INDIANAPOLIS — — No. 4 Ohio State stayed in the hunt for a College Football Playoff Top 4 spot with a battling 22-10 victory over No. 14 Northwestern in the 2020 Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis on Saturday.
Record-Break Day For Ohio State RB, Sermon
Transfer running back Trey Sermon carried the Buckeyes (6-0) on his back on his way to setting a school-record for the most rushing yards in a single game.
Ohio State has now won 33 of the last 34 games against Northwestern, including nine straight.
Sermon ran with the ball 29 times for a record 331 yards with two touchdowns as Ohio State fended off a strong challenge from Northwestern to win its 39th Big Ten title in the program history and fourth straight.
Sermon broke the previous Big Ten championship record of 314 by Eddie George against Illinois in 1995, while his total on Saturday was the most rushing yards in any conference championship game. The senior back had 271 rushing yards in the second half alone.
“I’m aware of my ability and I know I’m more than capable of playing my game, which is making guys miss and playing at the second level,” the Big Ten championship game MVP said.
“When I’m in the zone, I feel like the game just really slows down and I can see everything develop, make the right reads and make the right cuts.”
The Oklahoma transfer was totaling 443 yards and 39 carries in the last two outings.
More Record For Ohio State Team
The fourth consecutive Big Ten title is the longest winning streak for Ohio State since the 2005-2009 run, while it’s the team’s 11th conference title since 2000, the second most in Power Five.
The Buckeyes also set a Big Ten record with their 21 straight wins against conference opponents.
The Wildcats (6-2), one of the best pass defense in the country, led 10-6 at halftime, but Sermon ran for a nine-yard score with 2:41 remaining in the third quarter to give Ohio State a 13-10 lead and then capped off the game with a short touchdown run with 4:03 left.
“I’m just hurting for our seniors,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “We didn’t come down here to play hard, we came down here to win, and not to get the job done is bitterly disappointing.”
Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields, who battled with a finger problem in the second half, was 12 of 27 with 114 yards with two interceptions and ran 12 times for 35 yards.
Meanwhile, standout wide receiver Chris Olave, linebacker Baron Browning, defensive end Tyler Friday and punter Drue Chrisman were among the key players missing the game for Ohio StateNorthwestern quarterback Peyton Ramsey went 24 of 37 for 224 yards. He also threw two interceptions and lost a fumble in the second half.
Safety Marcus Hooker also missed out after being listed as a game-time decision.