Ohio State No. 4 beat No. 14 Northwestern 22-10 at the 2020 Big Ten Championship on Saturday, clinching their fourth consecutive convention title and preparing for a potential soccer position. It wasn’t a good game for Buckeyes, and it’ll leave things to interpretation, but they nevertheless got the job done when it counts.
Ohio did not record its first landing until late in the third quarter when it advanced 10-13. Before that, he’d spent most of the afternoon on his way. Buckeyes had a great opening campaign but it paused in the red. Justin Fields recorded what appeared to be a touchdown, but was pushed back through a hanging call. That penalty killed the payer and forced Ohio State to compromise a field goal. It was the first time throughout the season that Buckeyes had scored no touchdowns in their inaugural lead.
Northwestern responded with its own landing engine to take a 7-3 lead, and it stuck with that advantage until late in the third quarter. Time was spent between the two teams as both teams failed to take advantage of the opportunities or turn the ball.
The tide turned forever in the third quarter when Ohio just relied on the running back star Trey Sirmon and his ground game. Sermon captured the game, ending Buckeyes’ one-game record from 331-yard lunge combined with two touchdowns, smashing Eddie’s previous high (314 yards, 1995). Compare that to Northwestern, which scored just 329 yards offense as a team. The engagement also broke the Big Ten’s fast-paced record for the game’s title.
Here are four quick treats from Buckeyes’ another Big Ten title.
1. It’s hard to imagine Ohio not being
There will be a lot of political maneuvering from outside the top four – and Jimbo Fisher has already started Made his case – but this win seals it in favor of Buckeyes. You can never be sure what the CFP selection committee will do, but if we look at how things have been handled so far, there is no logical reason to move Buckeyes down. If your argument against them is that they haven’t played enough matches, that has been the case throughout the season, and the committee hasn’t removed them from the top four. If your argument is that their win wasn’t impressive enough, and you felt that victory was the same, well again, that has been the case throughout the year. It looks like the committee was very impressed.
The only plausible scenario that I could envision would involve a committee reversal path would be if Florida beat Alabama in the SEC Championship game. If that happens, it’s hard to imagine Alabama falling from the top four. It’s also hard to imagine disqualifying the SEC champ, but this SEC champ will have two losses, one of which is a bad LSU team. Suddenly, the debate became over whether or not 6-0 was better than 9-2 with their victory over Alabama. Boy, this isn’t going to be a discussion that I don’t want to do a thing.
2. To preach the sermon
You see it at every level of soccer with the callers playing. Passing is exciting, and it’s usually more effective than running the ball, especially when you have a good midfielder. Unfortunately, the card can be very enticing and cause callers to stop playing from thinking clearly. Ryan Day is a coach prone to that. Today was just the latest example of Ohio’s neglect of running when it should have been relied upon.
The sermon ended with 331 yards a lunge and two drops, but it’s not as if all of those yards came in for the second half. He was crushing it in the first half as well, but after he had grabbed a lot of yardage, Buckeyes decided to start throwing the ball, and it just kept hurting them. Whether the receiver doesn’t open, fields hold the ball for too long or just lack of accuracy, the Ohio State pass attack killed the drives.
It wasn’t until Dai decided to keep giving the ball to the sermon until the Ohio State crime became unstoppable. If I’m an Ohio fan, I’m spending the next two weeks hoping the day won’t forget it before the College Football Playoff (or whatever stadium Ohio plays in)
3. You take advantage of the Ohio State quid
Northwestern got into this game as a significant underdog for a reason. It’s the role they were born to play, but the feral cats kept flipping their streaks. Ohio made a lot of fouls in the first half, but while the Buckeyes team is talented enough to beat fouls, Northwestern isn’t. Not against Ohio, however.
The script was written for Northwestern to eliminate shock shock. They lured Buckeyes into this kind of ugly game and kept it close. But every time the Wildcats are given a chance to take control, they get it wrong. They opened the second half with the ball and led 10-6 and headed to the red. Then with a chance to rise 17-6 and put all the pressure on Buckeyes, Peyton Ramsey was picked in the finish area. Ramsey would turn the ball several times, and that ultimately cost the cats the game.
4. An impressive season for the northwest
Each season, we rank Power Five coaches here at CBS Sports, and each season I place Pat Fitzgerald in my top 10. I’m taking some criticism from fans outside of the Big Ten, but it can’t be overestimated how amazing the work Fitzgerald did with this Northwestern show. He helped engineer a one-year transformation that saw Wildcats move from the last place in the West to Indianapolis. Then once they arrived, they had a legitimate opportunity to get rid of the discomfort.
Every time you see Northwestern, you feel that they shouldn’t have a chance to win the game, and yet they are there, and they usually win the game. Northwestern has just lost its sporting director Jim Phillips as ACC Commissioner, but the first thing a Phillips replacement does must be all it takes to make sure Fitzgerald stays in Evanston, Illinois, for the rest of his career. It will make their work a lot easier.