01/12/15 by Matthew S. Vandriak
And then there were two.
Ohio State and Oregon are the two teams that will play for the first ever College Football Playoff Championship. For Oregon, this championship appearance was kind of expected. But Ohio State's run to the title game has been an improbable one. Let's see how these teams stack up against each other.
Oregon comes in 13 and 1, and were the champions of the PAC-12 Conference by virtue of blowing out Arizona in a rematch in the conference championship game. Ohio State comes in 13 and 1 as well, and were the champions of the Big 10 where they blew out Wisconsin in the conference title game.
Oregon averages 47.2 points per game, and gives up average of 22.3 points against. Ohio State averages 45 points per game and gives up an average of 22.1 points against. The Ducks average 311 yards passing per game and 241.9 yards rushing. The Buckeyes average 247.5 yards per game passing and 262.2 yards per game rushing.
Ohio State has won 12 games in a row since losing to Virginia Tech in the second week of the season. The Buckeyes have scored 40 or more points in 10 of those 12 wins. Oregon has won 9 games in a row since being upset by Arizona on October 2nd. The Ducks have scored more than 40 points in 12 of their 14 games this season.
Oregon is led by Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Marcus Mariota. Mariota has passed for 4,121 yards and thrown 40 TD's versus just 3 interceptions. He's also rushed for 731 yards and recorded 15 rushing scores. The Ducks leading receiver is Byron Marshall, who's recorded 66 catches for 834 yards and 5 touchdowns. Royce Freeman leads the ground attack for Oregon, having rushed for 1,343 yards and scoring 18 TD's.
Ohio State is led offensively by RB Ezekiel Elliott, who's rushed for 1,642 yards and scored 18 touchdowns. Michael Thomas led the Buckeyes in receptions, catching 50 passes for 746 yards and 9 TD's. Devin Smith led the team in receiving yards, with 886 on 32 catches. Smith also scored 12 times. Third string QB Cardale Jones will be making just his 3rd career start under center, but has passed for 618 yards and 6 TD's and just 1 interception in the Big 10 Championship and the Sugar Bowl.
To get here, Oregon ended Florida State's 29 game winning streak by thrashing the Seminoles in the Rose Bowl by the score of 59 to 20. Mariota accounted for 400 yards in total offense (338 yards passing/62 yards rushing) and contributed 3 touchdowns (2 pass/1 rush) to lead the Ducks to the win. Darren Carrington caught 7 passes for 165 yards and caught both touchdown passes. Thomas Tyner rushed for 124 yards and scored 2 TD's as well. The Ducks forced 5 Seminoles turnovers, which led to 34 points.
Ohio State upset #1 Alabama 42 to 35 in the Sugar Bowl to punch their ticket to the title game. Elliott led the way for the Buckeyes, rushing for 230 yards and 3 touchdowns. Jones, in just his second career start, passed for 243 yards and a touchdown. The Buckeyes intercepted Blake Sims 3 times and held the Crimson Tide rushing tandem of T. J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry to 142 yards rushing combined.
Oregon will be without Carrington, who is suspended for this game. Devon Allen, who was second on the team in receptions, will also be out due to a knee injury.
Oregon is looking for their first ever national championship. Oregon lost in the 2011 national championship game to Auburn, 22 to 19, as the Tigers kicked the game winning field goal as time expired. Ohio State is looking for their 7th national championship and first since 2002.
This will be the 9th meeting between these schools, with Ohio State winning the previous 8 matchups. The last meeting came in the 2010 Rose Bowl game, with the Buckeyes winning by the score of 26 to 17.
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