INDIANAPOLIS — Well, that was a statement.
Trying to plead its case on the grandest of stages, Ohio State proved something Saturday night.
The Buckeyes routed Wisconsin, 59-0, to claim a Big Ten championship, leaving the College Football Playoff committee with something to think about before Sunday's selection of the four-team playoff.
Ohio State dominated from start to finish. It led 38-0 at halftime after racking up 364 yards of total offense in the first half. The Buckeyes finished the game outgaining the Badgers, 558-258.
Making his first career start, Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones was nearly flawless. He finished the day 12-for-17 passing for 257 yards and three touchdowns. His three touchdown passes went for 39, 44 and 42 yards.
Devin Smith caught all three of those touchdowns for the Buckeyes, finishing with four receptions for 137 yards. Running back Ezekiel Elliott had 20 carries for a Big Ten championship game record 220 yards and a pair of scores as Ohio State dominated in all phases of the game. The Buckeyes even limited Wisconsin's Heisman Trophy candidate Melvin Gordon to just 76 yards on 26 carries.
Saturday's game marked the first time Wisconsin had been shut out since its season-opener in 1997.
Ohio State now waits to see if it will be one of the final four teams selected to play in the first-ever College Football Playoff. The selection show begins 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.
|7.9||AVERAGE PER RUSH||1.9|
|21.4||AVERAGE PER COMPLETION||11.0|
|12||RUSHING 1st DOWNS||6|
|10||PASSING 1st DOWNS||11|
|2||PENALTY 1st DOWNS||1|
|10.0||YARDS PER PLAY||3.2|
- Ohio State wins its first Big Ten Football Championship Game, extending the second-best winning streak in the nation to 11 games, and winning each of its last four matchups with the Badgers.
- This is the first shutout in the history of the Big Ten Football Championship Game.
- Ohio State’s 59-point win is the largest margin of victory in Big Ten Football Championship Game history.
- The Buckeyes put up 558 yards of total offense, more than doubling what Wisconsin’s defense was giving up per game this season (260.3)
- QB Cardale Jones set a new Big Ten Football Championship Game record with a career-long 44-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith in the second quarter. He also tied the Big Ten Football Championship Game record with three touchdown passes, and his 255.8 QB Rating is a new Big Ten Football Championship Game record.
- Running back Ezekiel Elliott set a new career high with 220 yards rushing, establishing a new Big Ten Football Championship Game record. His 81-yard rushing touchdown was the longest rush of his career and is also a Big Ten Football Championship Game record.
- RBs Elliott and Curtis Samuel become the second pair of teammates to each rush for two touchdowns in a Big Ten Football Championship Game, joining Montee Ball and James White of Wisconsin, who accomplished the feat in 2012.
- Wide receiver Devin Smith set a new Big Ten Championship Game record with 137 yards receiving, and tied the Big Ten Football Championship Game record with three receiving touchdowns. He also surpassed Cris Carter for second on Ohio State’s career receiving touchdown list with 29 touchdowns.
- The Buckeyes defense set a new Big Ten Football Championship Game record with four forced turnovers, and tied the Big Ten Football Championship Game record with two interceptions. Cornerback Doran Grant set a new Big Ten Championship Game record with two interceptions returned for 60 yards. Defensive end Joey Bosa added a fumble recovery, while safety Vonn Bell intercepted a pass.
Bosa’s fumble return for a touchdown is the first in the history of the Big Ten Football Championship Game.
Defensive tackle Michael Bennett forced a Big Ten Football Championship Game record two fumbles, and tied the Big Ten Football Championship Game record with four tackles for loss.
Punter Cameron Johnston punted four times for 212 yards, establishing a new Big Ten Football Championship Game record of 53.0 yards per punt. His long of 73 yards is also a Big Ten Football Championship Game record and a new career long.