INDIANAPOLIS — Talk about hanging onto the cliff till the final moment.

This one wasn’t over until Damon Webb was taking a knee with an interception with 1:10 to play, sealing a 27-21 win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game.

It will be remembered for J.T. Barrett starting six days after minor knee surgery and for mostly delivering the goods. It also will be remembered for the Buckeyes having several chances to put it away, including a couple of missed deep throws late in the first half, to keep it from being a nail-biter to the end.

The standouts

J.K. Dobbins rushed for 174 yards on 17 carries, including two long breakaways that were stopped short of the goal line. Barrett was 12-of-26 passing for 211 yards and two touchdowns, but had two interceptions. Jerome Baker led the Buckeyes in tackles, totaling 16, including two for loss.

Unsung workers

Defensive tackles Tracy Sprinkle, Dre’Mont Jones and Robert Landers took turns on the inside fighting through Wisconsin’s formidable line, with linebacker Baker and others getting the dividends. The offensive line generated room, especially in the first half, but the offense bogged down in the second with the exception of a 15-play drive to a fourth-quarter field goal.

Strategically speaking

The Buckeyes ran right at the Badgers defense, No. 1 in the country entering the game, then threw off of that. If Barrett had been sharper late in the first half, there would have been at least one more TD to go on top of a 21-10 lead, because he missed an open K.J. Hill and Johnnie Dixon running through a beleaguered Badgers secondary. Defensively, the aim was to stop Badgers running back Jonathan Taylor before he got going, and with Baker leading the way, Ohio State did that.


Barrett rolling out right didn’t work so well. The first pass he tried doing that was intercepted and returned 9 yards for Wisconsin’s first touchdown by linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel. Another scrambling rollout late in the third went off Marcus Baugh’s hand and was nabbed by Wisconsin’s Leon Jacobs at the Badgers 48, putting in motion a Wisconsin TD drive.

Stat that matters

The Buckeyes gained 238 yards rushing against what was the No.1 rush defense in the nation.

Injury report

Cornerback Kendall Sheffield went down with what looked like a severe leg cramp with 1:28 on a play on which it appeared it committed interference. Wisconsin was called for holding on the play.

By the numbers

2: Touchdown passes from J.T. Barrett

2: Interceptions from Barrett, one of which was returned for a touchdown

Looking forward

Whether a six-point win is enough to convince the College Football Playoff committee to put the Buckeyes in the final four ahead of Alabama will be revealed Sunday. “We deserve a shot,” coach Urban Meyer said afterward.