Buckeye Leaves: Oregon

Ohio State beat Oregon 42-20, producing a number of standout performers. Who were our players of the game, though? BSB gives out our Buckeye Leaves.

Ryan Ginn: Who else but Ezekiel Elliott? I thought about giving it to the offensive line, which was outstanding in its own right and a big reason why Elliott was so successful, but the sophomore’s vision and speed tonight was on another level. Elliott hammered and hammered and hammered the Ducks until they quit in a national championship game. In the fourth quarter, Oregon knew where the ball was going and still couldn’t stop him. That’s a championship performance if I’ve ever seen one.

Matthew Hager: It would be easy to give my Buckeye Leaf to Elliott, who is more than deserving. Instead, I am going to give mine to Luke Fickell. No man in Ohio has taken as much grief as the OSU lifer. He stood tall in a difficult situation in 2011 as interim coach, and remained loyal to the Buckeyes once Urban Meyer took over. His defense was a mess last year, and while Chris Ash deserves plenty of credit in the turnaround, Fickell should be elated tonight. He gets my nod.

Marcus Hartman: I know it was Ezekiel Elliott’s night in a lot of ways, but I’m going with the offensive line. He said himself — as any good running back would — he couldn’t have done it without them, but it was just a continuation of an amazing transformation for a group that far outpaced expectations. I thought going into the year Ohio State would be able to succeed if this group was decent. Instead, they became a dominant force that took the Buckeyes all the way to the top.

Jeff Svoboda: Is there any choice for the Buckeye Leaf other than Ezekiel Elliott? At the start of the year, I was underwhelmed by the sophomore running back, but he's improved steadily throughout the year and was the team's best player by playoff time. He topped 200 yards in each postseason game, was the engine of the offense and really put the Buckeyes on his back over the last three games. Elliott will earn plenty of Heisman hype at the start of next year and it will be deserved. What he did the last three games was nothing short of legendary and he deserves Buckeye Leafs, MVP trophies and just about anything that comes his way. The crop top will be the No. 1 fashion look in Columbus for the next year, I believe. What a string of performances.

Blake Williams:While it’s fun to go outside the box on this one, how could I give it to anyone other than Ezekiel Elliott? He continued his monster postseason with 246 yards and four touchdowns on 36 carries. When he got good blocking, which was often, he made big plays with seven runs of 10 or more yards. When the blocking wasn’t there he made something out of nothing. He was essentially a one-man first down against the Ducks and his ability to pound them on the ground went a long way to keeping Oregon’s offense off the field. He was as stud Monday and the No. 1 reason that the Buckeyes hoisted the trophy when it was all over.

Who do you think should be so honored? Let us know in the Ask The Insiders forum.


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