Ohio State survives turnovers, dominates Oregon in National Championship game

Despite losing four turnovers, the Ohio State Buckeyes won the national title in a 42-20 blowout of the Oregon Ducks. Oregon marched down the field for the first touchdown of the game, and then Ohio State scored 21 unanswered points to take the lead for good.

Oregon’s offense marched right down the field on its first possession of the game to score a touchdown. Quarterback Marcus Mariota was making quick decisions in a, relatively, clean pocket, and the Ducks took an early 7-0 nothing lead in the game. It was Oregon’s only lead of the game, as the Buckeyes scored the games next 21 points to take the lead for good.

Ezekiel Elliot scored three touchdowns, and carried the Ohio State offense. (Courtesy of Bleacher Report)

Ezekiel Elliot scored three touchdowns, and carried the Ohio State offense. (Courtesy of Bleacher Report)

Ohio State’s offense looked sharp throughout the first half — despite punting on its first possession — as the Ducks’ defense struggled with tackling and plugging the holes along the offensive line. Running back Ezekiel Elliot was extremely impressive throughout the game, but especially on the Buckeyes’ first drive. Elliot’s speed and agility were the reason he was able to push through Oregon’s front seven, and then juke through its secondary on his way to the end zone. It was a 33 yard touchdown run, the longest in any national championship game.

The Buckeyes scored their second touchdown of the game when quarterback Cardel Jones found tight end Nick Vannett in the end zone for a one yard touchdown pass. Ohio State wouldn’t trail the Ducks again.

Ohio State should have put Oregon away in the first half, but the Buckeyes were unable to do to a pair of fumbles that the Ducks forced. The second fumble was caused by a miscue between Jones and his running backs during the hand off late in the second quarter. As for the first turnover, Jones fumbled while he was getting tackled during and it was recovered by the Ducks earlier in the second quarter. Neither of those turnovers resulted in points for Oregon.

Despite Oregon’s inability to take advantage of OSU turnovers, the Ducks entered the halftime locker room trailing by only 11.

Initially, the second half got off to a better start for the Ducks. As Oregon turned two Ohio State turnovers into 10 points, to close within one of the Buckeyes. The first turnover came when Jones threw a pass that bounced off the wideouts arms and into the hands of linebacker Danny Mattingly’s hands. Oregon turned the interception into a touchdown. Ohio State’s second turnover in the third quarter occurred when Jones was flushed from the pocket by a blitz, and he was unable to hold onto the ball as he tried to throw it out-of-bounds. Oregon kicked a field goal after running five plays, at this point the Ducks were trailing 20-21.

Ohio State would take control of the game again when Elliot scampered for his third touchdown of the night as the third quarter came to an end. The Buckeyes wound up scoring two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter to put an exclamation point on the eight national championship in program history.

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