INDIANAPOLIS, IN – With their top wide receiver in Chris Olave out, and 22 players not playing due to COVID-19, running back Trey Sermon helped the fourth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes pull away from Northwestern late, 22-10.
Sermon, a graduate transfer from Oklahoma, rushed for a school-record 331 yards on 29 carries and two touchdowns, as an inspired Wildcats defense all but shut down project NFL Draft top-five pick in QB Justin Fields to the tune of 127 yards passing and two interceptions.
When you think of Ohio State, not many schools can touch their storied tradition at running back, that includes greats such as Heisman Trophy winners in Howard Cassady, Archie Griffin, Eddie George and notable NFL stars in Carlos Hyde, Robert Smith and Ezekiel Elliott.
To think that Sermon did what those storied names have never done at Ohio State is even more impressive. While the Buckeyes may have been able to escape with their fourth straight conference crown, many outside of Columbus feel that the Buckeyes don’t deserve an invite to the College Football Playoffs.
Depending on your personal and fan bias, Ohio State has played the fewest games of any team at six.
Add to the fact that the B1G changed it’s own rules of playing a minimum number of games to allow the Buckeyes to play in—and win the conference title—has helped create a new level of animosity towards Ohio State and make the Chicago-area based conference look like it’s Columbus West.
Outside of Alabama and Notre Dame, Ohio State is easily the most hated and despised college football brand in all of sports, and the fact that the Buckeyes may steal a CFP spot from teams that have—in my opinion—looked and played better than them in say Texas A&M and in-state rival Cincinnati.
Luckily for the Buckeyes, they have their brand name and running backs like Sermon to bail them out on Saturday.