For one half Saturday, Wisconsin seemed poised to upset Ohio State and throw the College Football Playoff into disarray.
Then, it all fell apart for the Badgers.
The undefeated Buckeyes entered halftime trailing by two touchdowns but dominated from that point, clicking on offense and not allowing a point in the second half en route to a 34-21 victory in the Big Ten championship at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
The comeback likely won't be enough to keep Ohio State No. 1 in the College Football Playoff ranking, however, especially considering the beatdown 13-0 LSU put on Georgia in the SEC title game, but it may prevent No. 3 Clemson (13-0) from moving into the top two.
Wisconsin (10-3) opened on the front foot, scoring touchdowns on two of its first three drives to open a 14-0 lead. Ohio State (13-0) got on the board with 42 seconds remaining before halftime, but the Badgers made two huge plays to sneak in another touchdown just before the break, seeming to take back any momentum created by the Buckeyes' touchdown.
Instead, Ohio State scored on its first five possession of the second half. Quarterback Justin Fields finished with 19-for-31 passing for 299 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. All of the scores came after halftime. J.K. Dobbins rushed for 172 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries. The Buckeyes' only punt of the final 30 minutes came with 1:35 remaining and while they were leading by 13 points.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the halves was the play of Ohio State's defense. Wisconsin had touchdown drives of 83, 80 and 75 yards in the first half but couldn't move more than 44 yards on any second-half possession until garbage time.
Despite all that, the ACC champion Tigers, who cruised to a 62-17 win over Virginia on Saturday, will have a serious argument for entering the Playoff ranked above the Buckeyes. The schools will find out their fates at noon ET Sunday during the selection show.
Sporting News provided live score updates and highlights from Ohio State's second-half comeback vs. Wisconsin in the 2019 Big Ten championship game.
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin score
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin scoring plays
12:57 — Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor 44-yard run. XP good.
9:41 — Wisconsin quarterback Jack Coan 14-yard run. XP good.
0:42 — Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins 2-yard run. XP good.
0:10 — Wisconsin quarterback Jack Coan 1-yard run. XP good.
13:21 — Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields 16-yard pass to tight end Jeremy Ruckert. XP good.
10:45 — Ohio State kicker Blake Haubeil 27-yard field goal.
2:23 — Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields 16-yard pass to wide receiver K.J. Hill. XP good.
12:09 — Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields 13-yard pass to wide receiver K.J. Hill. XP good.
4:44 — Ohio State kicker Blake Haubeil 24-yard field goal.
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin live updates, highlights
Final: Ohio State 34, Wisconsin 21
(All times Eastern)
11:48 p.m.: Wisconsin can't get a score in garbage time. The Buckeyes pitch a shutout after halftime and secure the Big Ten championship.
11:34 p.m.: TURNOVER ON DOWNS, Wisconsin. Ohio State should be the Big Ten champions. The Badgers try a pitch to Taylor, but he's swarmed by Chase Young and others in the backfield.
11:33 p.m.: The Badgers will go for it on fourth-and-2 from the 32-yard line, with 2:46 to play.
11:22 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, Ohio State. The Buckeyes can't punch it in from the goal line, failing to quite get the dagger. Still, a 62-yard drive that takes nearly six minutes off the clock. Wisconsin trails by 13 with 4:44 to play. Ohio State 34, Wisconsin 21.
11:05 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Ohio State. Fields and Hill again, this time after Fields leaves the pocket and Hill just finds some space in the end zone. Buckeyes just dominating the second half. Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 21.
11:02 p.m.: After a sack on second down, wide receiver Binjimen Victor makes some magic happen to convert a third-and-17. The Buckeyes are threatening again.
End third quarter: Ohio State 24, Wisconsin 21
10:49 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Ohio State. Fields hits K.J. Hill over the middle, and Ohio State's all-time receptions leader (as of a few plays prior) scampers into the end zone for a 16-yard score. The Buckeyes have come roaring back in the third quarter and take their first lead of the night. Ohio State 24, Wisconsin 21.
