Ohio State vs Oregon: 2015 National Championship game — Jamie Turner's in … – cleveland.com
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Three years seems about right, doesn’t it?
When Urban Meyer took over days after Ohio State’s first loss to Michigan in about a century (more or less), there was an expectation — stated or otherwise — that the Buckeyes might need one year to overcome a losing season but that Big Ten and national title contention were certain to be just over the horizon.
But you weren’t thinking that in late September, were you? It took the win over Michigan State to reassure the multitudes, then the stunning domination of Wisconsin to drive home the reality that this could be the year, after all.
Tonight, we’ll have another as-it-happens megablog of tonight’s game, with tweets and observations from cleveland.com and Plain Dealer writers and columnists, along with thoughts from around the college football world. In addition, there’s always our live chat room for your comments.
As always, just refresh your browser for the latest!
Ohio State 21, Oregon 17, 11:23 left in third quarter
10:52 p.m.: If Oregon is going to show that it has made some adjustments, now’s the time.
That didn’t take long. Buckeyes sent five on first down, Mariotta hits Byron Marshall up the middle for 70 yards and the touchdown. Marshall starts to drop the ball as he crosses the goal line, touchdown “confirmed.” But one would think he’s getting an earful on the sideline.
10:47 p.m.: Elliott on counter play left for 22 yards on first down. On first down, Jones shakes off hit by LB Tony Washington, scrambles left for five yards. On second-and-5, Elliott up the middle for five yards and the first down.
At Oregon 42, Jones against a five-man rush throws deep left to Michael Thomas, who can’t get left foot down for the touchdown. Elliott for nine on another counter play on second down. On third-and-1, Elliott stopped a foot short on quick snap. On fourth-and-a foot, Jones has nothing on the sneak, rolls left and hurdles a Duck for the first down at the Oregon 32.
On first down, OSU called for false start. Ball at 37. Jones fires to Marshall, who mishandles the ball into the grasp of LB Danny Mattingly at the Oregon 30.
10:41 p.m.: OSU gets the kickoff, with Curtis Samuel taking the touchback.
We’re back underway.
10:33 p.m.: Another good moment during halftime for the Buckeyes, thanks to TBDBITL.
10:18 p.m.: According to Win Probability chart at the predictionmachine.com, Buckeyes are 64.8 percent favorites now at halftime.
Halftime: Ohio State 21, Oregon 10
10:16 p.m.: Samuel returns kickoff to the 31, but OSU hold pushes ball back to 13.
Elliott for a yard, Oregon calls first timeout with 31 seconds left.
On second down, Elliott cutback for four, Oregon’s second timeout with 26 seconds left.
On third down, Jones keeps up the middle for three. Final Oregon timeout with 20 seconds left.
Johnston punt fair caught at the Oregon 32. With just 14 seconds left, Mariota to Stanford for 12 yards and out of bounds at the 44. Nine seconds to go. Ducks try hook and lateral, but ball only gets to midfield.
Ohio State 21, Oregon 10, 0:48 left in second quarter
10:08 p.m.: After touchback, a pretty essential series for the Ducks, with OSU getting the ball to start the second half.
At the 25, Mariota keeps right for three — not well blocked by Oregon. On second-and-7, Mariota to Marshall for six, but LT Jake Fisher flagged for holding. On second-and-12, Buckeyes blitz and Mariota hits Marshall for a yard. On third down Stanford makes a great catch over the middle for 32.
After short run, Mariota to Marshall for 15 to the 30. Mariota scrambles left on first down, loses a yard. On second-and-11, poor read on zone read and Mariota gets two. On third-and-9, Marshall takes a hard hit but converts on an 15-yard pass gain.
Freeman for three on first down, four more on second. Clock hits a minute on third-and-3 and Mariotta too long for Baylis in left flat.
Oregon takes the field goal. Aidan Schneider good from 26.
Ohio State 21, Oregon 7, 4:49 left in second quarter
9:55 p.m.: Empty backfield on first down, Jones scrambles from pressure and throws it away. On second-and-10, handoff to Marshall to right tackle loses two yards. On third-and-12, Jones rolls right and finds the Human Deep Threat — Devin Smith — for 46 yards to the Oregon 5.
