Buckeyes head to Dallas, title clash with Oregon
NEW ORLEANS – Ohio State is on to Dallas and the national championship game.
The No. 4 Buckeyes overcame an early deficit to beat No. 1 Alabama, 42-35, in the Sugar Bowl national semifinal Thursday night. Alabama led 21-6 in the second quarter before Ohio State ran off 28 straight to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
The Buckeyes advance to play No. 2 Oregon the first championship game of the College Football Playoff on Monday, Jan. 12 at AT&T Stadium in North Texas. Oregon ran — and passed — away from Florida State in the Rose Bowl, 59-20.
"We know the Oregon program very well," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. "We share many thoughts. Coach (Mark) Helfrich over there is a friend.
"It’s going to be great programs going there, and we’ll do the best we can to represent the great state of Ohio and the Ohio State University."
Led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota, Oregon has the nation’s second-highest scoring offense at almost 48 points per game. Ohio State is fourth in scoring at 45 points per game.
"It’s an honor to get to play against (Mariota)," Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee said. "But we’ll be ready."
Lee was named the Sugar Bowl’s Defensive MVP. Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott was the Offensive MVP after rushing for 231 yards and two touchdowns.
Elliott became the first player to rush for more than 200 yards against Alabama in Nick Saban’s time as Alabama’s head coach. Ohio State ran for 335 yards against an Alabama defense that came in ranked second nationally against the run, giving up just 88 yards per game.