The Ohio state Buckeyes won the inaugural National Championship under the College Football Playoff system 42-20 over Heisman winner Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks.
The Ducks came out strong, scoring on their first possession, but that was the only lead they would hold the entire game. Marcus Mariota had a solid game, passing for 333 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception while rushing for 39 more yards. The unquestioned star of the game was Ohio State sophomore running Back Ezekiel Elliott, who rushed for 246 yards and 4 touchdowns. Elliott went for over 200 yards in each of the Buckeyes last three games, and should be on most Heisman watch lists for next year.
In Ohio State’s last three games, they defeated the three Heisman finalists from this year (Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship, Amari Cooper of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and Marcus Mariota of Oregon in the National Championship), something that has never been done before. Those three wins also happened to be Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones’s first three career starts for the Buckeyes. He set a record for the fewest starts for a quarterback to win a National Championship game.
For Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, this is his third National Championship, his first with the Buckeyes (he win in 2006 and 2008 with Florida). His record as the Buckeyes head coach is now 38-3, without a single regular season conference loss. Urban Meyer Joins Nick Saban as the only head coaches to win a National Championship with a school and to have defeated that same school for a National Championship, after defeating Ohio State in the 2007 National Championship as the Gators head coach (Saban with with LSU in 2004 and then defeated then in 2012 as Alabama’s head coach). In all three of Meyer’s National Championship coaching victories, his team defeated the Heisman trophy winner (Troy Smith of Ohio State in 2007, Sam Bradford of Oklahoma in 2009 and Marcus Mariota of Oregon in 2015), a rather remarkable feat considering all Heisman winners between Bradford and Mariota won their bowl games.
Mariota is likely headed to the NFL, so the Ducks will have some big shoes to fill at the quarterback position. As for the Buckeyes, they potentially return two Heisman vote getters and a National Championship game winning starter at quarterback, so the look to be a force heading in to next season.