Ohio State defense grounds the Ducks in the National Championship


David J. Phillip

(source: Wall Street Journal)

Calvin Chmura

On January 12, the Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the Oregon Ducks in the first National Championship of the College Football Playoff Era. The Bucks defeated the Ducks 42-20 at AT&T Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Buckeyes, the 4 seed, was a huge underdog coming into the game. They defeated Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, again as a huge underdog. The Ducks came into the game as the 2 seed after routing Florida State in the Rose Bowl. Both teams lost one game this season, the Duck’s losing to Arizona, and the Bucks losing to Virginia Tech. Many believed OSU did not belong in the playoff, but they silenced the critics after holding the high-powered Ducks offense to their lowest point total this season. Marcus Mariota, the Heisman trophy winner, had a great game statistically with 333 yards and two touchdowns, but he missed some key throws and his receivers dropped some as well. Oregon is still looking for their first national championship in school history.

The mindboggling statistic during the game is that OSU committed four turnovers compared to the Ducks’ zero. Typically, the team that wins the turnover margin wins the game; however the Buckeyes persevered and continued to have sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott bear the load. Elliott carried the ball 36 times, and scored four touchdowns. He also ran for 246 yards, a national championship record.

Elliott was not the only star for the Buckeyes. The young star Cardale Jones shined once again in only his 3rd career start. He threw for one touchdown and ran for another. Jones also had multiple key throws and runs that kept scoring drives alive, including one in which he completely ran over the nose tackle of Oregon.

The first season of the College Football Playoff era did not disappoint. All three games were one for the ages, and many cannot wait for next year. Jameis Winston, the star quarterback for Florida State, has declared for the draft. Mariota is set to enter the NFL draft, while all three Buckeye quarterbacks are returning for another season. Urban Meyer and Ohio State will have a very tough decision at quarterback next year, and many are interested to see how they will perform.