The 4th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes overcame four turnovers with a record setting 246 yards rushing by sophomore Ezekiel Elliott to win the first-ever playoff era National Championship game, 42-20 over the 2nd-ranked Oregon Ducks at a packed AT&T stadium.
The Ducks had no answer for Elliott who averaged 6.8 yards on 36 carries while scoring four touchdowns on runs of 33, nine, two and one yard, the last with 28 seconds to play in the game. What made the victory more impressive is that the Buckeyes won with their third string quarterback Cardale Jones who went 16-23 for 242 yards. He also rushed for 38 yards on 21 carries and scored one touchdown.
The Buckeyes gained 538 yards, 242 passing and nearly 300 yards rushing. They went 8-15 on third down and 3-3 on fourth down to keep drives alive. Elliott set championship records in yards, attempts and touchdowns.
Ohio State won their sixth national title and coach Urban Meyer won his third, the other two while at Florida. The score could have been more onesided had the Buckeyes not turned the ball over four times.
Meanwhile, favored Oregon with their score-a-minute offense suffered their largest deficit of the year. They were undone by 10 penalties, going 2-12 on third down, 0-2 on fourth down and had two key third down dropped passes early in the game which stopped their high-powered offense.
Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Marriota went 24-37 for 333 yards, two touchdowns and one late-game interception. The Ducks jumped out to an early 7-0 lead with 12:21 to play in the first quarter but the Buckeyes responded with 21 straight points. Oregon ended the half with a 26-yard field goal to cut the Buckeye lead to 21-10 at the half.
In the third quarter Oregon made their move scoring 10 points to reduce the Buckeyes lead to 21-20 with 6:39 to play in the quarter. Ohio State answered with another 21 point blitz behind three Elliott scoring dashes to eliminate any comeback attempt by the Ducks.
Ohio State controlled the game with the potent ground attack of Elliott and Jones who made several key runs to help his team extend drives. The Buckeyes time of possession was 37:29 compared to 22:31 for the Ducks.
In the end, there was no debating who was the national champion, a team that was not selected to be in the top ten in the beginning of the college football season. The Buckeyes rode the remarkable running of Elliott who gained 696 yards in his final three games against Wisconsin, number one ranked Alabama and Oregon.
Ohio State, who finished (14-1) were led in receiving by Michael Thomas who had four catches for 53 yards and deep-threat Corey Smith who had two receptions for 76 yards.
Oregon was led in rushing by Thomas Tyner who finished with 62 yards on 12 carries. They were led in receiving by Byron Marshall who gained 169 yards and one touchdown on eight receptions in a losing effort for the (13-2) Ducks.