Best of Sugar Bowl: Buckeyes stamp their national championship ticket

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Best of Sugar Bowl: Buckeyes stamp their national championship ticket

This Sugar Bowl will be remembered for years by Ohio State, as the Buckeyes stamped their ticket to the national title game vs. Oregon on Jan. 12 in Arlington, Texas, with an enthralling 42-35 win vs. No. 1 Alabama. Here’s the best of the Sugar Bowl.

BEST RUN: On Ohio State’s first possession, RB Ezekiel Elliott took a handoff and headed around the right end. He curled around one Alabama defender and then leaped over another, dashing 54 yards to the Ohio State 5-yard line. But the Buckeyes had to settle for a field goal on the drive, taking a 3-0 lead.

BEST PASS: Trailing 7-3 in the first quarter, Ohio State saw Cardale Jones chuck a 40-yard pass to Devin Smith to the Alabama 1-yard line. The Buckeyes failed to tally a TD, settling for a field goal and a 7-6 deficit.

BEST CATCH: On a second-and-10 from the Alabama 13-yard line, Evan Spencer took a hand-off and lofted a pass to the left side of the end zone near the sideline. Michael Thomas leaped, grabbed the ball and somehow managed to tap a foot inbounds. Spectacular. That cut Alabama’s lead to 21-20 late in the first half.

BEST CALL: After Alabama had closed the score to 34-28 entering the fourth quarter, things looked like they could slip away for OSU. But that’s when the Buckeyes stuck with the run, executing a simple off tackle play for Ezekiel Elliott, who ripped off an 85-yard touchdown run to push the lead to 42-28.

BEST TURNOVER: On a third-and-7 at the Alabama 36-yard line with 3:21 left in the third quarter, Blake Sims dropped to pass. OSU linebacker Steve Miller picked it off and ran to the house to give the Buckeyes a 34-21 lead that essentially sealed the game.

BEST SACK: Clinging to a 27-21 lead in the third quarter and with Alabama in pursuit, Michael Bennett ended a drive by dropping Blake Sims on a third-and-8 to force a punt.

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About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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