Ohio State Rallies for Big Ten Title
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins spent the first half scratching their heads.
Then, Ohio State’s dynamic duo — and teammates — reverted to their previously impressive form.
Fields threw three touchdown passes in the second half, Dobbins ran for 172 yards and a score and No. 2 Ohio State sealed its first playoff trip in three years by shutting out No. 10 Wisconsin in the second half in a 34-21 victory Saturday night in the Big Ten championship game.
The Buckeyes (13-0, No. 1 CFP) claimed their third straight league title and enter the postseason with a 19-game winning streak. The College Football Playoff selection committee will announce the four playoff teams Sunday.
Wisconsin (10-3, No. 8 CFP) has lost seven straight in the series though this one didn’t follow the usual script.
The Badgers, who lost 38-7 at Ohio State in October, scored the first 14 points — Ohio State’s largest deficit of the season. Wisconsin led 21-7 at the half.
But just like the first game, the Buckeyes turned it on in the third quarter.
Jeremy Ruckert started the comeback with a spectacular one-handed catch in the back of the end zone on the fifth play of the third quarter. The 16-yard pass cut the deficit to 21-14.
Four plays later, Wisconsin punter Anthony Lotti dropped the ball and was tackled at the Badgers 16. Ohio State converted that miscue into a 27-yard field goal.
And after Wisconsin missed a 48-yard field goal wide left on its next series, Fields hooked up with K.J. Hill for a 16-yard pass and 24-21 lead with 2:23 left int eh third quarter.
Fields added a 13-yard TD pass to Hill early in the fourth quarter to give the Buckeyes a 31-21 lead and the Buckeyes closed the scoring with a 24-yard field goal.
Fields was 19 of 31 with 299 yards and no interceptions.
Wisconsin’s Jack Coan ran for two touchdowns in the first half and Jonathan Taylor rushed for 148 yards and one touchdown. The Big Ten West champions have lost their last four championship game appearances.
NO. 1 LSU 37. NO. 4 GEORGIA 10
ATLANTA (AP) — Joe Burrow finished off what seems like his Heisman Trophy coronation with another dazzling performance and No. 1 LSU locked up a spot in the College Football Playoff for the first time, dominating No. 4 Georgia in the Southeastern Conference championship.
The Tigers, going for their first national title since 2007 season, will either return to Atlanta or head west to suburban Phoenix for a semifinal game Dec. 28. Their bowl site and opponent will be announced Sunday, but they surely made a persuasive case to be the top overall seed in the four-team field.
NO. 3 CLEMSON 62
NO. 22 VIRGINIA 17
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Trevor Lawrence threw four touchdown passes, three to Tee Higgins, and Clemson beat Virginia to win its fifth consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference title.
NO. 6 OKLAHOMA 30
NO. 8 BAYLOR 23, OT
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Rhamondre Stevenson had a 5-yard touchdown run in overtime and Oklahoma made its bid for another playoff berth with the victory over Baylor in the Big 12 championship game.
A day after No. 5 Utah lost in the Pac-12 championship game, and before No. 4 Georgia lost to No. 1 LSU for the SEC title, the Sooners (12-1, No. 6 CFP) won their fifth consecutive Big 12 title, and 13th overall. Oklahoma went to the playoff three of the past four seasons.
NO. 16 MEMPHIS 29
NO. 21 CINCINNATI 24
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Antonio Gibson caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Brady White with 1:14 left and Memphis beat Cincinnati in the American Athletic Conference championship game.
NO. 19 BOISE STATE 31
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Jaylon Henderson threw for 212 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score to lead No. 19 Boise State to a 31-10 victory over Hawaii in the Mountain West championship game.
NO. 20 APP. STATE 45
BOONE, N.C. (AP) — Darrynton Evans scored three touchdowns and Appalachian State repeated as Sun Belt Conference champion with the victory over Louisiana-Lafayette.
Evans won the game’s MVP for the second straight season.