staff, December 7, 2014

That was resounding! No. 5 Ohio State shut out Wisconsin, 59-0, in the 2014 Big Ten Football Championship Game on Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Buckeyes, the East Division champ, scored on their first possession and never looked back en route to the convincing victory over the Badgers, the winners of the West Division.

Was it enough to make the inaugural College Football Playoff?

That will be decided at 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday.

For what it's worth, all of the top four teams from last week (No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Oregon, No. 3 TCU and No. 4 Florida State) won this week.

But none were as convincing as Ohio State.



Get Tom Dienhart's quarter-by-quarter rapid reactions.

FIRST QUARTER: Ohio State 14, Wisconsin 0

Quick take: This game couldn?t have started any better for Ohio State, which scored on two of its first three drives to jump out to a 14-0 lead. Not having to play from behind, no doubt, will help QB Cardale Jones, who is making his first career start.

Key moment: Trailing 14-0 and needing to show some life, Wisconsin QB Joel Stave had his team marching. On first down from the Wisconsin 47, however, Stave rolled to his right and fired a pass that was picked off by OSU safety Vonn Bell to snuff out the Badgers? third drive of the game.

Key play: Facing a 1st-and-10 from the Wisconsin 39-yard line, Cardale Jones heaved a bomb to the corner of the end zone that Devin Smith cradled after slipping around a defender. It capped a 6-play, 77-yard opening drive that staked the Buckeyes to a 7-0 lead, as Jones hit both of his pass attempts.

Key number: 224, yards for Ohio State. Wisconsin entered the game No. 2 in the nation in total defense, yielding 260.3 ypg.

Key penalty: None.

Key score: On their third drive of the game, the Buckeyes needed one play to score. Sophomore RB Ezekiel Elliott burst up the middle for an 81-yard TD run to stake Ohio State to a 14-0 lead with 4:48 left in the opening stanza.


SECOND QUARTER: Ohio State 38, Wisconsin 0

Quick take: This is morphing into a blowout along the lines of the 2012 Big Ten title game, when Wisconsin drubbed Nebraska, 70-31. After opening with a 14-0 first quarter, Ohio State continued to pour it on in the second by adding 28 points to forge a 38-0 lead that feels insurmountable. This game may be over.

Key moment: Ohio State opened the quarter with 2nd and goal at the Wisconsin 6. It was primed to score a TD, but Ezekiel Elliott dropped a sure scoring pass and the Buckeyes had to settle for a 23-yard field goal to give them a 17-0 lead with 14:14 left.

Key play: On its first possession of the second quarter, Cardale Jones dropped and heaved a pass down the right sideline. His perfectly thrown pass hit Devin Smith in stride for a 44-yard touchdown to give the Buckeyes to a 24-0 lead with 12:26 to go in the quarter.

Key number: 33, yards rushing for Wisconsin. They entered the game No. 2 in the nation with a 334.2 average.

Key penalty: Ohio State WR Corey Smith was ejected for targeting on a peel-back block with 3:53 left in the quarter. It shouldn?t be a big loss for the Buckeyes, who led, 31-0, at the time. OSU still has plenty of options to throw to.

Key score: On 2nd and 18 from the Wisconsin 12, Melvin Gordon was stuffed for an 8-yard loss. Even worse: He fumbled. Joey Bosa picked up the ball at the 4-yard line and rumbled into the end zone for a scoop and score. That gave the Buckeyes a 38-0 lead with 36 seconds left in the half.


THIRD QUARTER: Ohio State 45, Wisconsin 0

Quick take: Ohio State kept the pedal to the metal, adding 7 points to its lead to go ahead, 45-0. The more impressive this win is, the more chance the Buckeyes seemingly will have to show the College Football Playoff committee that it deserves a playoff spot.

Key moment: There weren?t many in a hum-drum quarter. But with Wisconsin still looking for some life and a spark on offense, Joel Stave dropped to pass on 2nd and 10 from the Badger 39 and was intercepted by Doran Grant on the last play of the quarter. Pretty fitting.

Key play: On its first drive of the quarter, Cardale Jones ripped off a 20-yard run on a 2nd and six from the Buckeye 38-yard line. On the next play, Jones chucked a perfect pass to Devin Smith for a 42-yard TD to give Ohio State a 45-0 lead. Smith has four catches for 137 yards (34.3 ypc).

Key number: 6, three-and-outs for Wisconsin. Its longest drive was nine plays for 34 yards on its second possession of the game.

Key penalty: None.

Key score: There was just one-the picturesque 42-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Smith, his third TD grab of the game.


FOURTH QUARTER: Ohio State 59, Wisconsin 0

Quick take: The last 15 minutes were a mere formality, as this game essentially was over at halftime. The Buckeyes certainly looked the part of a playoff team in dominating Wisconsin, 59-0. But was it enough to overtake Florida State or TCU and earn a top four of the College Football Playoff poll? Baylor, No. 6 last week, could even slip into the top four over TCU and OSU.

Key moment: With Wisconsin threatening after driving to the Ohio State 39, Joel Stave chucked a pass toward the end zone. But it hung in the air and was intercepted by Doran Grant, his second pick of the game and Stave?s third interception on the night. OSU?s shutout was preserved.

Key play: Leading 45-0, Ohio State lined up for a 29-yard field goal by Sean Nuernberger. But, it was blocked. Earlier in the drive, OSU tried a trick play with Jalin Marshall taking a hand-off and throwing back to Cardale Jones. The play failed.

Key number: 220, yards rushing for OSU running back Ezekiel Elliott, who averaged 11 yards on 20 carries with two TDs. Wisconsin had allowed just four 100-yard rushers over the last two seasons.

Key penalty: A personal foul/late hit on Badger LB Joe Schobert after a 27-yard run by Bri?onte Dunn moved the ball to the Wisconsin 7 yard line. Two plays later, Curtis Samuel plunged in for a TD from one yard out to make it 59-0 with 2:25 to go.

Key score: On its second drive of the quarter, Buckeye RB Ezekiel Elliott bolted 60 yards from the OSU 28 yard line to the Wisconsin 12 on the first play. On the next play, Curtis Samuel jetted for a TD to make it 52-0 with 11:39 to go.