Ball spotted at 6, Jones keeps for two. On second down, Jones keeps over right guard on a draw, his elbow hits ground a foot outside the goal line. Called TD, then reversed on replay. On third down, Jones keeps, spins right for the score.
Ever wonder what it would be like to have Cam Newton as an OSU QB. You now know the feeling. Too big, too strong, too relentless for the college game.
9:48 p.m.: Given a chance (and a commercial) to catch its breath, Oregon back at work.
Freeman for three to the 12 on first down. Freeman for two up the middle. On third-and-5, Mariota sacked by Adolphus Washington. Bucks sent five on the rush.
Marshall takes fair catch of punt on the Oregon 49.
9:45 p.m.: OSU was 10 yards away from taking control, with Elliott’s 28-yard run and a 40-pass and run from Jones to Corey Smith the big plays, but Smith fumbles and it’s recovered by LB Rodney Hardrick at the Oregon 10.
9:38 p.m.: Mariota to Baylis for six, then Freeman run for five for first down at OSU 48.
Mariota on quick slant to Byron Marshall for 25. At the OSU 23, quick flip to Stanford for two. On second-and-8, Mariota to Marshall for 15 and first and goal at the 10. Pass to Baylis for four on first down. On second down, Mariota overthrows Baylis after play action. On third down, Mariota keeper right gets just three. Oregon will go for the TD. On fourth down, Tyner up the middle stuffed just short of the goal line.
After play, flag thrown on Michael Bennett for roughing. Loss off a foot.
9:32 p.m.: Second down and 9 at the 38, Vannett drops five-yard toss by Jones in right flat. On third-and-9, Jones scrambles left for 17. No defense has figured this out yet.
Quick WR screen to Thomas for six. On second-and-4, Elliott fumbles handoff, recovered by Oregon’s DT Alex Balducci at Oregon 41.
Ohio State 14, Oregon 7, end of first quarter
9:26 p.m.: Ducks in need of some catches after the last two series.
Oregon accepts touchback, then Tyner bursts for 11 on first down to the 36. Ducks TE Evan Baylis down with right foot injury. He had six catches against Florida State in Rose Bowl — eventually limps off the field.
Mariotta keeps on zone read, gets seven. On second-and-3, Freeman over right tackle for two. On third-and-1, LG Hamani Stevens jumps the count. On third-and-6, Tyvis Powell breaks up pass to Byron Marshall — getting away with interference with right arm.
Another false start on punt. Marshall returns punt eight yards to the OSU 36.
Final play of the quarter is Elliott up the middle for a yard.
Ohio State 14, Oregon 7, 1:06 left in first quarter
9:19 p.m.: Elliott around left end for six. On second-and-4, quick screen right to Michael Thomas for seven and a first down.
First down at the 33, Jones looks deep for Devin Smith, Troy Hill tips ball away, but had right hand all over Smith in end zone. Pass interference. Ball on the Oregon 18.
Elliott overpowers Oregon defenders as he did vs. Alabama, powering to the 1.
Jones on first down hits TE Nick Vannett for the touchdown just over the goal line.
9:15 p.m.: Nelson returns kickoff to the Oregon 17.
Tyner on zone read left for seven. Mariota to TE Evan Baylis for six.
On first down at the 30, another flip to Baylis for a yard. On second-and-9, OSU defensive line breaks through to stuff Freeman for loss of five. On third-and-14, Dwayne Stanford is 10 yards behind the OSU defense, but drips the ball at the OSU 30.
Two drops, two failed drives. Good punt return by Jalin Marshall, breaking four tackles for 19 yards to the Oregon 46.
Ohio State 7, Oregon 7, 4:36 left in first quarter
9:07 p.m.: Bucks very conservative on first down, QB keep for two. On second-and-8, heavy pressure forces Jones into throwaway in the end zone. Fortunate to avoid safety. On third-and-8, Ducks rush just three, giving Jones lots of time to find Corey Smith at the 30 against zone.
Jones on back-shoulder throw to Jalin Marshall for 26. At Oregon 43, Elliott for one. Jones shrugs off blitzing LB Rodney Hardrick, throws too high for Eliiott. On third-and-9, Jones keeps for six. Buckeyes will go for it on fourth-and-3 at the 36. Marshall around right end for first down by an inch.
