DALLAS (AP) Ohio State has already lost two quarterbacks to season-ending injuries. What happens if Cardale Jones goes down in the national championship game?
The Buckeyes’ next option is Jalin Marshall, who doesn’t have anything close to Jones’ passing ability. Marshall has thrown two passes this season – both were incomplete – and the team would likely run a lot of wildcat if he’s in the game.
”It’s kind of difficult and hard for him because he’s a receiver,” Jones said. ”We don’t expect him to get in and do things that a quarterback would do, but he should be able to get in and manage the game.”
Marshall was a quarterback in high school. Asked if Marshall could be relied upon to throw a fair amount of passes in a game, co-offensive coordinator Ed Warinner smiled and said: ”He’s going to be efficient at whatever we need him to do.”
Ohio State’s other option is freshman Stephen Collier. He’s been working with the scout team, portraying Oregon’s Heisman-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota, and has no desire to get on the field Monday night.
”The plan is for me not to play,” Collier said.
Ohio State offensive linemen take being called a bunch of slobs as a compliment.
”People always think like offensive linemen are sloppy, fat guys who want to eat pizza all the time, which we do,” tackle Taylor Decker said. ”We just thought it was kind of funny. We just started calling each other that. And it just kind of became our label.”
The Slobs usually convene at Decker and guard Pat Elflein’s place.
”We’ve got two big recliners that are awesome right there,” Elflein said. ”The kitchen is huge, huge kitchen, steaks and grill, all that stuff. We’ve got a fenced-in backyard. I’ve got big speakers. Yeah, it’s fun.”
Elflein said all the Buckeyes are welcome but all those big guys in one place can be a problem. Especially when several try to walk up the stairs from the backyard to the porch.
”It broke because there was so much weight on it,” Elflein said.
The same five linemen have started all 14 games this season for Ohio State. The five – Decker, Elflein, Jacoby Boren, Darryl Baldwin and Bill Price – average more than 6-foot-4 and 304 pounds.
Elflein said the landlord had to reinforce the porch.
”Luckily, nobody got hurt,” Elflein said.
Ohio State guard Pat Elflein wasn’t even sure his parents were going to be able to make it from Pickerington, Ohio, to Texas for the national championship game after being at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on New Year’s Day.
Now his parents, two brothers and sister will be able to attend Monday night’s game after the NCAA this week granted a waiver that allows the College Football Playoff to provide a reimbursement of up to $1,250 per parent or guardian to cover hotel accommodations, travel and meals.
”They are all going to be able to make it,” he said. ”That’s awesome.”
Two down, one to go for Ohio State’s defense.
When the Buckeyes take on Oregon in national championship game, they’ll be facing their third Heisman Trophy finalist in as many games. And this time they take on the winner, the Ducks’ Marcus Mariota.
Yet the Buckeyes aren’t dreading the showdown with the owner of the bronze statuette. After all, they’re 2-0 in the meetings with the guys invited to New York for the ceremonies.
”It’s brings more excitement, I guess,” safety Vonn Bell says. ”It steps up the games, it steps up the dedication, the preparation – it’s special in every way. What more could you ask for?”
The Buckeyes lambasted Wisconsin and tailback Melvin Gordon, No. 3 in the Heisman balloting, 59-0 in the Big Ten championship game on Dec. 6 in Indianapolis. The Buckeyes held Gordon to a meager 76 yards on 26 carries.
Then, in the first College Football Playoff semifinals, they took on top-ranked Alabama and wide receiver Amari Cooper in the Sugar Bowl. Ohio State trailed 21-6 early but ended up winning 42-35. Cooper, the runner-up to Mariota, was largely ineffectual with nine catches for 71 yards.
Now they take on Mariota, a junior who has thrown for 40 touchdowns with only three interceptions.
Follow more from the national championship at Inside the Bowls: http://collegefootball.ap.org/ap-now-inside-the-bowls .