DALLAS—Oregon is favored by six and a half and the Heisman Trophy winner scores on the first possession, but Ezekiel Elliot answers.
The Ducks pull within a point. But Elliot answers.
The Buckeyes turn the ball over four times. But Elliot answers.
After Elliot’s fourth answer, the Ohio State Buckeyes win the National Championship, shocking the world and emphatically telling America exactly why we needed a college football playoff all along.
In past seasons, Ohio State wouldn’t have even played for the national title. But after sneaking into the tournament as the number-four seed, the Buckeyes may be the most unlikely champion in history.
After beating Alabama, college football’s most dominant team in the past five years, most didn’t give the Buckeyes a chance against Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks, who so throughly dismantled 2014 champion Florida State in the Rose Bowl.
The pregame headlines centered around the discrepancy between the schools’ two quarterbacks, and rightfully so. One was a Heisman Winner and a three-year starter. The other was a third-string quarterback who had two collegiate starts.
But on the game’s biggest stage, Elliot stole the limelight from Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Ohio State’s Cardale Jones, rushing for 246 yards and 4 touchdowns in the 42-20 victory.
In a game filled with dazzling efforts by the 19-year-old tailback, no sequence was more impressive then the 9 play, 76-yard drive that culminated in Elliot’s third touchdown of the night, a drive in which the Buckeyes offense imposed their will on a team that looked untouchable for most of the season.
Oregon knew Elliot was coming, but simply couldn’t stop him.
Putting forth an offensive performance that was far from pretty, the Buckeyes defense rose to the occasion, overcoming four turnovers and harassing Mariota in a ravenous team effort. Ohio State stymied the Ducks’ vaunted running game, forcing Mariota to drop back and make plays from the pocket, and taking away the Oregon quarterback’s remarkable play-action game.
Not pressing to match Mariota, Jones, once third on the Ohio State depth chart, flashed remarkable arm strength, athletic ability, and toughness in an effort that will make head coach Urban Meyer’s quarterback decision very difficult this Spring.
But for Meyer and the Buckeyes, this is a good problem to have.
After years of regular season success followed by a postseason dismantling at the hands of faster, more athletic teams, the Buckeyes won themselves the 2015 championship the old-fashioned way.