The #14 Northwestern Wildcats (6-1, 6-1 Big Ten) and #4 Ohio State Buckeyes (5-0, 5-0 Big Ten) square off in the 10th annual Big Ten Championship on Saturday, December 19th. This is the second time in three years these two teams will get together in the title game. Kickoff is set for noon EST inside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. The Buckeyes are a 20.5-point favorite in the title clash, according to oddsmakers.
What to Know – Northwestern Wildcats
Northwestern won their first five games of the season before dropping a road contest at Michigan State. The Wildcats bounced back with a 28-10 victory over in-state rival Illinois and will represent the West in the championship.
Peyton Ramsey was just 7-for-12 for 82 yards and one touchdown in Saturday’s victory over the Fighting Illini. Ramsey has thrown for only 1,218 yards and nine touchdowns this season but has added two rushing touchdowns and 169 yards from scrimmage.
This season the Wildcats have been built on a smash-mouth approach offensively, and it was on full display against Illinois. Northwestern racked up 411 yards on the ground on 58 carries. Evan Hull (13 carries, 149 yards, one touchdown) and Cam Porter (24 carries, 142 yards, two touchdowns) led the Wildcats punishing rushing attack.
Kyric McGowan caught four passes for 72 yards to account for nearly all the receiving targets and yardage for Northwestern. The senior wide receiver is the team’s second-leading receiver with 333 yards on the season.
What to Know – Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State is lucky to find itself in the Big Ten Championship after the league voted to amend the rule put in place that any team with the chance to play in the title game had to play six games this season. Due to cancelations due to the pandemic, the Buckeyes have only been able to play five games this season against conference opponents.
Outside of toss three interceptions against the Indiana Hoosiers, quarterback Justin Fields has looked outstanding under center. Fields has thrown for 1,407 yards and 15 touchdowns in five games, including 199 yards and pair of touchdowns last time out against Michigan State. Fields added 104 yards on the ground and two scores rushing in the rout of the Spartans.
Oklahoma transfer Trey Sermon carried the ball ten times for 112 yards and his first rushing touchdown of the season in his best game in a Buckeye uniform. The team’s leading rusher, Master Teague III, didn’t play against the Spartans, but the talented back has rushed for 426 yards this season and scored six touchdowns.
Chris Olave hauled in ten passes for 139 yards and a score, while Garrett Wilson chipped in three catches, 59 yards, and one touchdown. The two wideouts have been the primary targets for Fields this season, accounting for over 78% of the team’s receiving yards.
The Pick is In
This game is a tough one to pick because the Buckeyes have played just five games and only one, a 42-35 win over Indiana, against a quality opponent. On the other hand, Northwestern has been solid all season behind their rushing attack and excellent defense. This is a large spread, but I do not trust the Northwestern offense to keep up with the Buckeyes. Ohio State is just too talented for this one to be close at the end. Get the line at 20.5 if you can, but I’d be hesitant if it gets to 21 or above.
The Pick: Ohio State -20.5