10:42 p.m.: MISSED FIELD GOAL, Wisconsin. The Badgers got to the 20-yard line, but a holding penalty and a sack push them back. Then, Zach Hintze pulls a 48-yarder. The lead remains 21-17.
NO GOOD!— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) December 8, 2019
Ohio State catches a break as the Badgers miss a 48-yard field goal. pic.twitter.com/zMVWraujhJ
10:28 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, Ohio State. Fields has a wide open man on third down, but he leads him too far. Wisconsin gets a stop after Lotti's mishap. Wisconsin 21, Ohio State 17.
10:27 p.m.: FUMBLE, Wisconsin. An absolute disaster for the Badgers. Deep in his own territory, punter Anthony Lotti cleanly catches the snap, but then it slips out of his hands. Ohio State takes over at the 16-yard line.
10:20 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Ohio State. A beauty of a one-handed catch from tight end Jeremy Ruckert saves what would've been a bad overthrow from Fields. Wisconsin 21, Ohio State 14.
10:19 p.m.: Fields and wide receiver Olave improvise a bit on third-and-7 for a huge 50-yard play.
10:17 p.m.: Ohio State begins the second half with the ball on the 25.
Halftime: Wisconsin 21, Ohio State 7
9:48 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Wisconsin . Coan pushes in from inside the 1-yard line. What an answer from the Badgers. Wisconsin 21, Ohio State 14.
9:46 p.m.: And now an insane catch from Quintez Cephus puts Wisconsin on the doorstep.
9:43 p.m.: What a response from Jonathan Taylor! The senior takes the first play of the drive 45 yards, and Wisconsin is in business again with 24 seconds to go until halftime.
9:40 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Ohio State. Well, the Buckeyes weren't going to go quietly. They travel 71 yards on 10 plays, with Dobbins punching it in from a couple of yards out just before the half. Wisconsin 14, Ohio State 7.
9:23 p.m.: FUMBLE, Ohio State. Oh boy. The Buckeyes go on a nice drive, but Fields coughs it up at the 4-yard line. Wisconsin recovers. Those are the types of plays that lead to upsets.
9:16 p.m.: Ohio State uses a fake punt to convert a fourth-and-9 from its own 26-yard line. Big call from Ryan Day, big conversion from punter Drue Chrisman and tight end Luke Farrell.
9:08 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Wisconsin. Coan keeps it on the read-option and is in, untouched from 14 yards out. Buckle up. Wisconsin 14, Ohio State 0.
9:07 p.m.: This time it's the Badgers' turn to barely get a conversion on fourth down.
9:02 p.m.: Coan is looking very good to start the game.
End first quarter: Wisconsin 7, Ohio State 0
8:52 p.m.: Fields goes down in the backfield again, pushing the Buckeyes out of field goal range. Wisconsin bearing its teeth on defense.
8:50 p.m.: The Badgers nearly force another turnover on downs, but J.K. Dobbins gets just enough on a fourth-and-1. Earlier in the drive, Austin Mack made this great grab.
8:43 p.m.: Wisconsin stalls shortly after entering Buckeye territory. Ohio State will take over inside its own 10.
8:33 p.m.: TUNOVER ON DOWNS, Ohio State. The Badgers are getting after Justin Fields. They sack him on second down, force him to run for it on third-and-long, then stop him at the line of scrimmage when he scrambles again on fourth-and-7. Huge start for the underdogs.
8:23 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Wisconsin. Jonathan Taylor, 44 yards. Coan made several nice plays to set it up, and the Badgers make a statement early. Wisconsin 7, Ohio State 0.
8:21 p.m.: Badgers quarterback Jack Coan with a huge gain on the first play.
8:20 p.m.: Wisconsin will begin on its own 17 after an unfortunate return.