In Dallas, Ohio State overpowered Oregon, 42-20, to win its first national championship in more than a decade.
In a season that watched the Buckeyes lose two starting quarterbacks, suffer a humiliating loss to Virginia Tech, and bury a teammate, "The Chase," as head coach Urban Meyer and company called their quest for a title, was finally complete.
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“This team wasn't supposed to do this, but they fought through adversity, they got stronger and stronger and stronger, and this is a great team. We finished the year a great team," Meyer said.
Despite four turnovers, Ohio State controlled the game for most of the second half, amassed nearly 600 yards of total offense and won by almost three touchdowns.
“I don't want to get overdramatic, but it's as improved a football team, and I've watched football for a long time from Game 1 to Game 15. I've never seen anything like it.”
Player of the Game: Ezekiel Elliott
In what served as an emphatic encore to his Sugar Bowl outing, Elliott rushed for 246 yards and four touchdowns on 36 carries. (If you're keeping count, that's 696 yards and six touchdowns against the Ducks, Alabama and Wisconsin).
Behind an offensive line that pushed Oregon back over and over again, Elliott was more or less unstoppable. The Ducks simply did not have an answer for the sophomore running back.
“I knew going into the game that we wanted to run the ball. We knew that our O-line was bigger and more physical than their D-line, and we just had to punch them in the mouth, and the O-line, they came out, they played their butts off and they paved the way for me," Elliott said. "(They were) hitting, and he just kept feeding me the ball.”
Critical Play of the Game: Elliott's TD at the end of the 3rd quarter
After jumping ahead of Oregon in the second quarter, Ohio State was nursing a 21-20 lead and needed a critical drive to break the game open once again.
As such, Elliott was key in a 12-play, 75-yard drive that chewed up the last seven minutes of the third quarter. He capped it off with a nine-yard touchdown run that seemed to suck the air out of the Ducks' comeback.
It also appeared to be the final dagger in Oregon's crumbling will, as the Buckeyes shut them out, 14-0, in the game's final act.
National Championship Coverage
- Buckeyes Overpower Oregon
- Kingdom Come
- Elliott's Encore
- Jones Mulls Over Future
- Photos: National Title
- More Photos: Celebration
- Videos: National Title
- 3rd Down Domination
- Nike Salutes OSU
- Twitter Reaction
- Best of Keels' Calls
- National Title Notebook
- Newspapers React
- Five Things
- National Title Quotebook
- Oregon Game Poster
What It Meant
This one's pretty obvious.
First-ever College Football Playoff champions.
First national title since 2002.
Ohio State's vanquishing of Oregon was emblematic of a postseason run that had already watched it obliterate Wisconsin, 59-0, and topple top-ranked Alabama in the semifinals a week-and-a-half earlier.
As the confetti fluttered from the rafters at AT&T Stadium and the Buckeyes celebrated with the kind of fervor you'd expect from a team that had to overcome considerable adversity throughout the season.
"The Chase," Meyer said as he held the national title trophy on a stage at midfield, "is complete."
It was a long time coming for Meyer, who vowed to "make the great state of Ohio proud" upon being hired in November 2011.
“I'm not shy about the love I have for this great state. Ashtabula, Ohio, is my hometown. I've got to travel all around the country and I realized how fortunate I am to grow up in a great town like that in a great state," Meyer said.
"I played college football here, and to bring now a national title to the great state of Ohio, it's almost surreal.”
And, of course, the Buckeyes will be expected to duplicate such results next season.
“We've just got to stay a hungry team. We're losing some great seniors, but we have a lot of great young players that will step up, and this year was just a great year to learn a lot of things," Elliott said, "and I think we'll be the same team next year as long as we stay humble, we grind hard in the offseason, don't let our heads get too big, I think we'll be here next year."