lakeelmoleader.com
lakeelmoleader.com December 12, 2017


Big Ten Championship: A lot on the line for both teams

04 December 2017, 01:38 | Marlene Fleming

J.T. Barrett has produced 42 touchdowns this season

J.T. Barrett has produced 42 touchdowns this season

The win, which was buoyed by a slew of explosive plays from the Buckeyes' speedy skill position players, figures to incite tremendous debate among the College Football Playoff selection committee in advance of Sunday's final rankings reveal.

Alabama, on the other hand, is 11-1 and its lone loss was at Auburn, but the Crimson Tide did not win the Southeastern Conference or beat anyone in the top 15 of the most recent CFP poll.

Big Ten championship games traditionally have been high scoring. While a playoff spot is nearly mathematically impossible, a New Year's Day game is on the line.

The Badgers (12-1) will learn their New Year's Six bowl fate later Saturday.

Buckeyes quarterback JT Barret underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee Sunday after getting hurt in Ohio State's win over MI.

Place kicker Sean Nuernberger's 20-yard field goal with 5:20 to play in regulation provided the final margin for the Buckeyes, who held on thanks to a pair of defensive stands down the stretch. Running back Chris James's one-yard plunge cut the lead to five, and after a lengthy delay to fix a patch of ripped turf at the goal line, Hornibrook completed a two-point conversion throw to tight end Troy Fumagalli. Ohio State had little trouble busting through on its way to building a big enough lead to survive Saturday night. Each team traded field goals in the third quarter. Trailing by six points with less than three minutes on the clock, Wisconsin took over the the ball at its own 29-yard line, but failed to score a touchdown to steal the game.

Ohio State led 21-10 at halftime.

Kansas City Chiefs 7, Je
In a major surprise, middle linebacker Darron Lee was listed as one of the Jets' inactives for today's game against the Chiefs. The Jets were forced to kick a field goal from the 7-yard line after Bilal Powell was dropped short of the end zone.

The Badgers' first loss removes them from the College Football Playoff equation, while it pushes the Buckeyes back in.

However, that "2" in the loss column for Ohio State will make the decision very hard, especially since one of those losses was a 55-24 defeat to Iowa a month ago.

Turnovers could also be big and not just because they can produce points.

"I feel it's about the four top teams who are playing their best at this time, and I feel like we're one of them". However, in the end, Ohio State's 31-point loss to Iowa was too much to overcome. The abandonment of the run game combined with some easy missed throws by Barrett, including a tipped-ball interception, allowed the Badgers to claw their way back into the game. Barrett, according to published reports, had arthroscopic surgery last Sunday to clean up a torn meniscus. The senior quarterback completed practice Thursday and was cleared to play against No. 4 Wisconsin after what Meyer called a "very positive" week of treatment.

Redshirt freshman Dwayne Haskins will serve as Barrett's backup. Barrett absorbed his first significant contact while being tackled during a third-down scramble on Ohio State's opening possession but popped right up without any apparent discomfort. The junior wide receiver came open over the middle, getting behind safety Joe Ferguson, and was untouched en route to his sixth scoring reception this season. Naturally, such a stellar record is going to give the Badgers the lead in the Big Ten - West standings.

It was Barrett's 34th touchdown pass this year and came and four plays after Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward intercepted Hornibrook for the game's initial turnover. His Ohio State debut included 181 yards rushing, surpassing Maurice Clarrett's debut record (175 yards) set back in 2002.

Terry McLaurin, an Indianapolis native, found the first cracks with an 84-yard catch-and-run that provided the first hints that team speed would be lopsided.



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