CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The win wasn’t quite as easy as the final score suggests, but Ohio State defeated Northwestern 45-24 at Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday night to win their second consecutive Big Ten championship—its third in five seasons.
With Oklahoma’s win in the Big 12 championship earlier in the day, Ohio State’s playoff hopes are dim at best. That brutal blowout loss to Purdue on Oct. 20 has loomed large for the Buckeyes even as they played some of the best football of the season down the stretch.
Ohio State will only have to wait about 12 hours to learn their fate.
The College Football Playoff selection show will air from 12-4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2.
The CFP committee will announce the four-team playoff at 12:30 p.m. ET, the complete top 25 rankings at 2 p.m. and the New Year’s Six matchups at 3 p.m.
LIVE BLOG RECAP:
11:51 PM: THE Ohio State University Buckeyes are YOUR Big Ten champions! We did our part—it’s all up to the committee now.
11:50 PM: Victory formation for Ohio State with just over a minute remaining.
11:48 PM: Two-minute warning. It’s all gravy for the Buckeyes now.
11:43 PM: OOOOOH SNAP! Haskins gets his FIFTH TD of the game! Hits Dobbins on an 18-yard pass. PAT is good and Ohio State leads 45-24 at 4:09 of the 4th.
Wildcat Twitter seems defeated.
11:35 PM: Thorson’s pass to junior wideout Bennett Skowronek is incomplete on 4th-and-7. Northwestern turns it over on downs at 6:41 of the 4th.
11:26 PM: STRIKE! Haskins hits senior wideout Johnnie Dixon for his 4th TD of the game! PAT IS GOOD and Ohio State extends their lead by seven.
Haskins is 30/36 with 443 yards and nine minutes left to play.
11:20 PM: Thorson overthrows junior wideout Charlie Fessler in the end zone on third and goal. Northwestern has to settle for three.
Kuhbander’s 21-yard field goal is good. Score is 31-24 Ohio State.
11:17 PM: Buckeyes' CB Wade flagged for pass interference. Wildcats in the red zone.
11:13 PM: Ohio State’s Blake Haubeil attempts a 27-yard field goal that is BLOCKED by senior defensive lineman Fred Wyatt.
11:07 PM: 3rd quarter ends. 45 down, 15 to go.
11:01 PM: Haskins finds the end zone again, connecting on a 29-yard pass to freshman wideout Chris Olave. PAT from Haubeil is good.
Buckeyes up 31-21 with just over a minute remaining in the 3rd.
11:00 PM: Ohio State mover deeper into Northwestern territory with a 16-yard completion to Victor.
10:51 PM: This is officially a roller coaster ride. Haskins has a fumble forced by sophomore defensive back Travis Whillock and the Wildcats recover at 4:51 of the 3rd.
10:48 PM: Ohio State defense comes up HUGE with a much-needed INT. Thorson pass picked by junior cornerback Damon Arnette.
10:42 PM: Wildcats are swarming right now. Haskins pass to junior wideout Binjimen Victor was close, but not close enough on 3rd and 18. Buckeyes have to punt.
10:37 PM: Northwestern momentum building in the second half with a two-yard touchdown pass from Thorson to junior wideout Cameron Green. Kuhbander’s PAT is good.
Wildcats drive 85 yards for the touchdown to cut the lead to four. Buckeyes up 24-21.
10: 31 PM: Wildcats driving—Bowser gets inside the Ohio State 50 on a 20-yard run.
10: 25 PM: Haskins is brought down by junior defensive lineman Joe Gaziano–his 7th sack of the season. Haskins loses nine yards on the play and the Buckeyes have to punt at 11:27 of the 3rd.
10:16 PM: Wildcats come out of the locker room swinging and scores on the opening drive of the second half. Thorson takes off from the line and runs 18 yards for a touchdown. PAT from Kuhbander is good.
Northwestern cuts the Ohio State lead to 10. Buckeyes up 24-14.
10:12 PM: Second half kickoff!
9:46 PM: Ohio State takes their 17-point lead into the locker room at halftime.
9:41 PM: WOW! Haskins hits McLaurin AGAIN! McLaurin adds six to the Buckeyes' lead on a 42-yard touchdown and Haubeil hits the extra point. Ohio State leads 24-7 with 1:21 to go before the half.
9:25 PM: Ohio State extends their lead to 17-7 on a 42-yard Blake Haubeil field goal.
9:18 PM: OUCH! Thorson gets sacked by the Buckeyes' sophomore defensive end Chase Young and fumbles the ball. It’s Northwestern’s second turnover of the game. Ball recovered by junior safety Jordan Fuller.
9:10 PM: Northwestern returns the favor, senior cornerback Montre Hartage intercepts Haskins at 11:16 of the second. INT is the 10th of Hartage’s career.
9:05 PM: Buckeyes stall Wildcats' momentum, picking off a Clayton Thorson pass in the end zone. Freshman cornerback Shaun Wade gets the INT—his third of the season.
8:50 PM: Ohio State sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins runs two yards for a touchdown! Buckeyes up 14-7 at 3:29 of the first.
8:47 PM: Haskins looks sharp, connecting with McLaurin again for 22 yards.
8:41 PM: Northwestern strikes back. Junior running back John Moten IV runs 77 yards for a touchdown. Game tied 7-7.
8:31 PM: Northwestern goes 3-and-out on their first possession—freshman running back Isaiah Bowser stuffed for no gain on 3rd and 1.
8:24 PM: Dwayne Haskins started 4-for-4 and found wideout Terry McLaurin in the endzone to take a 7-0 lead at 10:31 of the first.
8:16 PM: Ohio State got off to a fast start in the Big Ten championship, scoring on the opening drive after Northwestern won the toss and deferred.
No. 6 Ohio State faces off against No. 21 Northwestern at 8 p.m. tonight with a Big Ten championship on the line.
The Buckeyes come into Lucas Oil Stadium as two-touchdown favorites over the Wildcats.
Ohio State ran over Michigan during Rivalry Week to secure a spot in the championship game, but a loss to Purdue in late October looks likely to cost them a spot in the College Football Playoff, even if they win tonight.
Northwestern comes into Indianapolis 8-4, hoping to make the committee’s decision easier next week with an underdog victory an Ohio State program that has won at least a share of the conference championship eight times since 2000.
The Wildcats last won a shared title in 2000, but haven’t held the title alone since 1995.