Ohio State makes its case to the playoff committee

Sheri Evans
December 5, 2017

Turnovers plagued the Ohio State offense, with senior quarterback J.T. Barrett throwing two interceptions.

The win, which was buoyed by a slew of explosive plays from the Buckeyes' speedy skill position players, figures to incite tremendous debate among the College Football Playoff selection committee in advance of Sunday's final rankings reveal.

All told, the Buckeyes outgained the Badgers 449-298 as quarterback Alex Hornibrook (19 for 40, 229 yards) failed to stretch the field while facing constant pressure from the Buckeyes' daunting pass rush.

Ohio State's case presented without the Iowa loss made them an inarguable odd-man-out candidate in this particular hand. The Buckeyes run defense was phenomenal, holding the Badgers to just 60 yards on the ground - their lowest total of the year. Despite averaging over 10 yards per carry, Dobbins would touch the ball just four times in the third quarter.

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Wisconsin, which got on the scoreboard on Andrew Van Ginkel's nine-yard interception for a touchdown in the first quarter, went into intermission down 21-10 after Rafael Gaglianone's 28-yard field goal with 3:42 remaining in the second quarter. His touchdown immediately followed Dobbins's 77-yard run, a sprint that set the Buckeyes single-season freshman rushing record, breaking the mark Maurice Clarett had set in 2002.

We'll find out on Sunday afternoon whether or not the eighth-ranked Buckeyes did enough to climb into the CFP committee's top-four, but with a victory over the No 4 Badgers, Ohio State added to a resume that already includes wins over No. 9 Penn State and No. 16 Michigan State. 2 Oklahoma and a 31-point road loss to Iowa. In addition, they can point to Penn State past year and Stanford in 2015.

Freshman backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins, an All-Met at Bullis High, performed admirably in relief last week but watched from the sideline as Barrett marched onto the field to start the game. While the Badgers enter the weekend having lost four of five, Ohio State has fallen in three of its last four since winning its first four games under new coach Chris Holtmann. Barrett absorbed his first significant contact while being tackled during a third-down scramble on Ohio State's opening possession but popped right up without any apparent discomfort. The junior wide receiver came open over the middle, getting behind safety Joe Ferguson, and was untouched en route to his sixth scoring reception this season. Here is a look at the final Big Ten power rankings and where the teams will be playing during bowl season.

Running back Jonathan Taylor was also bottled up to the tune of 15 carries for 41 yards as the Buckeyes stacked the box and dared Hornibrook to beat them. Despite the Clemson running backs only combining for 69 yards, they contributed four touchdowns in the Tigers' victory.

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