Jack Coan helps Wisconsin take back Paul Bunyan’s Axe — now comes No. 1 Ohio State in the Big Ten title game


It’s probably the biggest second chance of Jack Coan’s football life.

Six weeks ago, the Sayville product threw for a season-low 108 yards and completed a season-worst 59-percent of his passes in Wisconsin’s 38-7 loss to Ohio State in Columbus.

This Saturday, Coan hopes to write a different story and help the No. 8 Badgers (10-2) upset No. 1 Ohio State (12-0) in the Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis. The game, which will air on Fox at 8 p.m., has huge playoff implications.

Momentum is on the junior quarterback’s side. He achieved his best passing efficiency rating of the season last Saturday in snowy Minneapolis, guiding Wisconsin to a 38-17 rivalry win over No. 9 Minnesota.

Coan connected on two timely touchdown passes, completing 15 of 22 passes for 280 yards. He didn’t throw an interception — for the eighth time this season (he only has a total of four this year).

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The win over the Gophers earned back Paul Bunyan’s Axe and gave Wisconsin the Big Ten West crown. The Badgers even improved their playoff chances — from microscopic to 5%.

Aside from needing to come through with their own major upset victory over Ohio State, Wisconsin would need at least the following to happen for any consideration in the four-team College Football Playoff.

• No. 6 Oklahoma loses to No. 7 Baylor in the Big 12 title matchup.
• No. 4 Georgia loses to No. 2 LSU in the SEC final.
• No. 5 Utah loses to No. 13 Oregon in the Pac-12 final.

Aside from a mid-season hiccup that saw back-to-back losses to Illinois and Ohio State — Coan’s first full season as the Badgers’ starting quarterback has been a huge success.

Here are some highlights from his 2019 resume:

• Coan’s 72.3% pass completion rate is the third best in the nation.
• Coan has the 11th highest quarterback rating in the country.
• Wisconsin’s 50.32 third-down conversion rate is sixth best in the nation.

Coan this week knows the task at hand against the vaunted Buckeyes defense.

“They really have no weaknesses in their secondary,” Coan told the Associated Press. “All guys that are back there can cover extremely well and have great technique. They’re just great players.”

But Coan is confident in his offense’s ability to march down the field.

“We always feel confident that we’ll be able to move the ball,” he said Saturday to The Daily Cardinal after the win over Minnesota. “It’s just about executing plays and staying in the moment.”

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