The College Football Playoff era began with the 2014 season. The four teams left standing that year were Florida State, Oregon, Alabama, and Ohio State. As a little-used backup QB, Cardale Jones led the Ohio State Buckeyes to the 2015 national title.
Because Jones took over for an injured J.T. Barrett, he quarterbacked the Buckeyes to three straight wins over Wisconsin, Alabama, and Oregon to close out the season and win the national championship.
Cardale Jones led the Buckeyes to three consecutive victories
Big Ten Championship Game: Ohio State-59 Wisconsin-0
Ohio State forced four Wisconsin turnovers. Badger QB Joel Stave completed just 40% of his passes and threw three interceptions. And, the Buckeyes held Wisconsin to just 71 yards rushing.
OSU’s Jones was 12 of 17 for 257 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions. RB Ezekiel Elliot rushed for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns, averaging 11 yards per carry.
WR Devin Smith caught just four passes, but had 137 yards receiving and three touchdowns.
The Buckeyes gained 558 total yards.
College Football Playoff National Semifinal: Ohio State-42 Alabama-35
Ohio State forced three interceptions by Alabama quarterback Blake Sims. As a result, The Ducks were able to hold off a late Crimson Tide rally to win and advance to the title game.
Jones passed for 243 yards on 18 of 35 passing, and he threw a touchdown and an interception. Ezekiel Elliot ran for 230 yards and scored two touchdowns, averaging 11.5 yards per carry.
Ohio State gained 537 yards of total offense.
Cardale Jones Led Buckeyes to the Title as a Backup
College Football Playoff National Championship: Ohio State-42 Oregon-20
The Buckeyes held the Ducks scoreless in the fourth quarter. Oregon got to within a point at 21-20 on a third-quarter field goal, but that is close as they would get.
Jones was 16 of 23 passing, 242 yards and a touchdown, and an interception. He also added a rushing touchdown. Elliot rushed for 246 yards and four touchdowns. It was his third consecutive game of 200+ yards rushing.
The Buckeyes would finish the game with 538 yards of offense.
Productive 3-Game Stretch
Over their last three games, on their way to the national title, The Buckeyes produced the following offensive numbers:
- 1633 total yards gained
- 742 passing yards
- 5 passing TDs
- 2 INTs
- 696 rushing yards
- 8 rushing TDs
- 143 points scored
A little-used backup QB, Cardale Jones, led the Buckeyes to the 2015 national title.
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