On first down at the 33, Jones under pressure too high for Curtis Samuel at the 10. On second down, Elliott breaks clear up the middle for 33-yard touchdown.
Hold on PAT forces 30-yard boot by Sean Neurnberger, which he makes.
8:57 p.m.: Second series for the Ducks.
Mariota on dumpoff to Keanon Lowe up the middle for 30. Tyner for four on first down at the 44, then three around left end. On third-and-3, pass to Nelson dropped — would have been good for first down.
Ian Wheeler punt tapped back into field by Dior Mathis, downed at OSU 3.
8:51 p.m.: Ohio State accepts touchback.
How does Oregon defend Cardale Jones and Ezekiel Elliott? On first down in pistol, Jones audibles and handoff to Elliott up middle for two. On second-and-8, Jones scrambles right for four on apparent screen set up to the left. On third-and-4, Jones does what Jones does, overpowering two Ducks at the sticks for six yards and a first down at the OSU 37.
First-down run by Elliott over left guard for three. On second-and-7, Jones to Jalin Marshall in left flat for no gain. On third-and-7, Ducks rush four and Jones looks to run left, but is tackled by S Reggie Daniels after three yards.
Cameron Johnston’s punt fair caught at Oregon 10.
Oregon 7, Ohio State 0, 12:21 left in first quarter
8:44 p.m.: How fast will Ducks go in first series, with nerves? Marcus Mariota to Byron Marshall twice for 16 yards and a first down. First down run by Thomas Tyner for four. On second-and-6, Tyner has huge space up the middle for 14, fumbles but recovers at the Buckeyes 42.
Tyner for seven on first down. Bosa already with hands on hips. Tyner for four for a first down at the 31. Mariota keeps for six, but fumbles on tackle by Curtis Grant and Joey Bosa, recovered by OSU. But replay shows Mariota is down well before the fumble. Ball spotted at the Ohio State 24.
We’ve only played 1:44, but the game is breathtaking so far. And the review takes three times that length.
On second-and-4, Mariota fakes the run, flips to the right sideline to Nelson for first down at the OSU 17.
Royce Freeman over right guard for two. On second-and-8, Mariota fakes the jet sweep left, keeps right for eight and first and goal at the 7.
On first down, Mariota scrambles up in the pocket and hits Keanon Lowe for the touchdown. OSU wasn’t close to defending it.
8:34 p.m.: Charles Nelson, freshman running back, takes a touchback. Ball on the 25 and we’re underway.
8:30 p.m.: Oregon wins the coin toss, and will receive.
8:23 p.m.: OK, do we really need the pre-game essay on ESPN that says the entrance tunnels smell like “adrenaline and sweat”? That’s called over-production.
C’mon, JerryWorld doesn’t have cleaning crews? That Tony Romo aroma just lingers on and on?
8:18 p.m.: ESPN picks: Desmond Howard (no surprise) takes Oregon (but thinks OSU is the better team?), David Pollack takes OSU. Lee Corso (for better or worse) takes Ohio State.
Kinda hard to take “nobody believes in us” from that.
8:12 p.m.: OK, it’s not quite as lopsided as Sudbury, but Doug Lesmerises says this is a Buckeyes crowd before kickoff.
8:10 p.m.: ESPN basketball analyst Dan Dakich is a great listen during games and one of Twitter’s finest trolls. He’s already stated he considers Urban Meyer and the points to be a “lock” tonight. But he’s also having a little fun with the circumstances before kickoff.
8:07 p.m.: No big game is really big without some funny ads or breakthrough technology. Not sure about the commercials tonight, but ESPN is unveiling — believe it or not — the “pylon cam.”
8:02 p.m.: The absence of the suspended Darren Carrington has been analyzed repeatedly for its impact on tonight’s game. Carrington was spectacular against Florida State, but the cold stats reveal that he provided 12 percent of the team’s receptions (37 over 14 games) and 16 percent of its pass yardage.
That’s substantial, but not pivotal when it comes to Oregon’s offense.
8 p.m.: Crowd filing in at JerryWorld, er, AT@T Stadium, and the colors of both fan bases should make it clear who dominates in the seats.
Given the way OSU travels, I’m guessing it might look something not too far from this in Sudbury.