“Peyton’s Place”

Intriguing GameBig Ten Championship

(8) Wisconsin Badgers at (1) Ohio State Buckeyes

Wisconsin: I didn’t know what to expect from them heading into their game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. I know a lot of people threw the towel in on them after losing two straight games. But knowing how Paul Chryst, their head coach is, they weren’t going to just give up. There was still a lot to play for in the final game of the regular season. The game in Minnesota was so much more. It was for “Paul Bunyan’s Axe”, the Big Ten West division title and a trip to the Big Ten championship game. Although I had Minnesota winning the game, I was impressed with what I saw from the Wisconsin Badgers. This was the one game where they put it altogether. Although they fell behind early, they never lost confidence. Plus, what won them the game was their experience playing in big games. The Golden Gophers don’t have that. For the second time in three seasons, these Badgers are division champions of the Big Ten West. I remember at the beginning of the year they were looking as if they were going to run away with things because of how quickly they started out the gate. Last week was the best I’ve seen their offense look. Jack Coan was making big throw after big throw. Everyone knew the game plan was to limit Jonathan Taylor. Coan accepted the challenge. The Badgers have one of the best defenses in the Big Ten. They showed that when they kept a solid Minnesota offense to just 17 points. They live to see another week. On Saturday night, they’ll get to face the best team in the conference for the Big Ten title.

Ohio State: Against the Penn State Nittany Lions, they were finally tested as I’ve been saying after the game. Early on against the Michigan Wolverines, it seemed as if they were in for another battle. However, anytime Michigan threw a punch, they fought back. What really turned the game over in their favor was the turnover in the second quarter by Shea Patterson. After that, Ohio State never took their foot off the gas. Justin Fields continues to amaze me. In his first experience with “The Game”, he tore apart one of the best all-around defenses in college football. To the tune of 56 points to be exact. He also threw four touchdown passes. What really caught my eye was the game from running back J.K. Dobbins. I kept saying for this run down the stretch, he would be crucial for this team because he’s a veteran. We often talk about other running backs in the nation, what about this kid? He impacts the game in both aspects as a runner and receiver. He racks up big play after big play, finds the lane with his tremendous field vision to burst through the hole. His elusiveness in the open field is what allows him to make an impact in the passing game. He’s improved his draft stock tremendously this year. The top three running backs in the 2020 NFL Draft (Jonathan Taylor, D’Andre Swift and Travis Etienne) have established themselves. I think J.K. has done enough to enter that conversation. For the third straight year, the Buckeyes will look to capture another conference championship.

Wisconsin Player to Watch: Jake Ferguson– Tight ends are very valuable to an offense. Some have the offense built around them while others do many of the little things. I see him being used as a sixth offensive lineman. His blocking makes all the difference for this Badgers offense. He opens lanes, gives Jack Coan a clean pocket to throw from and does those dirty things as I mentioned up top. Watch Wisconsin use him as that additional lineman to help neutralize Chase Young.

Ohio State Player to Watch: Binjimen Victor– He’s their best deep threat in the receiving core. He’s a big kid standing tall at 6’4 that thrives off one on one situations. Binjimen loves jump ball situations because he uses his height to his advantage. You can just lob it up to him and he’ll go and get it. When I watch him play, I’m reminded of Plaxico Burress.

Final Analysis: Who thought we’d see this matchup again? When they met back in October, the showdown lost some of its luster because Wisconsin was upset by Illinois the week before. It appears the Badgers were going to hang with the Buckeyes early in the first meeting. Then, Ohio State just imposed its will. For Wisconsin, they need to take a page out of Michigan’s book to make Chase Young a non-factor. I also expect to see the quick passing game from Wisconsin to attack the Buckeyes defense. If Jack Coan can be effective, he’ll help Jonathan Taylor. The Buckeyes just need to play how they have all year long. Also understand this will be the first team to see Ohio State twice this season. This should be very interesting.

Prediction: Ohio State 38 Wisconsin 24

2 thoughts on ““Peyton’s Place”

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