The Ohio State Buckeyes and Wisconsin Badgers will face one another in the 2017 Big Ten Football Championship Game on Saturday night. Here are five things you should know heading into the matchup:
Both Teams Have Had Major Success On The Ground
The Ohio State Buckeyes and Wisconsin Badgers are the top-two teams in the Big Ten in both rushing yardage and average (per rushing attempt).
For the Badgers, a major bulk of the yardage (1,806 yards on the season) and attempts (21.5 per game) comes from Jonathan Taylor—whose 150 rushing yards per game is 50 higher than the the second-place back in the same category within the conference (J.K. Dobbins).
The Buckeyes, on the other hand, have more of a three-headed monster in their backfield. J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber are both high-caliber tailbacks and quarterback J.T. Barrett is an always-dangerous threat with his legs as well.
As if things weren’t interesting enough, the Badgers and Buckeyes also lead the conference in rushing defense.
Ohio State Is Dealing With A Little Extra Drama This Week
After the Buckeyes defeated the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday afternoon, there was plenty of drama to follow leading into Monday.
Second—It appeared defensive coordinator Greg Schiano was going to be named the next head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers until, well, let’s just say chaos on campus and social media ensued.
All this comes on the side while preparing to win the Big Ten Title Game.
Alex Hornibrook Will Make Or Break The Badgers’ College Football Playoff Hopes
If you watch Big Ten football, you know the Badgers are known for running the football. The Badgers are currently undefeated partly due to having a quarterback that’s done enough to get the job done when needed.
Hornibrook leads the Big Ten, averaging 8.8 yards per passing attempt, but interceptions have been a major issue for the Wisconsin signal caller. In his nine starts against conference opponents, Hornibrook has thrown 12 interceptions, including at least one in 8 of the 9 games.
Long story short—Hornibrook’s play on Saturday will say a lot about how good this Badgers team really is.
Ohio State Has Been Getting After The Quarterback Lately
While the Badgers lead the Big Ten in sacks this season, it’s been the Buckeyes who’ve been on a tear in the sacks department the last few weeks.
In “The Game” on Saturday, the Bucks recorded five sacks. Just a couple weeks earlier, Ohio State’s D Line had a bounce-back performance against the Spartans in The Shoe with six sacks. We’ll see if the Buckeyes can continue the hot trend and get plenty of pressure on Hornibrook & Co. when Saturday rolls around.
The Best Offense And Defense In The Conference Will Go Head To Head
The Ohio State Buckeyes are ranked first in both scoring offense and total offense in the Big Ten. The same can be said for the Wisconsin Badgers on the defensive side of the ball.
Something’s gotta give…