Ohio State Rallies From 21-7 to Overwhelm Wisconsin

BruceHooley

Ohio State may not have the lung capacity to hold its breath in anticipation of whether the College Football Playoff Committee will leave it atop the rankings as the top seed in the Playoff.

After all, the Buckeyes' lungs are a little stressed after what Wisconsin put them through Saturday night in the Big Ten championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Motivated by its 38-7 loss at OSU in late-October, the Badgers stunned Ohio State with a 14-0 start and a 21-7 halftime lead before the Buckeyes roared back in the second half.

Quarterback Justin Fields' three touchdown passes after the break fueled OSU's comeback to a 34-21 victory and a 13-0 record entering the Playoff.

The Committee's final rankings will be released shortly after noon Sunday, with ample fodder for debate about whether Ohio State should stay No. 1 or get passed by LSU.

The Tigers, led by former Buckeye quarterback Joe Burrow, pounded No. 4 Georgia, 37-10, in the SEC championship game.

That makes LSU just the fourth team in history to post five wins over Associated Press Top 10 teams in a single season, joining 2015 Alabama, 1987 Miami and 1943 Notre Dame.

That counts an opponent's ranking at kickoff, a metric some reject.

Comparing opponents most-recent College Football Playoff ranking, LSU has wins over No. 4 Georgia, No. 9 Florida, No. 11 Auburn and No. 12 Alabama.

Ohio State has two wins over No. 8 Wisconsin, one when the Badgers were ranked No. 13, No. 10 Penn State, No. 14 Michigan and No. 20 Cincinnati.

For a half on Saturday in Indianapolis, it appeared OSU would make it easy for the Committee to put LSU No. 1.

Using two touchdown runs from quarterback Jack Coan and another from Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin moved to a 21-7 hafltime lead.

Taylor, who did not have 100 yards rushing in two career games against OSU, bolted 44 yards for the game's first score and triggered his team's 75-yard, four-play drive in just 32 seconds right before the break with a 45-yard run to start the march.

To that point, the Buckeyes misfired nearly every time they started to gain momentum.

OSU wasted a chance to cut into a 14-0 Wisconsin edge when Fields fumbled inside the 5-yard line midway through the second quarter.

That turnover came at the end of a possession sustained by a daring fake punt from deep inside Ohio State territory.

When the Buckeyes finally did get in the end zone, in the final minute of the half, Wisconsin went the length of the field in just 32 seconds to score a TD that rebuilt its lead to 14 at the break.

J.K. Dobbins carried more than 30 times for a third straight week, gaining 172 yards on 33 attempts, with one touchdown.

Taylor finished with 148 yards on 20 carries.

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