Underdog Ohio State Buckeyes Run All Over Oregon Ducks to Win National Title


Jan 10, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Devin Smith (9) and running back Ezekiel Elliott (15) talk to Urban Meyer during practice in preparation for the CFP National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The script read like it came straight out of Hollywood, a gridiron Hoosiers, maybe: third-string quarterback barely gets his team, from college football’s worst division, into the playoffs and then leads them to the national title over the rightful champs, a group piloted by the sitting Heisman Trophy winner.  Couldn’t happen?  

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Don’t tell that to Cardale Jones and Ezekiel Elliott, who carried the Ohio State Buckeyes to the first-ever national championship under the College Football Playoff system, trouncing the Oregon Ducks and Heisman winner Marcus Mariota  42-20 on Monday night.

Jones was left holding the reins of a potential playoff team late in the season after first Braxton Miller and then J.T. Barrett went down with injury and performed like a champ leading up to the title game.  In truth, he was not a stalwart passer on Monday (16/23, 1 TD, 1 INT), but he kept the Bucks moving AND he ran 21 times for 38 yards and a touchdown.

The offensive star for the Buckeyes was Elliott, who picked up 246 yards on 36 carries and scored four touchdowns.  On those numbers, Elliott could have won the title alone.

But then, you don’t win titles on your own, especially not coming from a “weak” conference, as the Big Ten was portrayed all season long.

Fortunately, Jones and Elliott were helped out by a Buckeyes defense that picked off Mariota once and, while allowing him to throw for 333 yards, mostly kept him in check.  Ohio State was especially stout when it mattered most, stopping the Ducks on 10 out of 12 third-down conversions and on both fourth-down attempts.

Monday night’s title was coach Urban Meyer’s third championship, and his first at Ohio State, after just three years on the job.  With this win, and with Jim Harbaugh returning home to coach Michigan next season, there is a chance, a small chance, that the Big Ten could somehow, someway become relevant again at some point in our lifetimes.

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