Sideline Report: One true champion

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The end of the college football season is always a bittersweet moment. The ups and downs of the regular season and bowls come to an epic conclusion. Ever since I have been following this wonderful sport, the finale has been a BCS National Championship game that features an SEC team and an opponent who isn’t really on the same skill level. This year, however, was different. This year features the first ever college football playoff semifinals and national championship. As controversy over the choice of teams ensued, the games delivered excitement and competition (for the most part) that hasn’t been seen in years.

I have been championing a college football system for years. The parity of college football has increased and a change was imminent and necessary. As the 2014-15 season rolled around, playoffs were something that seemed foreign and added excitement to every week of the season. The final four was whittled down week by week, ending in the University of Alabama, the University of Oregon, Ohio State University and Florida State University. The semifinals finally arrived on New Year’s Day with a blowout Rose Bowl and a tough, grind-it-out Sugar Bowl.  With the results of those games ending in a matchup of no SEC teams and brilliant storylines with No. 4 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Oregon. A third string quarterback against the Heisman Trophy winner? It can’t get much better than that.

The two teams finally met on the night of January 12 in Arlington, Texas. AT&T Stadium was rocking and most just could not wait until kickoff. We were witnessing history. Urban Meyer vs. Mark Helfrich; Cardale Jones vs. Marcus Mariota; a team hoping to return to glory vs. a team seeking its first national title. All of the storylines and matchups culminated to this night. As the Buckeyes and Ducks began the clash on Monday night, the best national championship in a decade followed.

The story of the night was turnovers, missed opportunities, solid defense and Ohio State making plays when they needed to. Jones looked like a superstar for Ohio State, both running the ball and launching passes down the field. Ezekiel Elliott, starting running back for Ohio State, also had an amazing night with 246 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Even though the Buckeyes turned the ball over four times, Ohio State kept the the high octane Oregon offense led by Mariota and forced the Ducks into 3rd and long situations. Mariota just could not figure out the defense and injuries as well as dropped catches made the difference. In the end, the Ohio State Buckeyes took home the national title, their first since 2002, in a 42-20 victory over the Oregon Ducks.

This was a thrilling game and the box score doesn’t show how close this game really was. Every time Ohio State looked like they would pull away, they would give up the ball and Oregon was given life. But the Buckeyes were still too much and finally gave the Big Ten another conference title as well as putting on a fantastic show to end a fantastic season.

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