Ohio St. topples Wisconsin in Big Ten title game
INDIANAPOLIS - J.T. Barrett looked just fine Saturday. Now it is up to college football’s selection committee to decide whether eighth-ranked Ohio State has done enough to earn a playoff bid.
Six days after having surgery on his right knee, Barrett threw two touchdown passes, ran for another and had a crucial fourth-down conversion late in the game to give the Buckeyes a 27-21 victory over previously unbeaten No. 4 Wisconsin in Saturday’s Big Ten championship game.
Ohio State (11-2) claimed its first conference crown since its 2014 national championship season. The loss ended the nation’s longest active winning streak at 13 and probably doomed the playoff hopes of the Badgers (12-1).
“We have two wins over two top-four teams and another one over a team ranked 12th or 13th,” said coach Urban Meyer, who included a victory over Penn State in his rundown. “We’re a conference champion and we deserve a shot.”
The reason for the lobbying? Barrett’s incredibly speedy recovery.
While most athletes need at least two or three weeks to recover from minor knee surgery, Barrett told doctors and coaches he would be OK. And after watching Barrett in pregame warmups with a protective brace around the injured knee, Barrett got the starting nod and played like the three-time conference quarterback of the year.
After running 9 yards to convert a third down on the Buckeyes’ second possession of the game, he found a wide open Terry McLaurin for an 84-yard TD pass to make it 7-0.
Two possessions later, Barrett’s threw a short pass to Parris Campbell, who turned a missed tackle into a 57-yard mistake for another score. Then after a 77-yard run by J.K. Dobbins, Barrett powered in from the 1-yard line to give Ohio State a 21-7 lead early in the second quarter.
“I didn’t have any pain in my knee,” Barrett said.