Buckeye Breakdown: OSU Over Oregon

The BSB staff goes down the list of important issues from the Buckeyes' big night in Big 'D'.

Ohio State run offense:Well that went pretty well. It’s hard to properly describe what Ezekiel Elliott and the offensive line accomplished tonight, but it was a legendary performance by a group that’s gotten better and better as the season went on. To rush for 246 yards and four touchdowns in a national championship game is almost inconceivable, but it was nothing new for Elliott, who did the same thing against Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game and Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. The thing that impressed me most is the way Ohio State ran the ball. Everyone expected Oregon’s tempo-driven offense to leave the Buckeyes defense fatigued, but in the fourth quarter it was the Ducks’ defensive linemen who had their hands on their knees in between plays. That was a signal for Ohio State that it was time for the kill shot, and the running backs delivered. Four different players ran the ball on the early fourth-quarter drive that made it 35-20. It was lights out from there. -- Ryan Ginn

Ohio State pass offense: We all know that this wasn’t the offensive phase that won Ohio State the game, but it did just enough through the against Oregon. Cardale Jones was 16 of 23 for 242 yards with a touchdown and an interception that wasn’t his fault. The blame for that lies with Jalin Marshall as the pass went off his hands and into those of an Oregon defender. While the Buckeyes are champions, the play of the receiving corps, especially in the first half left something to be desired. Still, Jones and the wideouts did enough to compliment the stellar run game and keep some semblance of balance in the team’s attack. Marshall redeemed himself on a third down with the Buckeyes still clinging to a one-score lead with a 19-yard reception, a play emblematic of the way that unit played against the Ducks. It wasn’t always pretty, but they did enough. -- Blake Williams

Ohio State run defense:If you'd have told me before the game the Buckeyes would hold Oregon to 4.0 yards per carry, I'd have felt pretty good about this one. If you'd have told me after the first drive when Oregon marched right down the field, I'd have said you were nuts. But the Buckeyes got better and better as the game went on and by the end the Ducks were unable to find any traction against a run defense whose final three games might have been the biggest surprise of the title run. Oregon ran for a total of 33 yards in the second half, a stunning total given the Ducks' abilities on the ground. Ohio State started getting penetration and wasn't fooled by the Ducks in the second half. -- Jeff Svoboda

Ohio State pass defense: Those guys were good enough. They gave up 333 yards passing to the Heisman Trophy winner from Oregon, but about half of that came on three plays. The secondary got some help with a couple of timely drops, but for the most part they forced the Ducks to rely on small chunks through the air. Consistency was hard to develop, even for a player as talented as Marcus Mariota. There were miscues — such as on both touchdown passes — but they were kept to a minimum. -- Marcus Hartman

What We Learned

Ryan Ginn: Never underestimate the power of a focused group of people who are locked in on a mission. It didn’t become clear until the season wore on, but this group of players is a resilient bunch that thrives on dealing with adversity. The defending national champions, owners of a 29-game winning streak, were mauled by Oregon less than two weeks ago thanks to five turnovers. Ohio State coughed the ball up four times and won by three touchdowns. Truly amazing.

Marcus Hartman: Ohio State has the best team in the country, and it might not be close. The Buckeyes not only beat the two teams most thought were the class of the country but did so decisively. If not for their own mistakes, they could have won both games going away. Not that they will complain, of course. Shoot, maybe Urban Meyer will be thankful for something — ANYTHING! — to point to on the film to provide motivation next season. But don’t worry about that now. Savor the type of dominant conclusion to a season that is rarely seen. No controversies will dog this team — other than arguments about where it belongs among the best in Ohio State history.

Jeff Svoboda: Ohio State is cut from championship cloth. Who could have seen this coming in September? But a 66-0 win vs. Kent State was more than just a cathartic blowout after the Virginia Tech loss -- it was a sign that the Buckeyes had the talent to put something together. And that they did. The momentum built and built, reached a fever pitch in East Lansing and finally boiled over after the Wisconsin win. We should have known then this was a team that simply wasn't going to lose this year, and the last two games proved it. You can have a plan in life, but very rarely does it all come together. Over the past year, everything Urban Meyer has done came together in the last month, and it's been a fun sight to behold. Enjoy this, Buckeye Nation, because they don't come much sweeter than this.

Blake Williams: This whole playoff thing is really fun. Ohio State absolutely deserved this national title and under the previous format, they wouldn’t have had a shot. Oregon would have been left out too, and while they were outclassed by the Buckeyes in the title game, they clearly deserved to be there. Getting to watch the Buckeyes play so well in back-to-back postseason games wasn’t an option last year, and I really enjoyed watching this team excel on the biggest stage. Thanks, CFP.


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