The Buckeyes' season culminated with them hoisting the trophy as champions of the first College Football Playoff. Their journey to that point included three quarterbacks, 14 wins and a number of moments that shifted their season.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY SportsTommy Gilligan
No more Miller
Before the season even began, the Buckeyes were dealt what seemed to be a crippling blow, losing potential Heisman candidate Braxton Miller to a season-ending shoulder injury. Redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett, who had never before made a start, became the Buckeyes’ signal-caller.
In his second start (and first at The Horseshoe), Barrett struggled, completing just 31 percent of his passes and throwing three picks, as the young Buckeyes fell to the Virginia Tech Hokies 35-21. Many thought the loss was a sign of a disappointing season ahead in Columbus.
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY SportsGreg Bartram
Hanging on in Happy Valley
The Buckeyes blew a 17-0 halftime lead but 100-plus yards from running back Ezekiel Elliott and a “walk-off sack” from Joey Bosa scored the Buckeyes a dramatic 31-24, double-overtime win at Penn State
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY SportsEvan Habeeb
At 7-1, the Buckeyes traveled to East Lansing for a colossal showdown against Michigan State, the team that ended their title hopes the year prior. Barrett was exceptional, scoring five times (three through the air, two on the ground), as the Buckeyes took another step toward a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game.
The next man up for the Buckeyes went down for the season, fracturing his right ankle, in the Buckeyes’ win against Michigan. Barrett had grown into the role of starting quarterback as the weeks went on, so much so that some were throwing his name into the ring for the Heisman Trophy.
Jones’ B1G coming out party
One season, third quarterback – no one knew what to expect when the Buckeyes turned to their third-string quarterback, redshirt sophomore Cardale Jones. Like Barrett before him, Jones had never before started a collegiate game. Enter Indianapolis and the conference championship game against Wisconsin. All Jones did was throw three touchdowns and help lead Ohio State to a 59-0 thrashing of the Badgers and a berth in the College Football Playoff.
Elliott’s Sugar Bowl scamper
When Ezekiel Elliott gets into the open field, watch out. In the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Superdome against SEC power Alabama, Elliott racked up a Sugar Bowl-record 230 yards and notched what would ultimately be the game-winning touchdown, an 85-yard burst to the end zone. That sprint for six silenced the SEC and sent shockwaves through the sport as the No. 1 Crimson Tide were eliminated, ensuring an SEC team would not reach the title game for the first time in eight years.
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
The fourth-seeded Buckeyes were once again underdogs to the No. 2 Oregon Ducks in the National Championship Game. No big deal to a team that became very used to overcoming potential pitfalls. Despite losing the turnover battle four to one, Ohio State was the better team throughout much of the night in Arlington, stymying the Ducks in the red zone and converting their offensive opportunities inside the 20 into six points a pop. A magical run to the title was fittingly culminated by an Elliott one-yard touchdown run (capping another record-setting night for him with 236 yards and four rushing touchdowns) to ice a 42-20 championship victory.