It did not take long for Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields to leave his mark in Columbus. In his first season after transferring from Georgia to Ohio State, Fields has been named the Big Ten’s Offensive Player of the Year. Fields was also named the Big Ten’s Quarterback of the Year and named to the All-Big Ten First Team Offense. He was joined by a number of Buckeyes on the All-Big Ten roster.
Fields is Ohio State’s second striaght winner of the Big Ten’s Offensive Player of the Year Award. Dwayne Haskins won the award last season.
Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman was named the Big Ten’s wide receiver of the year, and Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor took the conference’s running back award. Taylor and Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins shared First Team All-Big Ten honors at running back on both teams assembled by votes of the coaches and the media. Purdue’s Bryce Hopkins was named the Big Ten Tight End of the Year, and Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs was the conference’s Offensive Lineman of the Year.
A total of 10 Ohio State players were awarded All-Big Ten honors on the first, second or third tea, by the coaches and nine received the honors from the media. Joining Fields and Dobbins on the first team was offensive guard Jonah Jackson (coaches) and Wyatt Davis (media). The two players switched spots for the second team on the coaches and media All-Big Ten teams.
The Big Ten announced its defensive and special team honors on Tuesday.
Fields and Dobbins and the rest of No. 1 Ohio State will face Taylor and No. 8 Wisconsin in this weekend’s Big Ten championship game.
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.
Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor is attempting to do something that has only been done twice before by winning the Doak Walker Award in back-to-back seasons. Taylor was one of the 10 semifinalists revealed by the Doak Walker Award on Thursday, putting last year’s top running back one step closer to pulling off the rare feat on the college football award circuit.
Taylor will have some stiff competition for the award this season. Among the other semifinalists for the award include Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard, the nation’s rushing leader with 1,726 yards and 20 rushing touchdowns (Taylor has 1,463 yards and 17 rushing touchdowns in the same number of games as Hubbard).
Darren McFadden of Arkansas is the most recent player to win the Doak Walker Award in back-to-back seasons, doing so in 2006 and 2007. The only other player to win the award in consecutive seasons, and the only other two-time winner of the Doak Walker Award, is Ricky Williams of Texas. Williams won the award in 1997 and 1998. Taylor joined former Wisconsin running backs Melvin Gordon (2014), Montee Ball (2012) and Ron Dayne (1999) to move Wisconsin into first place for most all-time Doak Walker Award winners. Texas also has four awards won, but by three players (Ricky Williams twice, Cedric Benson in 2004 and D’Onta Foreman in 2016).
The other semi-finalists for the Doak Walker Award this year include LeVante Bellamy of Western Michigan (21 touchdowns leads the nation), AJ Dillon of Boston College, JK Dobbins of Ohio State, Clyde Edwards-Helaire of LSU, Travis Etienne of Clemson, Kenneth Gainwell of Memphis, Xavier Jones of SMU, Zack Moss of Utah.
The best running back in the Big Ten doesn’t play in Madison, Wisconsin. He plays in Columbus, Ohio. J.K. Dobbins rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns and caught three passes for 58 yards as No. 3 Ohio State (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) powered past No. 13 Wisconsin (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) to the tune of a 38-7 final score to cement Ohio State’s status as the class of the Big Ten.
Chase Young and the Buckeye defense was dominant as well, limiting Wisconsin’s star running back Jonathan Taylor to just 52 yards on 20 carries, including a long run of 14 yards on the afternoon. On a rainy afternoon in Ohio Stadium, Ohio State took control of the Badgers running game meant Jack Coan had to come up with the big plays to give Wisconsin a chance. Aside from a nice pass early in the second half, those opportunities just never transpired for Coan and the Badgers. Wisconsin was just 4-of-13 on third down and managed just 191 yards of total offense. Ohio State’s offense had a sluggish start against the best defense it has faced this season but ended the day with 432 yards of offense. The Buckeyes rushed for 264 yards as a team, with Master Teague III adding 76 yards to be the game’s second-leading rusher. Wisconsin also had two turnovers to Ohio State’s none.
Justin Fields had two touchdowns thrown and clearly played through some back pain as the game progressed. His 12 completions on 22 attempts for 167 yards weren’t quite what is typically expected of him, although his receivers had plenty of dropped passes as well in the slippery conditions.
Ohio State will get a week off before returning to the field for another game. The Buckeyes will host Maryland on Nov. 9. By then, the College Football Playoff rankings will have been released, giving us a sense of just where Ohio State stands in the eyes of the selection committee. Ohio State should be in a pretty good position, but the fate of the season will likely be determined in the final games of the season for Ohio State. After Maryland and a road game at Rutgers, Ohio State will host Penn State on Nov. 23 before closing out the regular season at Michigan. And then, a potential rematch with Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship? There are still some things to sort out in the Big Ten championship picture, but Ohio State just cleared the toughest hurdle yet for the Buckeyes. Barring a major upset in the next couple of games, all eyes can begin shifting to the last couple of games of the season in Columbus.
As for the Badgers, Wisconsin now falls two games back in the loss column in the Big Ten West Division behind Minnesota (who plays Maryland today, Rutgers next week). But Wisconsin still has a chance to win the Big Ten West. Their next game will be a big one, however. The Badgers also get next week off and will then host No. 20 Iowa on Nov. 9. The Badgers and Hawkeyes are currently tied in the division (Iowa was holding form against Northwestern).
A combination of two of the best defenses in the Big Ten and rain has led to some sloppy conditions for Ohio State and Wisconsin on offense. As such, it has taken a while to see some points being scored, but Ohio State is taking a 10-0 lead into halftime in Columbus. A touchdown pass from Justin Fields to Chris Olave in the final minute of the half gave the Buckeyes the double-digit lead.
Chris Young has been a beast for Ohio State’s defense, as the Badgers have had their work cut out for them. Jonathan Taylor has been limited to 25 rushing yards on 12 carries, and Jack Coan has completed just four passes for 26 yards (on nine attempts). Wisconsin has just 72 yards of offense, while Ohio State has picked up 180 yards. J.K. Dobbins has rushed for 51 yards for the Buckeyes, and he has caught two passes for 37 more yards. Fields has had pressure at times from the Badgers and has completed 8 of 14 passes for 109 yards.
Blake Haubeil finally managed to get some points on the scoreboard midway through the second quarter. With Ohio State’s offense stalling at the Wisconsin 32-yard line, Haubeil converted on a 49-yard field goal to give Ohio State a 3-0 lead.
So it looks like we have a good game on our hands heading to the second half. But will Wisconsin be able to score?