Ohio State looks to bring the National Championship back home. They will have their hands full with the Oregon offense tonight. Here are some things Ohio State has to do to win.

Ohio State has to win the time of possession battle. They have to hold onto the ball for almost 40 minutes to win. Oregon’s offense doesn’t need much time to score. They can have a 10 play 72 yard touchdown drives in under 3 minutes. But, like any good offense you have to keep them on the side line.

Ohio State will have to establish the run. The key to keeping Oregon’s offense on the sideline is running the ball. Fortunately for the Buckeyes running the ball is their strength. Ezekiel Elliott has taken his game to another level in the 2nd half of the season. I expect him to have a dominating performance like he did against Alabama. Even with that being said, the true key to Ohio State rushing attack is Cardale Jones. 12 Gauge needs to have some 3rd down runs like he did in the Sugar Bowl. Especially in 3rd and short. He also needs to establish the passing game early so the defense can’t pack the box.

The defense has to play well on 1st down. Oregon seems to always find ways to get 5 or 6 yards on 1st down. The key is to get them off schedule and force them into some 3rd and longs, which they aren’t comfortable with.

Ohio State needs to win the turnover battle. In most games whoever wins the turnover battle wins the game, but it’s extremely important in tonight’s game. Oregon can convert turnovers into points better than any team in the country. Jones and Elliott have to be careful with the ball.

The defense needs to get pressure on Mariota. Getting pressure on Mariota and knocking him to the ground is the best way to keep Oregon’s offense off schedule. Sacks and incompletions are the best way to slow the offense down.

Win the line of scrimmage. Ohio State needs to dominate the line on both sides of the ball. They need to wear them down. Ohio State is the more physical team. They need to let Oregon know that they are too right out of the gate.

Cardale Jones has to be the same game he was the last 2 games. Ohio State can’t overcome a bad game by Jones. It’s as simple as that. I hope to see some long bombs to Devin Smith like we’re used to seeing.

Final Score Prediction: Ohio State 38 Oregon 31.


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