Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott (15) runs for a nine-yard touchdown during the second half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Oregon Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Sophomore running back Ezekial Elliott ran for nearly 250 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Ohio State Buckeyes to a 42-20 win over the Oregon Ducks in the 2015 NCAA College Football Championship on Jan. 12 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
It marked the first national title for the Buckeyes football team since 2002, and the eighth in school history.
Ohio State turned the ball over four times, including one interception and three fumbles. But a strong defense and an explosive running game helped the Buckeyes overcome their mistakes to capture the title in the first year of the college football playoff system.
The Buckeyes ran the ball at will against the Ducks the entire game, pounding Oregon’s interior defensive line with rush after rush. Ohio State scored its first points of the game on a 33-yard touchdown run right up the gut of the defense to tie the score at 7-7 in the first quarter. The score was pushed to 21-7 after two straight touchdowns by sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones, including a one-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Ohio State led 21-10 at halftime.
The Ducks threatened the Buckeyes’ lead with two straight scores in the third quarter, including a 70-yard touchdown pass by Heisman Trophy-winning junior quarterback Marcus Mariota to junior receiver Byron Marshall. A subsequent Oregon field goal cut the score to 21-20.
Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott runs past Oregon’s Chris Seisay for a touchdown during the first half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
But Ohio State put the ball into the hands of Elliott, who ran for two more touchdowns to push the Buckeyes’ lead up to 35-20 in the fourth quarter. Mariota and Oregon’s offense were shut out from that point onward, and Ohio State sealed the victory with a fourth touchdown run during the final minute of the game.
Elliott, named the championship MVP, finished with 246 rushing yards on 36 carries. Jones added 38 rushing yards, and also completed 16 of 23 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown.
Mariota completed 24 of 37 passes for 333 passing yards, two touchdowns and an interception; he ran for just 39 yards on 10 carries.