Sharp Schutter on the Sugar Bowl
Ohio State wasn’t supposed to be here.
A preseason injury to Braxton Miller that sidelined him for the year was supposed to halt all hopes of the Buckeyes ousting Michigan State as the Big Ten East’s best team.
Ohio State finished the regular season 11-1, including a victory over the Spartans in East Lansing.
When Miller’s backup J.T. Barrett suffered went down against Michigan and was ruled out for the remainder of the year, nobody gave the Buckeyes a fighting chance against Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game.
Ohio State thrashed the Badgers 59-0 behind third-string quarterback Cardale Jones.
The Buckeyes entered Thursday’s Sugar Bowl game a 10-point underdog. With over three weeks for Nick Saban to prepare, nobody believed a team anchored by a third-string quarterback could take down a mighty SEC power like Alabama.
Ohio State took down the Crimson Tide 42-35 and are one win away from claiming its eighth national championship in program history.
Every obstacle that has emerged this season has been hurdled by the Buckeyes.
A team that was expected to slump into a year of mediocrity without its best player is alive and well, hunting down a national championship. Over the course of the season, Ohio State’s desire to win has trumped every card its opponents have thrown.
That’s why Urban Meyer is in the midst of the greatest coaching performance of his career. Somehow, he’s been able to mold a group of young, inexperienced talent into one of the finest oiled machines in the country.
What Ohio State lacks in senior leadership is countered by cohesiveness. There’s a “never say die,” attitude among this team that runs unparalleled in the sport.
That mentality was on full display in the semi-final game against Alabama.
After the Buckeyes fell behind 21-6 in the second quarter everyone waited for them to throw in the white flag. Everyone anticipated Ohio State to roll over and die like so many of the Crimson Tide’s victims.
Instead of letting Alabama dance on the streets of Bourbon Street to celebrate the beginning of the new year, the Buckeyes answered the call.
Ohio State scored the final two touchdowns of the first half and cut a 15-point deficit to only a single point headed into halftime.
The Buckeyes scored the first two touchdowns of the second half and never looked back. It was one of the most dominant performances a team outside the SEC has had against Nick Saban’s Alabama squad.
The team that wasn’t supposed to have a chance this season took down the favorite to win it all.
One final hurdle presents itself in front of the Buckeyes; a date with Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks on January 12th for the national championship.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, the Ducks have opened as seven-point favorites in the game, handing the underdog title to Meyer and Ohio State for the final time this season.
It’s nothing new to the Buckeyes, who seemed to have embraced the role as party-crashers. The opponent, point spread and favorite hasn’t mattered all season and it’s highly unlikely it’ll be relevant when the game is underway.
Not much was expected of Ohio State coming into 2014.
Now, Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes are one win away from claiming the rights to be called national champions.
That would be one hell of an ending to the nation’s biggest underdog story.
FanRag Sports Wants to Know:
Is Urban Meyer the best coach in college football?
Will Ohio State or Oregon Win the College Football Playoff Championship?
Will the Buckeyes be able to shut down Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota?
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