Indianapolis has been a familiar spot for the Badgers and it undoubtedly will be the same way for Ohio State in the future. Wisconsin arrived making its third appearance in the Big Ten title in four years. The Buckeyes were looking at capturing what slipped through their fingers in last year’s loss to Michigan State. But, the stakes were higher as a college football playoff spot was also in the cards for OSU.
Now, in its fourth year, Indianapolis has served as the perfect host for the Big Ten title game. The Convention Center swells with activities along with former gridiron stars to meet and greet. Bar stools are at a premium in establishments that surround the stadium. A cocauphany of Big Ten banter floods the streets. It’s a great show for all football fans.
In this edition, the Badgers came in favored partially due to Ohio State’s quarterback troubles. Cardale Jones, third stringer for the Buckeyes, would be making his first start. Wisconsin rode experience and Heisman candidate Melvin Gordon, who led the nation’s most powerful rushing attack. A spot in the playoff for Ohio State seemed a bit of a long shot – to everyone outside of Columbus.
The short drive to Indy had Lucas Oil Stadium jammed with scarlet and gray. Wisconsin always travels well, but their red was outnumbered today. That wouldn’t be the only place the Badgers would find themselves outnumbered. The “I” in Ohio was barely dotted before the Buckeyes shot up 14-0. Wisconsin’s experience quickly became irrelevant, while Ohio State’s inexperienced quarterback emerged as a star. Mistakes by Wisconsin and effortlessness by the Buckeyes resulted in the most lopsided loss in Badger history: 59-0. All were stunned. Buckeye fans beamed and Badger fans gaped. Cheers rang long into the night for OSU fans, while supportive Wisconsinites echoed “We still love you” as their team slowly shuffled off the field.
Wisconsin would go on to suffer the resigning of their head coach, but still defeat Auburn in the Outback Bowl under the guidance of their athletic director and coaching legend, Barry Alvarez. The impressive victory for Ohio State landed them a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff, where they continued to turn heads with their domination of Alabama and Oregon to take the national crown. Ultimately, the Badgers proved that their effort in the Big Ten title game was extremely uncharacteristic, while the Buckeyes’ dominance fell far from being a one hit wonder.