By Brandon Enroth
The Wisconsin Badgers lost any hope of making into the College Football Playoff with a loss in the Big 10 Championship Game to Penn State 38-31. The Badgers came out strong in the first quarter and set the tone early by scoring 14 unanswered points thanks to scores by Austin Ramesh and Corey Clement. Penn State responded with a touchdown of their own making the game 14-7, only to turn the ball over on their ensuing offensive possession in which Ryan Connelly returned a fumble recovery for a score. On the next Badger possession, Dare Ogunbowale increased the lead to 28-7 after a short seven-yard scamper.
From the final minutes of the first half and throughout the entire second half, Penn State began to dominate the Badgers on offense and defense making several key adjustments at half-time. Quarterback Trace McSorley threw for a Big 10 Championship record 384 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Badgers defensive backs had a size disadvantage against the much taller wideouts of Penn State. McSorley’s favorite targets were WR Saeed Blacknall and TE Mike Gesicki who racked up over 200 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns during the game between the both of them.
The victory for Penn State throws a wrench into the gears of the selection committee of the College Football Playoff as they will have to make a tough decision who should be the final four teams to play for a chance to win the national title. To make matters even more difficult all of the teams that were within the top four won their respective conference championships. #1 Alabama won yesterday over #15 Florida winning the SEC Championship 57-16, #4 Washington won the Pac 12 Championship on Friday night over #9 Colorado 41-10, and #3 Clemson held on over #19 Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship 42-35. #2 Ohio State and #5 Michigan did not play yesterday since they did not make it into the Big 10 Championship.
The Badgers will play in the Cotton Bowl on January 2 at noon against Western Michigan. UW is #8 and Western Michigan in unbeaten and ranked #15 in the country.