Buckeye Leaves: Fiesta Bowl Edition

We're handing out our helmet stickers after Ohio State's 44-28 win over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.

Ryan Ginn: Somehow J.T. Barrett ended up holding the trophy awarded to the Offensive Player of the Game, but mine would have gone to Ezekiel Elliott and that’s also who gets my Buckeye Leaf. The Ohio State running back dominated in his final game as a Buckeye, carrying the ball 27 times for 149 times and scoring four touchdowns. For good measure, he also had one reception for 30 yards. It wasn’t his flashiest performance, but he delivered big runs when Ohio State needed them and was the biggest contributor to racing out to the early lead and then keeping the Irish at bay.

Blake Williams: While he didn't earn MVP honors, my Buckeye Leaf is going to Ezekiel Elliott. In his last game in an Ohio State uniform the junior tied a Fiesta Bowl record with four rushing touchdowns as part of a 149-yard effort. As usual, he was lethal outside of carrying the ball as well, often serving as the eland blocker for J.T. Barrett on zone read plays. He also caught one ball for 30 yards on a play that he displayed elite balance in tip-toeing down the side line. While Barrett was great and there were some standout performances on the defensive side of the ball (Darron Lee and Eli Apple come to mind), Elliott was the man in the Fiesta Bowl. Ohio State will sorely miss him next season, but he capped off his career with a heck of a day in a big win.

Tim Moody: Sure, J.T. Barrett was the game’s offensive MVP technically, but Ezekiel Elliott did more to get Ohio State the win. The junior carried the ball 27 times for 149 yards and four touchdowns to cap one of the most productive careers for an Ohio State running back in history. He also tacked on a 30-yard reception on a day when Barrett truly didn’t look his sharpest in the passing game. There were times when Ohio State seemed to move away from Elliott in the game plan, but whenever the Buckeyes got on track on offense he was the one leading the way.

James Grega: Ezekiel Elliott. For the final time in his career, Elliott was the reason the Buckeyes came away with a victory. Pacing the Ohio State offense with consistent running, Elliott's attack opened up throwing lanes for J.T. Barrett who tossed for over 200 yards in the win. Without Elliott, the Buckeyes would not have walked away with a 50th win in four years.


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