Buckeyes Own National Title Game: Five Things We Learned
At the beginning of the college football season, a handful of teams were tossed around as potential national title contenders. Oregon and Ohio State were most certainly amongst the small masses of programs that were considered possible entrants in the new College Football Playoff.
On Monday night, both teams met with new title on the line in Dallas where the biggest stadium on the biggest stage was to hold college football’s biggest game. Ohio State, the fourth invitee to this new four-team party, rode a wave of momentum since beating Michigan State in the regular season, took down Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and gave Oregon a thorough beating to claim the 2014-15 title.
The victory by the Buckeyes proved that a committee of 12 (13 to begin with) members got it right when Ohio State and Urban Meyer leap frogged over the likes of Baylor and TCU to claim the head coach’s third national title since 2008 and first of the playoff era.
Behind four rushing touchdowns by running back Ezekiel Elliott, the Buckeyes 42-20 win over the Ducks proved when given time to game plan and prepare, there may not be any better than Meyer on the sideline. And with the win Meyer realizes his dream of winning a national title in Columbus.
Here are five things we learned from this game.
RUNNING BY ZEKE
The Big Ten boasted Melvin Jones, Ameer Abdullah and Jeremy Langford. For most of the season Ezekiel Elliott was an afterthought. The big sophomore ran for 246 yards on the night and four scores after he had over 200 yards in the win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl 10 days ago.
Ohio State had 296 yards on the ground for the evening.
Elliott set a career high in rushing in each of his last 3 games of the season. Elliott also set Championship records in rushes, rush yards, and rushing touchdowns.
Ohio State has won 12 straight games since losing at home to Virginia Tech back in Week 2. They've controlled games quite well during the streak, having an average chance to win across all plays of all games of 77%, best in FBS in that span.
According to ESPN.com, "The chase is complete," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. "It's done. It's over. They accepted their final mission, their final assignment and their final directive, and they did it. That was our whole mantra this last couple of weeks. A job well done, and we're very grateful."
Meyer's Buckeyes overcame two injured Heisman contenders and one awful early season loss at home to Virginia Tech to win their first national title since 2002. Back then the Bowl Championship Series decided No. 1 at the end of the season -- usually.
The Heisman Trophy winner usually does not do well in bowl games. While he could not will his team to a win, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota did not have a bad performance.
Mariota passed for 333 yards and two touchdowns, but the Ducks' warp-speed spread offense missed too many red-zone opportunities and couldn't unleash its running game against linebacker Darron Lee and an Ohio State front seven stacked with future NFL draft picks.
While Mariota had a decent night, the Ducks offense was slowed all night. The Ducks had 465 yards in total offense on the night. Ohio State was able to move the ball for 538 yards in offense.
Ohio State was able to win the national title despite four turnovers.