In 2012, the Buckeyes went 12-0, but due to sanctions, they were prohibited from all postseason activities. In 2013, they went undefeated once again but suffered a tough loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Title game, followed by a loss to Clemson in the Orange Bowl. This season, they had to start without their Heisman Hopeful QB, Braxton Miller, who suffered a season ending injury, but freshman J.T. Barrett stepped in and led the Buckeyes to 11-1 record and trip to the Big Ten Title game before breaking his ankle in the final game of the season. Then with 3rd string QB, Cardale Jones, the Buckeyes somehow, someway, through all the adversity, became National Champs.
Congrats to all the Buckeyes fans out there on winning a 8th National Title, 5th most in FBS. The 2014 Buckeyes team made history becoming the first CFB Playoff National Champs, winning it as a 4th seed, and defeating 3 straight Heisman Finalist on the way. Head Coach Urban Meyer, now has 3 titles under his belt, also becoming the 2nd coach to win titles at 2 different schools (Nick Saban - Bama, LSU). When Urban Meyer became head coach of OSU in 2012, they were knee deep in sanctions from the Jim Tressel era. It's not many coaches that could have turned this program around in such a short amount of time.
Oregon got off to a fast start in the beginning of the game, converting first downs on their first two plays. They did also fumble twice but manage to recover one and the other was overturned after a booth review. The Ducks first drive lasted 11 plays but only 2:39 minutes, never seeing a 3rd down. Keenan Lowe caught the touchdown that gave the Ducks an early 7-0 lead.
After that first drive, things slowed down a lot for the Ducks. On their next two drives, they would fail to convert 3rd downs because of dropped passes. 3rd Downs became a nightmare for the Ducks, only converting 2 out of 12 opportunities. They didn't convert their first 3rd down until their last drive of the 2nd quarter.
Marcus Mariota had a good game when you look at the numbers, but of course numbers are deceiving. Mariota threw for 333 yards and 2 TDs, but OSU defense didn't allow Mariota and the Oregon offense to gain yards on 1st & 2nd down, causing a bunch of 3rd & mediums or 3rd & longs. Oregon also struggled to score in the redzone, which was Florida State's problem. I said that Mariota would have to ball out in order for the Ducks to win, and even though he wasn't bad, he wasn't the best player on the field either.
Cardale Jones and Ezekiel Elliot manhandled the Ducks, especially Elliott. Once the Buckeyes got into a groove, the Ducks couldn't stop them. Elliott ran wild rushing for 246 yards and 4 TDs, and at one point during the game, he was averaging 9 yards a carry. You have to give a big shoutout to the offensive line of the Buckeyes because they also manhandled the ducks. In the 3rd quarter, after the Ducks scored 10 points on 2 back-to-back Buckeyes turnovers, Elliott ran wild. The Buckeyes ran the same power trap play 4 times on that drive and the offensive line made it work everytime. Elliott rushed for 44 yards on 9 carries on that same drive.
Cardale Jones did a great job also. He only rushed for 38 yards but it was a bruising 38 yards. There were a few plays where Jones ran over defenders for first downs, one of which was a nose tackle. The Ducks tried to make life harder for Jones by dropping 8 into coverage but he picked them apart with his strong arm. Only rushing 3-4 defenders, not putting much pressure on him, the Ducks allowed Jones to sit and make quality decisions, which burnt them all night.
For Jones to come in with no meaningful starts in his career and perform the way he did in these 3 games, is historical. I thought that having a 3rd string QB would catch up to the Buckeys this game, but even with 4 team turnovers, Jones still led this team to a great victory. Coach Meyer will have a hard time next off-season trying to decide who will be his QB for the 2015-16 season because all three at this point are worthy of a starting spot.
Ohio State was just too physical for the Ducks, on all aspects. Not only were they physical but they were fast too. Oregon played a physical game against the Seminoles, and forced turnovers like they did today, but they big plays were held to a minimum. Ohio State also slowed the game down, not allowing the Ducks to run up and down the field. At one point in the game, the Ducks only ran 10 plays in the second half while Ohio State ran 35. This was a balanced-physical victory by the Buckeyes and they deserve to be National Champs.