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No team has overcome more to get into the playoffs than the Buckeyes. Ohio State lost starting quarterback and Heisman hopeful Braxton Miller before the season to injury. But losing Miller certainly didn’t derail the Buckeyes’ of playoff aspirations.

The hope for the 2014 season was placed on freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett. The first few games were rough. Ohio State opened the season at Navy and they found themselves behind halfway through the 3rd quarter, until Barrett delivered an impressive 80 yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith to give the Buckeyes the lead and the win. He would go on to struggle the next week in a 35-21 loss to Virginia Tech at home. Barrett looked awful and finished the game 9/29 for 219 yards and 3 interceptions. He was sacked 7 times in the game. Barrett looked like he was not the man for the job. The Buckeyes’ playoff hopes looked to be all but over at this point.

However, Ohio State would go on to win their next 4 games with ease. The defining game for the Buckeyes’ season was at Penn State. The Buckeyes responded when they had their backs against the wall despite J.T. Barrett’s bad start to the game. It’s hard for a freshman to go on the road and play well in Happy Valley. Penn State came back from a 17 point deficit to force overtime. Then, the Freshman took control of the game in overtime. He rushed for two touchdowns in OT and won the game for the Buckeyes. Joey Bosa sealed the game with a 4th down sack. The Buckeyes were able to escape with a win and keep their playoff hopes alive.

Two weeks later the Buckeyes traveled to East Lansing to get revenge on the Spartans. Last season’s national title hopes were killed by the this team and the Buckeyes were determined not to let that happen again. J.T. Barrett and the Buckeyes dominated the game from start to finish. Barrett accounted for 5 touchdowns including 2 rushing touchdowns. The Buckeyes scored 49 points against one of the best defenses in the country. They proved to the nation that the playoffs could be a serious possibility.

Next up: Michigan. The Buckeyes went into ‘The Game’ on a 9 game winning streak. They were determined to not let the Wolverines end their playoff chances. The Game was back and forth, until the Buckeyes scored on a 44 yard touchdown run by Ezekiel Eliott followed by a 33 yard fumble return for a touchdown by Darron Lee. The story of the game was the loss of quarterback J.T. Barrett. He suffered a gruesome knee injury after landing on it the wrong way.

The Buckeye’s playoff hopes were now on 3rd string quarterback Cardale Jones from Cleveland. The Buckeyes were underdogs going into the Big Ten Championship Game against Wisconsin. The defense had to find a way to stop Heisman hopeful Melvin Gordon, and they did. Ohio State’s defense shut out Wisconsin and held them to only 258 yards. On the other side, the Buckeyes dominated the number 2 ranked Wisconsin defense. Cardale Jones threw for 257 yards and 3 touchdowns. Ezekiel Elliott had 220 yards on the ground and finished the game with 2 touchdowns of his own. Ohio State won the game 59-0 and won the Big Ten Championship. The win also propelled them over TCU and into the inaugural College Football Playoffs.

Urban Meyer has done his best coaching with this year’s team in his entire career, and that is saying something. He made the players believe that they were capable of winning, even when everyone else in the sports world gave up on them. No other team has the ability to replace two Heisman quality quarterbacks like Ohio State did. It is truly a reflection of the great leadership there is on this team.

The Buckeyes will play Alabama in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day. The winner will go on to the National Championship game. If we’ve learned anything about the 2014 Buckeyes, it’s to never count them out. The Buckeyes are good enough to beat any team in the playoffs and it’s almost time to see if they can bring the National Championship back home to Ohio where it belongs.

@CST_JacksonF

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