13 ways to size up Ohio State Buckeyes and Oregon Ducks – cleveland.com (blog)
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Here’s a numbers look — 13 ways — to size up Ohio State and Oregon before the college football national championship game on Monday.
This isn’t a complete rundown, by any means, but perhaps there are some numbers here you haven’t seen before.
1. Toughest schedules
Despite all the talk of an easy schedule early in the season, NCAA rankings show Ohio State entering the national title game having played the seventh toughest schedule in the country. The Buckeyes’ opponents have a 94-62 record (.603) vs. other major college teams. Oregon is ranked 12th at 78-54 (.591).
2. Win streaks
Ohio State’s 12-game winning streak, dating back to a loss in Week 2 to Virginia Tech, is the longest in the country. But Oregon is close behind. The Ducks have won nine straight after losing to Arizona. That gives Oregon the fourth longest streak.
The national championship game is a big game on a big stage. Attendance is expected to be close to 80,000. But for Ohio State, that’s not that big of a deal. Ohio State ranked first in the country in home attendance this year with 106,296. Oregon ranked 31st, at 57,422 per home game.
Oregon, with its quick pace offense, averages 11 more plays a game than Ohio State. But the big difference isn’t in offensive plays. Oregon this season ran 74.8 offensive plays on average to Ohio State’s 72.5. It’s the defense where Oregon is on the field more, averaging 77.4 plays to Ohio State’s 68.6.
5. Time of possession
Oregon ranks 117th among the 125 major college teams in time of possession, holding the ball on average for just 27:07 a game. One reason, no doubt, is because Oregon scores so quickly. Ohio State averages better than 31 minutes a game on offense.
6. Passing clash
Oregon’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota is No. 1 in the country for passing efficiency, with a rating of 184.4. But, nearly as good against the pass is Ohio State. The Buckeyes rank fourth in pass efficiency defense, at 104.79
Oregon was penalized for 1,008 yards over 14 games, ranking the the Ducks 115th in penalty yards per game. In comparison, Ohio State has been penalized for only 681 yards.
8. Third downs
Both Oregon and Ohio State have enjoyed great success on third downs, each converting just over half of their third-down plays. Ohio State ranks third nationally in this category; Oregon is fourth.
No team gave up fewer turnovers this season than Oregon (10), a big reason why the Ducks are second nationally in turnover margin (plus-1.43). Ohio State is tied for 17th at plus-0.71.
Oregon has given up fewer interceptions (three) than all but one other team. And that one team was run-happy Army. But Ohio State’s defense ranks fourth with 24 interceptions, two returned for touchdowns.
11. Defensive TDs
Ohio State ranks second nationally with six defensive touchdowns, behind only Washington’s seven. Oregon has two.
12. First downs
Oregon ranks 119th in the country in first downs allowed (321). That compares to just 263 first downs allowed for the Ohio State defense. On offense, Oregon ranks second for first downs with 386 and Ohio State fifth with 358.
Neither team allowed a blocked punt this season. On the flip side, Ohio State has blocked one punt and Oregon none.