Northwestern refused to go away in the second half, making this an extremely entertaining and memorable Big Ten Championship. However, OSU’s explosiveness and athleticism were too much to overcome. Here are the takeaways from the second half.
1. Northwestern was decimated by injuries
- Montre Hartage, Flynn Nagel, Riley Lees, Cameron Ruiz and Chad Hanaoka all left due to various injuries
- The losses had a clear impact as Ohio State was able to effortlessly string together long drives on the defensive side with third- and fourth-string cornerbacks against some of the most talented receivers in the country
- On the offensive side, Thorson lacked a security blanket and was forced to take deep shots to Skowronek
- A potential Thorson touchdown pass went right through Charlie Fessler’s hands
2. Ohio State had too much firepower
- After Northwestern clawed its way back in the game, Dwayne Haskins took over
- The quarterback was sharp all game but kicked it into another gear in the fourth quarter, ending with 499 yards and 5 touchdowns, more than enough to earn him MVP honors
- Ohio State’s receivers gashed the Northwestern secondary. Johnny Dixon was the most impressive, with 129 yards and a TD
- Late in the game, the Ohio State defensive line crushed the Northwestern offensive line on their way to 5 sacks
3. Northwestern put up a valiant effort
- As a Northwestern fan, you can’t help but be proud of the effort the ‘Cats put up. Despite being down 24-7 at halftime, Northwestern made this a game until the middle of the 4th quarter
- Highlights included a blocked field goal, a Travis Whillock fumble recovery, and an electric 77-yard touchdown run from John Moten IV
- Looking ahead, Ohio State probably will not make the College Football Playoff, although we find out for certain tomorrow at noon
- Northwestern appears destined for the one of the Outback Bowl, Holiday Bowl or the TaxSlayer Bowl. The Outback Bowl is looking unlikely.