The 2019 Big-10 championship game was a wild one. Wisconsin held a 14-0 lead going into the second quarter and led at halftime 21-7. It looked as though Wisconsin had better prepared for this game, and maybe the biggest upset of the season was starting to brew. Ohio State knew this, and coach Ryan Day was going to have none of it.
Day has shown an excellent ability to analyze issues his team is having and provide a game plan to counter it. Day did just that at halftime, as the Buckeyes finished the game scoring 27 unanswered points. While the game seemed competitive through the first half, the outcome should have never been in question. Ohio State was going to win the game; it was just a matter of how long it would take. Wisconsin put up a solid fight, but they just lacked the talent to keep up with one of the three best teams in the country. So, now that the dust has cleared and the Ohio State fans can breathe easy after a stressful first half, what are five things we learned from the Big-10 Championship game?
5. Chase Young is still great; don’t box score scout.
“In the biggest game of the year, Young has disappeared with 0 sacks.” Don’t be this person; it means you either didn’t watch the game, or you don’t understand football. While it’s true Chase Young did not register a sack in the 2019 Big-10 Championship, it’s because Wisconsin committed so many resources to stop just one player. That’s a testament to just how good Young is. Not many players are so good that other teams are forced to do this:
Can’t wait for people to bring up the Big 10 championship as Chase Young “not showing up in a big game” 🙄🙄 pic.twitter.com/76UDmBSvLu
— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) December 8, 2019
Chase Young is still the best prospect in this draft class and the best prospect since at least Myles Garrett. He should be the first non-quarterback selected in the 2020 NFL Draft.
4. J.K. Dobbins vs. Jonathan Taylor was worth the price of admission.
In the 2020 NFL Draft class, I believe there are four running backs that have separated themselves as the elite. Of those four backs, two of them played in the Big-10 Championship game. Jonathan Taylor dominated the first half and finished the game with 148 yards on a very impressive 7.4 yards per carry. The second half, however, was the JK Dobbins show. Dobbins finished the game with 172 yards on 5.2 yards per carry. Both backs showcased their ability to be workhorses, and both should hear their names called in the first two rounds of the upcoming NFL Draft. In the 2019 Big-10 Championship game, the running backs were the stars of the show.
3. Ohio State is beatable.
For a while this season it seemed as though there just was no way to beat Ohio State. I personally believe they’re the best overall team in the country. They possess a top-two offense and a top-two defense, something that can’t be said often. They have an explosive offense that can put points up in a hurry, matched by a dominant defense that attacks the opposing backfield and is lockdown in coverage. However, Wisconsin showed the rest of the country that there is a way to beat them.
Wisconsin showed that the OSU defense is vulnerable against a potent rushing attack and that as long as you take care of the ball, you can move down the field. Stopping their offense is a different task. It all started with Justin Fields. If you can take make him uncomfortable and keep him from hurting you with his legs, you’ll be one step closer to shutting down the offense. Though OSU is too talented to be totally neutralized, they aren’t immortal. It will be interesting to see if Clemson takes a page out of Wisconsin’s 2019 Big-10 Championship game plan.
2. Quintez Cephus can PLAY.
I’ve been a fan of Quintez Cephus for some time now. He’s been the best receiver Wisconsin has had for quite some time, and last week versus Minnesota, he shined. The 6’1 junior is an explosive playmaker who possesses a well-rounded skill set. He has strong hands and a natural ability to get open. Cephus shredded the Buckeyes defense for 122 yards on seven receptions. An unlikely star of the 2019 Big-10 Championship, Cephus shined under the brightest lights. It’s unclear on whether or not he’ll return for his senior season at Wisconsin, but I believe Cephus can be a starter in the NFL.
1. No lead is safe against Ohio State.
Wisconsin was up 14 for the majority of the first half. Yet, for the entirety of the game, I felt comfortable operating under the assumption that Ohio State would win the game. Their second half proved me right, as they scored 27 unanswered points. They put the country on notice, that no team should be content if they hold a lead over the Buckeyes. Ryan Day and company are coming for the W; it’s just a matter of when.