8 local connections to watch for in the Big Ten Championship game

The last time the Ohio State football team went to the Big Ten Championship game, the Buckeyes routed Wisconsin 59-0 en route to winning the inaugural College Football Playoff national title in 2014.

Now the two teams meet again in the Big Ten Championship on Saturday in Indianapolis, and a handful of players and coaches with area ties will be on the field and sidelines.

Here are eight people to look for as you watch Saturday’s game:

1. Robert Landers, Ohio State sophomore defensive lineman 

A third-year sophomore out of Wayne High School, Landers earned his first Varsity O letter last season after playing in all 13 games. He ranked fifth on the team with 7.5 tackles for loss with 16 total tackles. This season, he has appeared in 11 games with eight tackles and four for losses. Landers was a second-team all-state pick as a senior at Wayne after leading his team to the 2014 Division I state championship game.

2. Kerry Coombs, Ohio State Assistant Coordinator, Defense/Cornerbacks/Special Teams Coordinator 

A University of Dayton alumnus (Class of 1983), Coombs was an assistant at the old Lakota High School from 1985-88 before going on to a successful 16-year stint as head coach at his alma mater, Colerain High School. In 16 seasons at Colerain, Coombs’ teams went to 10 state playoffs, including five state semifinal berths and a Division I state title in 2004 with a 15-0 mark.

Credit: Dylan Buell

Credit: Dylan Buell

3. Danny Davis III, Wisconsin freshman wide receiver 

A four-star recruit out of Springfield High School, Davis already has made an impact in his first season at Wisconsin. He has caught 18 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games with two starts for the Badgers. Davis was second-team all-state as a junior and senior and also earned Greater Western Ohio Conference National East Division Offensive Player of the Year honors last fall.



4. Kraig Howe, Wisconsin sophomore defensive end 

The 6-foot-3, 278-pound Alter graduate has played in one game, making his Badgers debut against Utah State on Sept. 1 and recording one solo tackle. He redshirted his freshman year in 2015 and did not play last year, but was an impact player for the Knights in high school. He was the 2014 Associated Press All-Ohio co-Defensive Player of the Year after leading Alter to the state championship game as a senior.

5. Derrick Malone, Ohio State junior tight end 

The Thurgood Marshall High School graduate walked on as a freshman in 2015 but has yet to play a game. He was a defensive end and tight end in high school and also helped the Thurgood Marshall basketball team reach the Division II state semifinals in 2014. He was named all-Southwest Ohio in track and football and was a captain for both teams as a senior before graduating third in his class.

6. Cin’Quan Haney, Ohio State senior cornerback 

A former Chaminade-Julienne receiver and defensive back is in his third season with the Buckeyes after initially walking-on to the team in the spring of 2015. The physics major has not appeared in any games.

7. Josh Myers, Ohio State freshman offensive lineman 

A unanimous four-star offensive lineman from Miamisburg, Myers plays an important role on the scout team this season. He committed to Ohio State as a sophomore after initially receiving a scholarship offer as a freshman and was the No. 1-ranked player in the state by his senior year.



8. Andrew Marlatt, Wisconsin Senior Director of Operations and Recruiting 

Prior to joining the staff at Wisconsin three years ago, Marlatt was the safeties coach and special teams coordinator at Miami University, where he played defensive end until graduating in 1988. His kickoff coverage unit at Miami led the nation in 2013 by allowing just 14.24 yards per kickoff return. Marlatt spent 22 years coaching at Cincinnati-area high schools, including three seasons as an assistant at Fairfield High School.

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