No. 3 Ohio St. runs past No. 15 Wildcats for Big Ten crown

Full Screen
1 / 22

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Ohio State running back Trey Sermon, top, is sent flying by Northwestern defensive back A.J. Hampton (11) during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

INDIANAPOLIS – Ohio State running back Trey Sermon got the message Saturday.

He'd heard coach Ryan Day preach about everything the Buckeyes overcame to reach this season's Big Ten championship game. He also heard Day urging players to overcome more obstacles in the second half.

So Sermon delivered — with a record-breaking performance.

He ran for 331 yards and scored two second-half touchdowns, helping No. 3 Ohio State rally past No. 15 Northwestern 22-10 for its fourth straight conference crown and a likely spot in the College Football Playoff.

“I’m aware of my ability and I know I’m more than capable of playing my game, which is making guys miss and playing at the second level," the Big Ten championship game MVP said. “When I’m in the zone, I feel like the game just really slows down and I can see everything develop, make the right reads and make the right cuts."

Sermon used the combination of vision and speed to average 11.4 yards on 29 carries against one of the nation's top defenses, breaking Eddie George's single-game school record and the Big Ten championship game mark.

The former Oklahoma back did it all when the Buckeyes (6-0) needed him most, too.

Quarterback Justin Fields said he couldn't throw the ball late in the game because of a sprained right thumb. Starting running back Master Teague left in the first half with an undisclosed injury, and star receiver Chris Olave was inactive and didn't make the trip.