Justin Fields, No. 1 Ohio State Come Back, Beat Wisconsin for 2019 Big Ten Title

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 07: Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs with the ball in the BIG Ten Football Championship Game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 07, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Ohio State earned its third straight Big Ten championship and a spot in the College Football Playoff with a 34-21 win over Wisconsin in Saturday's title game.

Wisconsin stunned the Lucas Oil Stadium crowd by jumping out to a 14-0 lead and holding a 14-point advantage going into the half. However, the Buckeyes turned the tables in the second half with 27 straight points to come back and eventually pull away for the win.

Jonathan Taylor carried Wisconsin with 148 rushing yards, but it wasn't enough to stay in front of Justin Fields and his three touchdown passes as the Buckeyes earned their second win of the year against the conference rival. 

While experts will debate the final rankings before Sunday's announcement, Ohio State will undoubtedly be among the top four squads with a chance to bring home the school's first national title since 2014.


Notable Stats

  • Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State: 19-of-31, 299 passing yards, 3 TD
  • J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State: 33 carries, 172 rushing yards, 1 TD
  • K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State: 7 catches, 83 receiving yards, 2 TD
  • Jack Coan, QB, Wisconsin: 17-of-33, 232 passing yards, 2 rushing TD
  • Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin: 20 carries, 148 rushing yards, 1 TD
  • Quintez Cephus, WR, Wisconsin: 7 catches, 122 receiving yards


Justin Fields Leads Second-Half Turnaround for Buckeyes

Ohio State hasn't had many close games this season, but the squad showed Saturday it can beat a good team without playing its best football.

Fields was contained as a runner (one yard on 12 carries), wasn't always sharp throwing the football, and the 14-point halftime deficit was the most adversity he's faced as a starter at the college level.

However, he delivered when it mattered most, throwing three second-half touchdowns:

FOX College Football @CFBONFOX

🤯 COME ONNNN 🤯 @Jeremy_Ruckert1 makes an unbelievable one-handed catch for the @OhioStateFB touchdown! https://t.co/VYAu1f7mJE

FOX College Football @CFBONFOX

It was 21-7 at halftime. @OhioStateFB now leads 24-21 in the 3rd quarter. 🔥 https://t.co/vdoEDPmv9l

FOX College Football @CFBONFOX

Another one for @KayJayHill! @OhioStateFB takes the 31-21 lead in the Big Ten Championship Game. https://t.co/WT7HuAkezB

While he got a lot of help from his teammates (especially on the Jeremy Ruckert catch), Fields continued to make plays to move the football and find the end zone against a tough defense.

He ended up with 172 passing yards in the second half to lead an incredible come-from-behind effort.

It was enough to raise his profile even more after an outstanding season.

Charles Woodson @CharlesWoodson

Justin fields making strong heisman push

Meanwhile, Ryan Day deserves tons of credit for his halftime adjustments that resulted in more offensive success while completely shutting down a Wisconsin offense that was unstoppable early on.

The first-year head coach has still never lost in his current role, and his ability to get his players to consistently produce at an elite level cannot be understated.

Not only did this game show the world Ohio State remains a national title contender, but it will also give everyone on the roster the confidence to win against all odds.


Wisconsin Stumbles After Dominating First Half

The first half went about as well as possible for Wisconsin, which jumped out to a 21-7 lead at intermission.

After totaling just 52 rushing yards last game against Ohio State, Taylor broke out for 135 yards in the first 30 minutes with the types of plays he makes against every other team.

Bleacher Report CFB @BR_CFB

Jonathan Taylor punches OSU in the mouth with the opening drive TD 💪 Badgers strike first in the Big Ten Championship. (via @CFBonFOX) https://t.co/PwNXyhaRHT

Bleacher Report CFB @BR_CFB

Jonathan Taylor is leaving his mark on the Big Ten Championship game. 🔺 13 carries 🔺 135 yards 🔺 1 touchdown …at halftime. Wisconsin up 21-7 on Ohio State. (via @CFBONFOX) https://t.co/OVOKkCH2Vx

Quarterback Jack Coan was also moving the chains with his arm and legs to keep the team in front:

FOX Sports @FOXSports

Captain Jack, Touchdown! @BadgerFootball takes the 14-0 lead against Ohio State. 🙌 https://t.co/0ljbrPAS2o

FOX College Football @CFBONFOX

HOW DID HE CATCH THAT?? @QoDeep_87 got UP for this one! 🤯 https://t.co/rQ3WdthjBi

It was truly a dominant effort to go up by 14 points against the No. 1 team in the country:

Jesse Temple @jessetemple

Wisconsin gained 294 yards of total offense against Ohio State in the first half. The Buckeyes entered the game ranked No. 1 in the FBS in total defense, allowing 232.3 yards per game. Incredible.

On the flip side, the second half went about as poorly as possible for the Badgers.

The offense couldn't get first downs, the defense couldn't get stops, and special teams imploded:

FOX College Football @CFBONFOX

Oh nooo 😅 https://t.co/ewvDj1Abnf

FOX College Football @CFBONFOX

NO GOOD! Ohio State catches a break as the Badgers miss a 48-yard field goal. https://t.co/zMVWraujhJ

Even when the score was close, Wisconsin lost all momentum within the first few minutes of the half and never regained it. It led to a disappointing finish for one of the most talent teams in the country. 


What's Next?

Ohio State will now await the College Football Playoff bracket as its path toward another potential national championship is revealed. Wisconsin still has a chance to go to a prestigious bowl and end the season—and possibly Taylor's career—on a high note.