of his two first half touchdowns on the ground. While that was just the start that Mario Cristobal was hoping for in the game, the quick 7-0 lead lasted all of… 12 seconds.

That flip in momentum came courtesy of ace return man Aron Cruickshankwho took the ensuing kickoff 95 yards up the sideline and into the end zone. It was just the third ever kick return score in the game’s history and the second longest play overall. The Badgers didn’t let up from there either as linebacker Jack Sanborn (whose dad played for the Ducks) picked off a pass on the very next snap. UW eventually converted a field goal on the drive to electrify the red-clad faithful who made the trip West.

The Ducks kept things close thanks to their defense though. They forced a Jonathan Taylor (52 yards rushing on 11 carries) fumble and also saw corner Thomas Graham Jr. come down with a pick to setup a second touchdown. Wisconsin eventually got things going in the final few minutes though, using a late pass interference call to pave the way for Quintez Cephus to haul in an 11 yard strike from signal-caller Jack Coan (88 yards passing).

Needless to say, this has been a very fun back-and-forth game between two very physical teams. The last time they met at the 2012 Rose Bowl they staged a classic that came right down to the wire and have so far given every indication that a similar outcome may be in store for the second half — albeit slightly lower scoring than that Chip KellyRussell Wilson shootout.

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.

Wisconsin leading Ohio State in Big Ten title game

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Georgia came out punching in the SEC title game, we saw how it worked out for them. Wisconsin employed a similar strategy, and the Badgers lead Ohio State 21-7 at the break in Indianapolis.

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 Jonathan Taylor run.

Ohio State moved into Badger territory on its first possession, but Justin 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 JK 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.

While Fields closed the half 7-of-14 for 127 yards with 10 rushing yards and a fumble, Coan went 6-of-13 for 100 yards while running for 33 yards and two scores. Taylor rushed 13 times for 135 yards and a touchdown, including two runs of 44 yards or more.

For the half, Ohio State gained 233 yards, moved 50 or more yards on three of its possessions and 41 on the fourth, but still scored only seven points. Having spent less than ten minutes trailing all year, Ohio State has trailed 28:57 and counting tonight.

Ohio State will receive to start the second half.

No. 12 Wisconsin sinks No. 8 Minnesota to clinch Big Ten West

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After giving up an early touchdown on the road with the division on the line, No. 12 Wisconsin (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten) proved to be far too strong for No. 8 Minnesota (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten) and dominated the upstart Gophers to the tune of 38-17. The win by Wisconsin clinched the Big Ten West and will send Wisconsin off to Indianapolis next weekend for a rematch with No. 1 Ohio State.

Leading 10-7 at halftime, Wisconsin took over full control after halftime with a 28-3 advantage. Quintez Cephus had a 47-yard touchdown catch down the middle of the field in the third quarter to open up Wisconsin’s lead to 17-7. After a Minnesota field goal, Wisconsin scored three-straight touchdowns, including two on the ground by Jonathan Taylor, before Minnesota could get back on the board. Taylor caught a touchdown pass in the first half as well to help Wisconsin take a lead into halftime. Taylor rushed for 76 yards and two touchdowns and had two catches for 39 yards and the go-ahead touchdown.

Wisconsin quarterback Jack Coan was solid for the Badgers as well, completing 15 of 22 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns. The defense was also a factor for Wisconsin. After giving up a long touchdown pass from Tanner Morgan to Rashod Bateman early in the game, the Badgers held Minnesota out of the end zone until well into the fourth quarter.

Wisconsin will now prepare for a rematch with the Buckeyes. Ohio State handled the Badgers earlier this season, 38-7 in Columbus. Next week will be the third meeting between Ohio State and Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game. Both of the previous meetings have been own by the Buckeyes. Ohio State shutout Wisconsin 59-0 in 2014 to help secure a spot in the College Football Playoff, which led to a national championship for the Buckeyes. Two years ago, in 2017, Ohio State topped the Badgers, 27-21. Ohio State has won back-to-back Big Ten championships and will look for the first three-peat in the Big Ten championship game era.

Minnesota’s next game is now in question. The gophers are still heading to a bowl game, but which one remains to be seen. A chance to play in a New Years Six bowl game may have just been eliminated, but Minnesota should be getting one of the more attractive non-New Years six bowl destinations the Big Ten has to offer. That may be impacted by what happens to Wisconsin next week as well. Wisconsin may not be a lock for a New Years Six spot if they come up short against Ohio State, although the Badgers heading to the Rose Bowl could help bump Minnesota’s bowl outlook.

Jonathan Taylor gives Wisconsin halftime lead at Minnesota

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Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor caught a pass on a wheel route from Jack Coan and back-peddled his way into the end zone for a go-ahead touchdown late in the second quarter. As a result, Wisconsin owns the halftime lead on Minnesota with the Big Ten West championship on the line. Wisconsin leads Minnesota 10-7 at the break.

The game could not have gotten off to much of a better start for Minnesota. After the defense forced a three-and-out on the game’s opening possession, Tanner Morgan connected with star wide receiver Rashod Bateman for a 51-yard touchdown on the second snap on offense.

Wisconsin’s best scoring opportunity of the half came about midway through the second quarter. But after a pass from Coan was caught by Quintez Cephus just out of the back of the end zone, Wisconsin had to settle for a field goal to get their first points on the scoreboard.

Minnesota has been forced to punt the ball back to the Badgers on three of four possessions since their early touchdown, and the other possession ended with an interception thrown by Morgan shortly after the Minnesota defense recovered a fumble.

Minnesota has down a solid job preventing Taylor from getting much yardage on the ground, with just 397 yards on 10 carries in the first half. But Taylor ha sstill managed to make a big play to help Wisconsin take a lead into halftime.

This is still anyone’s game, but Wisconsin’s defense has been coming up with a strong showing after the early lapse two plays into the game.