Marcus Mariota had the spotlight shining bright on him entering the 2015 inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship game Monday night.
But the Heisman Trophy winner couldn’t stop Ezekiel Elliott from literally running away with the national title for Ohio State. The sophomore running back rushed for 246 yards and four touchdowns on 36 carries to lead the fourth-ranked Buckeyes to a 42-20 victory over No. 2 Oregon at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Cardale Jones threw for 242 yards and a touchdown, playing every bit as calm and composed under pressure in only his third career start.
"The chase is complete They accepted the mission," Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said live on ESPN after the victory.
Added Jones: "It's a dream come true. It's just an unreal feeling."
LeBron James, in attendance, even told Jones, "'Way to do it for the hometown," in support of Ohio.
Between Ohio State's defeat of No. 1 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day and Monday night's victory over Oregon, any talk of the Buckeyes not deserving the fourth and final playoff seed from the playoff selection committee had vanished just like Mariota's chances to win a national title.
The Ducks failed to take advantage of four Buckeyes' turnovers. When the Ducks were able to pull within 21-20 with 6:39 left in the third quarter, the Buckeyes responded with back-to-back touchdown drives from Elliott, who also scored his fourth TD of the game with 28 seconds remaining.
Monday night's victory marks the third national title for Meyer, who led the Florida Gators to national championships in 2006 and 2008.
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(Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)