BIG10 Championship Week Preview: Buckeyes-Wildcats Showdown by Mike Scharf

Championship Week 

After a long, abnormal College Football season, championship week is finally here. With the Big Ten Conference changing the six-game qualifying rule, the Buckeyes are seeking a back-to-back College Football Playoff berth as No. 4 Ohio State faces off with No. 14 Northwestern in the 2020 Big Ten Conference championship game.

Ohio State will be heading into their fourth consecutive Big Ten Championship. The Buckeyes have won three straight conference titles and look to continue that trend come Saturday. Last Season Ohio State, led by Heisman finalist Justin Fields defeated Wisconsin, 34-21, earning an appearance in the College Football Playoffs against the Clemson Tigers.

The Wildcats

Northwestern led by head coach Pat Fitzgerald is making its second appearance ever in the Big Ten title game. The Wildcats’ last conference title win came in 2000.

Offense

The offensive spark for the Wildcats is led by quarterback Peyton Ramsey and running back Drake Anderson.

Ramsey has controlled the offense all year for the 6-1 Wildcats throwing for 1,218 yards, and nine touchdowns.

Anderson led the ground game with 256 yards and two touchdowns averaging 4.1 yards per carry.

Defense

The Wildcats seconday has the second-highest rate of interceptions per game this season in the FBS with 12.

Brandon Joseph, a sophomore defensive back has carried the load for the Wildcat secondary with 23 tackles, and 5 interceptions (tied for 1st in the nation). Joseph and the rest of the secondary will have their hands full Saturday with Chris Olave, and Garrett Wilson.

Starting linebackers, Paddy Fisher and Blake Gallagher are experienced and true leaders within this Wildcat defense. Fisher and Gallagher have a combined 65 total tackles this season while Gallagher leads the team with 9.5 tackles for loss.

The Buckeyes

The Buckeyes didn’t get a chance to play in “The Game,” this past weekend but is hungry for a second straight playoff visit. 

Offense

Justin Fields and this high-powered offense have been clicking on all cylinders this season. Fields has been leading the way in the five games played, throwing for 1,407 yards and 15 touchdowns. 

The dynamic duo of Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson has been on full display all year long. Olave and Wilson have a combined 70 receptions, 1,100 yards, and 10 touchdowns in just five games played and look to continue their dominance Saturday.

The running back duo of Trey Sermon and Master Teague is starting to click as Sermon ran for a season-best 112 yards and one touchdown two weeks ago against the Spartans, and Teague having two 100 plus yard games this season against Penn State and Indiana. 

The offensive line will be at full strength as Josh Myers, Nick Petit-Frere, and Thayer Munford are back in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center this week.

Defense

The Silver Bullets looked dominant two weeks ago against Michigan State as they steam rolled to a 52-12 victory.

The secondary, led by Shaun Wade looks to be more in sync and will come prepared for Saturday’s championship showdown with the Wildcats.

The defensive line led by senior Jonathan Cooper has been showing out the past few weeks in the most important time of the year. The Buckeyes have a team total of 14 sacks on the season, with Tommy Togiai leading the way with three. 

The linebacker trio of Tuf Borland, Baron Browning, and Pete Warner has been a force all season. Borland wasn’t able to participate in the game against the Spartans due to COVID but is looking to cap his Buckeye career off with a Big Ten Championship Saturday afternoon.

PERDICTION 

The Buckeyes will be looking for its 39th Big Ten Championship coming out focused showing the committee they are truly deserving of a playoff spot and one of the top four teams in the country even though they only participated in six games this season. 

Buckeyes: 52-20

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