ARLINGTON- Twelve years ago, the Ohio State Buckeyes won their last national championship against the Miami Hurricanes.
The word underdog rang through the ears on the 2002 Ohio State Buckeyes as the majority of the nation agreed that the Buckeyes would lose and likely be slaughtered by the Hurricanes offense led by Ken Dorsey and Kellen Winslow Jr.
As the Buckeyes return to the National Championship again after two failed attempts to win it in 2007 against the Florida Gators and 2008 against the LSU Tigers, the word underdog is their label once again.
Buckeyes Head Coach Urban Meyer finds himself on the opposite side of the coin. In 2007, he coached the Florida Gators. His team of underdogs became the champion. Meyer already proved he coach an underdog team to win the ultimate prize.
The Ducks defense will be tested as they must shut down Cardale Jones, Ezekiel Elliott and Devin Smith. Elliot set a new bowl record with 230 rushing yards in Ohio State’s 42-35 victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
The Buckeyes rank 10th in rushing offense averaging 262 yards per game. They rank 52nd in pass offense with
Will the Buckeyes do to the Ducks what the Gators did to Ohio State? Perhaps Oregon will finally defeat Ohio State for the first time ever. Ohio State never lost to Oregon.
Ohio State’s toughest challenge is limiting Marcus Mariota’s production. They will need to apply pressure via multiple blitz packages and making Mariota nervous from Oregon’s’ first drive until the end of the game.
The Ducks high-octane offense is capable of decimating Ohio State’s secondary and Oregon is known for their speed. However, the loss of Darren Carrington’s due to suspension because of marijuana use will limit the Ducks offensive production.
Oregon runs a similar fast paced offense which features 12 second snaps and quick play calling.
The Ducks offense ranks 3rd in the nation in total yards per game. They rank 18th in rushing averaging 241.9 yards per game. The Ducks passing attack ranks 11th with 311 yards per game.
The last time Ohio State and Oregon faced off was in the 2010 Rose Bowl. The Buckeyes won 26-17.
Ohio State proves to be too strong on offense. Jones will be a dominant dual threat quarterback and Elliot will rush for over 100 yards and score two touchdowns. The Buckeyes will win a close game 49-42.