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Big Ten Championship Game 2019: Preview, Predictions for Ohio State vs. Wisconsin

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 1, 2019

Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins runs for a 33-yard touchdown against Michigan in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Paul Sancya/Associated Press

The Ohio State Buckeyes and Wisconsin Badgers are familiar Big Ten Championship Game foes.

Since the conference realigned to East and West, the two programs have made the most appearances from their respective divisions.

Ohio State won the last two Big Ten titles and conquered Wisconsin in 2014 and 2017. The Badgers are looking for their first victory in four tries and are looking to become the first champion out of the Big Ten West.

Head coach Ryan Day's Buckeyes enter with a College Football Playoff berth on the line, while Wisconsin is potentially playing for its first Rose Bowl berth since 2013.

               

Big Ten Championship Game Info

Date: Saturday, December 7

Start Time: 8 p.m. ET

TV: Fox

           

Preview

Ohio State starred in the enforcer role in the October 26 meeting with Wisconsin.

In the 38-7 win, the Buckeyes produced 431 total yards and held the Badgers to 191 total yards.

Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins accounted for each of the five Ohio State touchdowns, but they were not the most dominant players on the field that day.

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 30: Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes tries to get around the tackle of Khaleke Hudson #7 of the Michigan Wolverines during the second half at Michigan Stadium on November 30, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ohio Stat
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Chase Young earned six tackles, five tackles for loss and four sacks to boost his credentials as a Heisman Trophy finalist.

If the Buckeyes employ a similar strategy, there is a good chance they deliver a knockout blow before the fourth quarter.

But there could be a way Wisconsin limits the defensive end's production. All it has to do is turn to the tape of Saturday's Ohio State-Michigan contest.

Young only showed up in the box score because of a pair of quarterback hurries. Outside of that, he did not have an effect on the game. The Wolverines did not capitalize on minimizing Young's threat and still lost by 29 points.

Of course, Ohio State has plenty of other defensive stars, including defensive back Jeff Okudah and linebackers Malik Harrison and Pete Werner.

If Wisconsin's offensive line takes away Young's impact on a few drives, it could at least buy Jack Coan more time in the pocket.

The junior quarterback enters Indianapolis off a pair of 200-yard performances versus Purdue and Minnesota, and he has only thrown four interceptions.

If Coan is effective and can extend a few drives, he will provide some much-needed support to running back Jonathan Taylor, who was held to a season-low 52 rushing yards at Ohio Stadium.

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 26:  Jonathan Taylor #23 of the Wisconsin Badgers looks for running room as Jordan Fuller #4 of the Ohio State Buckeyes closes in during the second quarter at Ohio Stadium on October 26, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Saba
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

To even have a chance of defeating the top-ranked team, Wisconsin needs more out of Taylor, who has 1,761 rushing yards and averages 6.3 yards per carry.

Even if the junior turns in a career performance, it may not be enough to counter Fields, Dobbins and the Ohio State offense.

The Buckeyes put up at least 30 points in all but one contest. Penn State held them to 28 points, and if a few turnovers had not committed, they were on pace to break 30.

In November, Fields solidified his spot as a Heisman finalist with 13 passing touchdowns and a rushing score.

Dobbins earned 368 rushing yards on 67 carries in the last two weeks versus Penn State and Michigan, and he has a single performance under 80 yards.

The Badgers' top-10 rushing defense was gashed for 264 yards at the end of October, and given how well Dobbins has played, similar totals may pop up Saturday.

If Ohio State wins in controlling fashion, it may secure the top playoff seed. At minimum, the Buckeyes will be in the top two with a victory.

A Wisconsin win complicates the playoff picture and assures it of a New Year's Six position, likely in the Rose Bowl as the Big Ten champion.

               

Prediction

Ohio State 41, Wisconsin 21

Wisconsin was not able to stop Ohio State the first time around, and it will not be able to Saturday.

Fields, Dobbins and the collection of wide receivers, led by Chris Olave and K.J. Hill, have overwhelmed every defense they faced, and they have experience picking apart the Badgers.

Even if Coan plays a perfect game, he may not be able to get his team into the end zone on every drive because of how tough Ohio State's front seven is.

A victory would be the third straight in the Big Ten Championship Game for the Buckeyes, who can then set their sights on winning the national championship.

               

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.