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Ohio State vs. Oregon Halftime Analysis

Ohio State and Oregon are locked in a classic battle for the 1st ever College Football Playoff National championship. The score is 21-10, but what is the story behind the score? Let’s get in to some halftime analysis for Ohio State vs. Oregon!

– First off, Ezekiel Elliott is quickly becoming a cult hero on the national stage. He’s got 98 yards on 11 carries and 1 TD in the first half alone. In the last two-and-a-half games the Buckeyes sophomore running back now has 548 yards rushing. Most players would kill for that in half a season, let alone a quarter of one.

On the night, Elliott has one fewer yard than the entire Oregon Ducks rushing offense.

Elliott’s best highlight was his BEASTMODE touchdown to make it 7-7.

[h/t Barrett Sallee]

– How is it that Ohio State has turned the ball over twice and still has the lead? Well, when you’re the Buckeyes and you’ve held the Ducks to 2 of 8 on 3rd down conversions it certainly helps. OSU held the Ducks to 0-of-5 on 3rd down conversions before Oregon’s final series where they went 2-of-3 on the drive.

One of the things that is key to getting that stat for Ohio State has been the ability of both parts of the defense picking each other up. In the case of the biggest 3rd down of the game it was the defensive line picking up the secondary by forcing Mariota to get rid of the football before he was ready to do that.

Later in the 2nd quarter, Mariota was forced to go to second and third reads by a lock-down secondary and it resulted in a sack that killed the Ducks’ chances after getting one of the two turnovers. Earlier this week we talked about the ability of OSU’s defense to make Mariota make quick decisions and keep him in the pocket, and in the first half that has worked to perfection for the Buckeyes.

– In case you wondering if it was Bob Newhart playing the role of referee in this game:

– Few thought that Cardale Jones would want to or need to keep up with Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, but the two quarterbacks have had similar halves of football. Jones is 10 of 15 for 171 yards and one touchdown, while Mariota is 18 of 23 for 193 yards and one touchdown as well.

While Mariota’s numbers are a bit better, Jones’ ability to keep with the ultimate Jones (see what I did there) in the college football world bodes well for the Buckeyes’ chances. The scary part is that those of us watching the “Film Room” feed have seen numerous occasions for even bigger numbers for Jones. Look for the coaches to get together and make the adjustments needed to keep Jones from having to be the one that the game is counting on, but also let him to continue to make the big plays that he has been already.

– Ohio State is killing the Oregon offense’s ability to run at any real pace by doing the one thing that was needed off the bat — stop the run game. Currently the Ducks have 99 yards on 26 carries for an average of 3.8 yards per carry.

That won’t win the ballgame when the Buckeyes can just tee off on 2nd and 3rd & long situations. Look for the Ducks to try and re-establish the run, which worked very well on the opening drive and not so much after that, in the second half.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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