The inaugural College Football Playoff system was won by the Ohio State Buckeyes last night as they thrashed the gimmicky run Ducks offense led by Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota 42-20 in Arlington Texas. The Buckeyes turned the ball over four times in the game and still managed to win going away. The star of last night’s game was RB Ezekial Elliot of OSU who carried the ball 36 times for 246 yards and four scores including the final three in the third and fourth quarters of the game.
The Buckeyes beat the three Heisman Trophy Finalists in a row as they defeated Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon in the Big 10 Title Game, Amari Cooper and Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, and the winner Marcus Mariota and the Ducks in the National Championship. Urban Meyer’s team was snubbed last year after losing to the Spartans in the Big 10 Championship and the Bucks would go on to lose the Orange Bowl, but now they’ve won 13 straight and with Urban Meyer reiterating his commitment to the school following his third title, the Buckeyes will be a heavy favorite to repeat with another year of Cardale Jones to work with.
The Buckeyes played great defense last night especially on the defensive front where they stuffed the Ducks ground attack all night. Marcus Mariota wasn’t able to use his legs as much, and when he did he was forced to the outside limiting his yards per carry. Mariota threw for 333 yards and two scores, but he was never able to make himself a dual threat with a 3.9 yards per carry average. As a team the Ducks ran for only 132 yards while the Bucks gained nearly 300. Ohio St. controlled the clock for 15 minutes longer than the Ducks despite the four turnovers, and the defense held tough following the miscues.
The Ducks have now lost their last two national championship games dating back to the Cam Newton loss in the Fiesta Bowl. Ohio State looks like a team to be reckoned with, and now that the Big 10 is starting to have big name coaches enter the conference, it could make its mark on College Football in the coming years. John Harbaugh and Urban Meyer should be going toe to toe on the field and in the recruiting department for at least a couple of years. Michigan and Ohio St. over the past few years have seen their rivalry not live up to its old billing, but with two of the highest paid coaches in the country scheduled to meet every year, expect the Big Ten to routinely put teams in the playoff chase.
This is the first Big Ten National Championship in football since 2002 when Ohio St. shocked the college world and beat powerhouse Miami in Tempe under Jim Tressel.