Jonathan Taylor neutralized

Badgers running back Jonathan Taylor is dragged down by Buckeyes defensive lineman Nick Bosa during the first quarter of the Big Ten Conference Championship Game on Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Taylor was held to 41 yards on 15 carries.

M.P. KING, State Journal

Offense: C-

Ohio State was determined to stop Jonathan Taylor, which opened up the pass somewhat for UW. On the first of his two interceptions, Alex Hornibrook has to put that fade where only Troy Fumagalli can catch it. An early 7-0 lead would have quieted the Buckeyes-dominated crowd. UW moved the ball but often couldn't finish off drives.

Defense: C

What a game for Andrew Van Ginkel. His pick-six was an athletic play. He later forced and recovered a fumble. Leon Jacobs' interception gave UW a chance. Missed tackles by Natrell Jamerson and Nick Nelson on a flanker screen allowed one touchdown and a whiff by Conor Sheehy turned J.K. Dobbins free for a 77-yard run.

Special teams: C+

Whether punting away or pinning Ohio State inside the 10, Anthony Lotti might have been UW's best player in the first half. Nick Nelson blocked a field goal at the end of the half. UW has been pedestrian in the return game all season and that didn't change Saturday. Rafael Gaglianone was 2-for-2 on field goal attempts.

Coaching: C

Jim Leonhard's decision to play base defense against the spread backfired when Ohio State isolated a wide receiver on safety Joe Ferguson and he burned Ferguson for an 84-yard touchdown. Paul Chryst had some new plays, including two passes to fullback Austin Ramesh that netted 45 yards and a throwback to Hornibrook.

Overall: C

UW hadn't seen speed like Ohio State's all season and appeared to be hanging on for three quarters. But the gritty Badgers never caved in and had a chance to win in the final quarter. UW won't make the four-team playoff, which is hugely disappointing after a 12-0 regular season. However, it didn't go down without a fight.

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Tom Oates has been part of the Wisconsin State Journal sports department since 1980 and became its editorial voice in 1996, traversing the state and country to bring readers a Madison perspective on the biggest sports stories of the day.