Jonathan Taylor's 44-yard touchdown run was only the second run of 40 or more yards allowed by Ohio State. He added a 45-yarder. Jack Coan and Quintez Cephus did what they could in the passing game and Coan made plays with his feet, but Ohio State's pass rush ramped up as the game went on, leaving UW with only short passes as an option.
Sacks by Keeanu Benton and Matt Henningsen stymied Ohio State's first two drives. Isaiahh Loudermilk forced a Justin Fields fumble and Henningsen recovered inside the 5. Losing Chris Orr and Noah Burks to injury before halftime was felt. UW kept Fields from hurting them with his feet, but Ohio State's fast receivers made big plays.
Zack Baun's sack had Ohio State's third possession stopped but UW was completely fooled by a fake punt that resulted in a 21-yard gain on a pass. Anthony Lotti muffed a punt snap at the worst possible time — at his own 16 after Ohio State had seized the momentum. Zach Hintze's 48-yard field goal try faded left just at the end.
Paul Chryst had the perfect call on a screen pass last week and had another one on Coan's option run for a touchdown Saturday. Chryst's blend of passing and deception had Ohio State's No. 1-ranked defense on its heels during the first half. Jim Leonhard's schemes produced some sacks but the pass coverage couldn't hold up.
No one gave the Badgers a chance, but they played with purpose from the start, taking a 21-7 halftime lead over a team that had barely trailed all season. UW got a good game from Taylor and some big plays from its defense, but it wasn't able to stem the tide once powerful Ohio State got rolling in the second half.
Photos: Wisconsin Badgers can't hang with Ohio State Buckeyes in Big Ten title game
Tom Oates has been a staff member of the Wisconsin State Journal sports department for 30 years and its editorial voice for more than 15, traversing the state and country to bring readers a Madison perspective on the biggest sports stories of the day — from UW athletics to the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks, as well as local teams such as the Mallards and Mustangs.
Tom Oates has been part of the Wisconsin State Journal sports department since 1980 and became its editorial voice in 1996, traversing the state and country to bring readers a Madison perspective on the biggest sports stories of the day.
Playing with confidence and perhaps a collective chip on its shoulder, UW produced the solid, competitive showing it needed. Now it's up to the selection committee to decide if the Badgers' 34-21 loss was good enough to send them to Pasadena.
The Buckeyes were able to weather the storm, creating big plays in the second half to overcome their largest deficit of the season and come away with a 34-21 win over the Badgers at Lucas Oil Stadium to claim their third consecutive Big Ten Conference championship.
Greg Mattison, a Madison East High School graduate in his first year as the co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State, led one of the best defenses in college football this season onto the field against his hometown team Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“He’ll do anything for (his teammates),” Chryst says of UW's leading receiver. "He’s got a spirit about him. He’s got an infectious personality. He will find the good in people. When you get on the field, he loves playing the game and appreciates that opportunity to play the game and I think that’s infectious.”
“(The Buckeyes) really have no weaknesses in their secondary,” UW quarterback Jack Coan says. "All guys that are back there can cover extremely well and have great technique. They’re just great players.”
Bryan Sanborn is a three-star prospect in the 2021 class on both 247sports and Rivals. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound linebacker out of Lake Zurich, Ill., had a handful of Power Five offers, including Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska.
Ayo Adebogun, a three-star outside linebacker prospect out of Homestead High School in Mequon, was a second-team all-state selection by the Wisconsin Associated Press this season, and he is the seventh member of the 2021 class.
The University of Wisconsin football team landed three players on the Associated Press’ All-America teams, which were announced Monday.
Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor ran for 148 yards and a touchdown on Saturday in the Badgers' 34-21 loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Big Ten Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.