History Made in More Ways than One

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It was time to finally put an end to the 2014 NCAA Football Seasons as the National Championship would determine the best team in College Football for another year. Heading into Texas for the big game there were no shortage of storylines as the Ohio State Buckeyes and Oregon Ducks faced off. For one it was the first time that a champion would be determined after a playoff. Both the Ducks and the Buckeyes had played their way into the National Championship during the Semi-Finals on New Year’s Day. Aside from that it was a chance for Heisman Trophy winner, Marcus Mariota, to get a great curtain call in his last College game. It was a chance for the Ducks to finally earn a National Championship after years of being considered one of the best teams in College Football. It was a chance for Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer to win his third National Championship. A chance for him to officially turnaround a once feared program that had fallen off in recent years. It was a chance for third string quarterback Cardale Jones to enter the annals of Ohio State football in leading the team to a National Championship in only his third start. It was a chance for the Buckeyes defence to shut down one of the most potent offences in the NCAA. It was a chance for Oregon to show that their break-neck offence can work to win a National title. Above all it was old school against new school in the old style running offence and good defence against a fast-paced offence that tries to bury their opponents which helps their defence. That is what it would all come down to this year as the two teams faced off with the Ducks clearly looking to score early and often to put the Buckeyes behind and force them to play into the defence that the Ducks like to play. Oregon has never been a big team and despite showing a great defence in their semi-final matchup they were still against a bigger tougher team. If they could get ahead early it would eliminate the rushing game of the Buckeyes that led Ohio State to a semi-final win. With Ezekiel Elliott breaking 200 yards against Alabama’s great rush defence it was clear that the Ducks wanted to limit the time they had to face him. Forcing the Buckeyes to throw would force Jones to beat them and the Ducks were confident that they could beat a team depending on a third string quarterback. For the Buckeyes it was all about keeping up with Oregon and not letting them run their fast-paced offence that beat Florida State by 39 points in the semi-final. If they could do that their offence could use their biggest weapon and run through a smaller defence while taking their time and leaving the Ducks with little time to play. The strategies were clear heading into the National Championship and it was all about who could impose their game. Most believed it was going to be the Ducks who looked like the best team in football and were going against the #4 team that barely made the playoff at the end of the year. It seemed like a David versus Goliath matchup and as the game started it looked to be going that way.

The Ducks began the game with the ball and, like they have done to every other team this year, they marched down the field in no time to get ahead 7-0. It seemed like the Ducks were about to run through the Buckeyes in a blowout but the Buckeyes took on the attitude of their coach for the second game in a row. They refused to let that get them down and they fought back with the defence leading the way. The Buckeyes defence began to stand up and the Ducks could not get their usual fast pace going and that gave the Buckeyes the chance they needed. On the back of Elliott they were able to grind down the Oregon defence and start putting up points. A 33-yard run put the Buckeyes on the board while Jones added a second touchdown in the first quarter to put the Buckeyes up 14-0. Once again Oregon could not get going and the Buckeyes continued to march down the field going up 21-10 at halftime. In the second half the Ducks did everything possible to get back into the game as their defence started to play their type of game. They started to force turnovers and give the offence a chance to score and at the start of the half they did just that. After an interception by Jones, Mariota threw a 70-yard touchdown pass that put the Ducks back into the game. They continued to climb back with a field goal in their next possession putting the Ohio State lead at one. That is where their offence stopped though as the Buckeyes defence stood tall again while Ohio State looked to the backfield where Elliott began to put together another amazing performance. Three more touchdowns from Elliott sealed the game for the Buckeyes and gave them the first ever CFP National Championship. It was the 246 yards, a National Championship record, and four touchdowns from Elliott that took over the game and left the Ducks one game short once again. At the end of it all the Buckeyes are national champions and proof that the College Football Playoff can work. They came in ranked #4 and would have been in a different bowl a year ago without a chance to play in the National Championship. Instead they got that chance and proved that the four team system can provide excitement and the chance for any team to win the National Championship.

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