Ohio State came back from a big first half hole, overtaking No. 1 Alabama for a trip to the national championship game. Ezekiel Elliott led the way for the Buckeyes, rushing for a Sugar Bowl-record 230 yards and icing the game with a long touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Alabama’s offense was out of sync all night, consistently failing on third downs. Blake Sims struggled to get into rhythm and threw three interceptions, including one on a Hail Mary as time expired. Alabama would have been in dire straights if not for two first half turnovers that the offense turned into points, as well as two red zone stops.
Amari Cooper was relatively quiet despite two scores, never breaking loose for any huge plays. He had nine catches for 71 yards, but Ohio State did an excellent job of taking away the screens that he thrived on all season. Derrick Henry had 149 total yards but only got his hands on the ball 15 times.
Alabama struggled to slow down Cardale Jones, who spurred Ohio State on to 10-of-18 conversions on third down, keeping Alabama’s defense on the field for nearly 32 minutes.