INDIANAPOLIS—J.T. Barrett felt and played like his old self Saturday.The only thing that would make the Ohio State quarterback feel better would be making the playoffs.Six days after undergoing surgery on his right knee, Barrett started the game, threw two touchdown passes, ran for another and led No. 8 Ohio State to a 27-21 victory over previously unbeaten No. 3 Wisconsin for the Buckeyes’ first Big Ten title since their 2014 national championship run.
”We have two wins over two top-four team and another one over a team ranked 12th or 13th,” said coach Urban Meyer, who included a win over Penn State in his rundown. ”We’re a conference champion and we deserve a shot.”
All the Buckeyes (11-2, No. 8 CFP) can do now is wait to see if college football’s selection committee agrees.With one final chance to make an impression, Ohio State ended the Badgers’ perfect season and the nation’s longest active winning streak at 13 by winning their fourth in a row.And they did it behind a quarterback many expected to be watching.But unlike most athletes, who need at least two or three weeks to recover from minor knee surgery, Barrett told doctors and coaches he would be OK.After watching Barrett in pregame warmups with a protective brace around the injured knee, Meyer gave his three-time captain the starting nod. Barrett didn’t disappoint.He wound up 12 of 26 for 211 yards and two interceptions and ran 19 times for 60 yards including a crucial fourth-down conversion that set up the last field goal of the game.
”We expected to see the best and he was,” Badgers coach Paul Chryst said of Barrett. ”He’s a heck of a quarterback.”