Nader Hussein, ‘Doah Staff Writer
January 21, 2015
The first trial of the experiment is over. The new format for determining the NCAA Football Champions has been tried and tested, and the Buckeyes of Ohio State have come out as the victors. Ohio State defeated the Oregon Ducks in the Championship game by a score of 42-20 in a game of ups and downs for both sides. But first, we will take a look at how each team got there.
Oregon finished the regular season with a record of 13 wins and just one loss. They defeated Arizona in the PAC-12 Conference Championship and were ranked third in the nation. They were matched up against defending champions Florida State in the Rose Bowl, which acted as a semifinal for the National Championship. They comfortably handled the Seminoles, winning 59-20 to advance to the championship game.
Ohio State also finished the season with a 13-1 record, winning the Big Ten Conference Championship in a blowout of Wisconsin. They were ranked fourth in the final ranking of the regular season and were paired up with the first ranked team in the nation, Alabama. They beat Alabama 42-35 to seal their spot in the championship game.
Both underdogs triumphed in the semifinals and faced each other at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. The game started quickly with Oregon scoring within the first three minutes. Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota hit receiver Keanon Lowe for a seven-yard touchdown to open the scoring. From that point on, Ohio State dominated the game, scoring 21 unanswered points before Oregon got on the board again. A 70-yard touchdown pass from Mariota to Byron Marshall, followed by a field goal from Aidan Schneider pulled the Ducks back to within one point of Ohio State. Offensive MVP Ezekiel Elliott’s second, third and fourth rushing touchdowns put Ohio State back in a comfortable position and carried the Buckeyes to the title.
Although Ohio State were dominant, they did not play a perfect game. They gave up four turnovers and were lucky that Oregon was unable to capitalize on their mistakes. The key performance of the match was by Buckeyes’ running back Ezekiel Elliott, who set National Championship Game records with 246 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.
Following the match, Mariota announced his intention to enter the NFL Draft and is predicted to be the number one pick. Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones decided to return to college next year and will have a tough time earning a starting spot. Jones started the season as the third-string quarterback and only took over as the starter after injuries ruled out starter Braxton Miller and backup J.T. Barrett. Ezekiel Elliott is ineligible to enter the draft as a player is only allowed to enter the draft after finishing their junior year of college.
With the season over, college football teams around the country will start the process of trying to win next year’s title. Oregon will be looking to do better, and Ohio State will be looking to end up on top again.