INDIANAPOLIS — There are few things more excruciating in athletics than having to walk off the field with the team that just blew up your national championship hopes celebrating with confetti falling just a few yards away.

That was the punch in the mouth that Wisconsin got after Ohio State gave them a trifecta’s worth of pain in a 27-21 loss in the Big Ten championship game Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Badgers needed 12 games to squeeze into the fourth and final spot for the college football playoffs this past week, but their hopes for a national championship, Big Ten championship and undefeated season ended with a thud.

“It’s a group that’s all in and put it out there, and that’s what makes it hard,’’ coach Paul Chryst said. “A lot of guys are in pain. They battled up until the end. They gave themselves a chance to have a chance.’’

Chryst was asked about what the team had lost beyond the conference championship, but he wasn’t about to go there.

“It’s for the Big Ten championship,’’ he said. “It’s a hard journey just to get here.’’

As for Ohio State’s hopes of cracking the top four in the final rankings, Chryst would only say, “They earned the Big Ten championship.’’

The Badgers was staggered when the Buckeyes scored on an 84-yard touchdown catch by Terry McLaurin, a 57-yard reception by Parris Campbell and a 1-yard run by quarterback J.T. Barrett in the first half. The three possessions lasted just 3 minutes, 9 seconds.

McLaurin badly beat safety Joe Ferguson, defensive backs Nick Nelson and Natrell Jamerson whiffed on tackles on Campbell’s play and the entire Wisconsin line was pushed to the side on a 77-yard run to the 1 by tailback J.K. Dobbins before Barrett’s touchdown.

Did Ohio State have too much speed for the Badgers to handle?

“We knew they had great speed, but it was nothing we weren’t prepared for,’’ linebacker T.K. Edwards said.

Here’s how out of kilter the Badgers were defensively: They led the Big Ten in total defense in allowing 236.9 yards per game, but gave up 309 in the first half and 449 for the game.

The numbers weren’t much better on the other side of the ball.

Quarterback Alex Hornibrook was sacked three times — the team gave up 17 the first 12 games — and he was intercepted twice.

Hornibrook, a left-handed passer, rarely had time to stand in the pocket waiting for his receivers to shake free. He was at his best early when play-action froze the Buckeyes a handful of times such as a 16-yard screen to tailback Jonathan Taylor and a 25-yard screen to fullback Austin Ramesh.

“We weren’t at our best — it wasn’t our best night,” left tackle Michael Deiter said. “We never got into our rhythm. They put us behind and made us throw a lot and their specialty is rushing the passer. We’ve got to protect and we just didn’t win our matchups. They are really good — I’ll give them that — but so are we. We could have been a lot better.’’

What kept Wisconsin in contention were two interceptions and a fumble recovery that gave the offense short fields to score 18 points.

To a point, Hornibrook credited Ohio State’s front seven.

“We had a couple of slow starts and drives, but we should be able to move the ball better than we did,’’ he said. “What hurts the most is getting this far and falling short and seeing them celebrate on the field. This isn’t as much success as we wanted, but we’ve got one more game and it’s going to be a big game. The season has been successful to this point. We’ve definitely got to learn from this. This is a great experience, and you don’t get many of these.’’

Wisconsin’s calling card for more than 20 years has been a relentless running game with power backs, and Taylor had been the leading main in running for 1,806 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Ohio State limited him to 41 yards on 15 carries. His longest run was 7 yards and he stood on the sideline for long stretches during the second half.

“It’s definitely frustrating because you always want to make a big play for your team, and you have to talk about being patient and waiting for those things to come,’’ Taylor said. “They did a lot of different schemes. They are a very big fast, athletic group. They have a special defense out there. They definitely were a step up. You are playing the Buckeyes and you are playing a top team and you have to play you’re A game and give it your best shot.’’

Chryst admitted that the Buckeyes’ speed and size forced the Badgers to rush, resulting in too many empty downs.

“Sometimes it looks like you are on edge and that happens when you play a good defense,’’ he said. “We had some opportunities and you’ve got to hit them and we didn’t. That’s football.’’