Pride and Pettiness: Chapter 6, That Time Ezekiel Elliott Tapped Out a 'Fast' Oregon Team in the National Title Game

By David Regimbal on January 22, 2021 at 7:30 pm
Ezekiel Elliott

With the 2020 football season behind us, Pride and Pettiness has returned.

We're still living in tough times. Some people, like our very own Ramzy, like to cope by looking back at happy memories. I, personally, like to revisit moments of satisfying pettiness.

My philosophy is simple. From Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice:

For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?

That we do, Jane. In today's chapter, we're traveling back to Ohio State's convincing national title victory over Oregon, a team that was hyped to be faster than the Buckeyes.

The Setup

The precursor here was a familiar one for Ohio State fans. 

The Buckeyes had matched up with Oregon just five years prior in the 2010 Rose Bowl. That squad was led by sophomore Terrelle Pryor, a quarterback who boasted the engine of a Ferrari that was awkwardly packed into the body of a PT Cruiser with a sweater vest decal on the hood.

Oregon, on the other hand, had one of the country's most lethal offenses, spearheaded by quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. The Ducks entered the contest as favorites because teams struggled to keep pace.

Despite Ohio State controlling the trenches and winning that game outright, that was again the vibe five years later in the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship.

Ohio State entered the title game after outlasting top-seeded Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Oregon waltzed into the contest after throttling the reigning national title-winning Florida State team (that was riding a 29-game win streak) by 39 points (thirty-nine) in the Rose Bowl.

The Ducks also had the benefit of having the Heisman Trophy winner behind center in Marcus Mariota, while the Buckeyes were running with a third-string quarterback making his third career start in Cardale Jones.

All this added up to many predictions that looked like this one.

After watching the Quack Attack dismantle the Seminoles two weeks ago, it doesn’t look like their offense can be stopped.  They were second in the nation in total yardage and points per game, they have an impeccably balanced attack that moves at an unstoppable pace and they have the best player in college football.

It’s a recipe for success, and it’s why Oregon will walk out of AT&T Stadium on Monday night as national champions. 

Final Prediction: Ducks 49, Buckeyes 38

As a near-touchdown favorite, Oregon entered the game with confidence and momentum.

The Pettiness

Well, the pundits were correct because there was a faster team on the field that day. They had just misidentified the team.

Oregon came out hot, taking the opening drive 75 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown that took just 2:39 off the clock. Ohio State failed to answer on the ensuing drive and punted the ball back to Mariota and Co., who had the chance to go up 14 before the midway point of the first quarter.

But alas, reality set in. The Ducks promptly went three-and-out, and the rest of the night unfolded in what could accurately be described as an ironically legal felonious assault.

Ezekiel Elliott capped the best three-game stretch of his life with 246 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

Jones and the Buckeyes passing attack kept the Oregon defense off-balance with 242 yards as Ohio State piled up 538 yards of total offense in the dominant 42-20 victory.

But Elliott had a message for Oregon on his final carry of the night. With under a minute to go and Ohio State on the goal line, the Buckeyes running back punched in the score to "dot the i" for the national championship win. And he took that opportunity to tap Oregon out by patting his helmet during the celebration.

This, future Buckeye football players, is the pettiness I need to shoot directly into my veins on fall Saturdays. Please, I'm begging you, take note. 

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