Alabama 14-7-7-7 — 35
Ohio State 6-14-14-8 — 42
Ezekiel Elliott ran for 230 yards and 2 touchdowns and Cardale Jones threw for 243 and another score in his second-career start and No. 4 Ohio State knocked off top-ranked Alabama 42-35 in the Sugar Bowl on Thursday night.
With the win, the Buckeyes (13-1) advance to the National Championship Game, where they’ll meet No. 2 Oregon, 59-20 winners over Florida State in the other semifinal of the inaugural College Football Playoff.
The Crimson Tide (12-2) had one last chance from the Ohio State 42-yard line, but Blake Sims’ Hail Mary attempt was intercepted by Tyvis Powell in the end zone.
The Bucks and Ducks face off in the title game on Monday, Jan. 12, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
For complete stats and the final boxscore, click here.
Sims’ Final Hail Mary Attempt Was Intercepted
Down 42-35 with 8 seconds left at the Ohio State 42-yard line, Alabama had one last chance. But Blake Sims’ Hail Mary attempt was intercepted by Tyvin Powell, ending the game.
Ezekiel Elliott Raced 85 Yards For a TD to Extend OSU’s Lead 42-28
Ezekiel Elliott burst through the line and then outran the Alabama defense for an 85-yard touchdown run in the 4th quarter.
Cardale Jones passed to Michael Thomas for the 2-point conversion and a 42-28 lead with 3:16 left.
Elliott, named the game’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player, rushed for 230 yards and 2 scores on just 20 carries.
Sims And Cooper Hooked up Twice For Touchdowns
Blake Sims hit Amari Cooper for a 6-yard touchdown, their 2nd of the game, to cut Ohio State’s lead to 42-35 with 2:28 remaining.
Alabama drove 65 yards in 1:25 with the big play being a 51-yard pass from Sims to DeAndrew White.
The Tide tried the onsides kick, but it was recovered by the Buckeyes.
Late in the 1st quarter, Sims found Cooper for a 15-yard touchdown and a 14-6 Alabama lead.
Sims finished 22 of 36 for 237 yards with the 2 scores, but he also threw 3 interceptions.
Cooper finished with 9 catches for 71 yards.
OSU Gave Alabama Great Field Position With a Bad Punt, But Came Up With an INT
A 21-yard punt by Cameron Johnston gave Alabama the ball at the Ohio State 23-yard line.
But on the first play of the drive, Sims threw his 2nd interception of the game, this one by Vonn Bell.
Bell returned it 12 yards to the OSU 13.
But Alabama forced a 3 and out and a Buckeye punt. This time Johnston got off a better kick – 51 yards.
Johnston was hit on the kick and went down, causing a flag to be thrown. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer thought a roughing the punter penalty should have be called, which would’ve given the Buckeyes a 1st down. But only a 5-yard running into the punter was called, so OSU declined.
Sims And Alabama Cut Into OSU’s Lead Late in The 3rd Quarter
After falling behind 34-21 on Steve Miller’s 41-yard interception return for a touchdown, Sims atoned for his costly turnover and scored on a 5-yard run to cut Ohio State’s lead to 34-28.
Sims led an 84-yard drive, with the biggest play being a 52-yard pass to Derrick Henry to the Buckeyes’ 17.
Steve Miller’s Pick 6 Extended Ohio State’s Lead to 13 Points
Steve Miller intercepted a Sims pass and returned 41 yards for a touchdown, extending Ohio State’s lead to 34-21 with 3:21 left in the 3rd quarter.
It was the first Pick 6 thrown by an Alabama QB since the 2007 season.
A 60-yard punt by Johnston pinned Alabama at its own 1-yard line. The Crimson Tide moved the ball to their own 36, but Miller stepped in front of the Sims pass on a 3rd down play.
Devin Smith Caught a Long TD to Give OSU The Lead Early in The 3rd Quarter
Ohio State wasted little time getting in the end zone when Devin Smith caught a 47-yard touchdown pass from Cardale Jones just over 2 minutes into the 3rd quarter.
The score gave the Buckeyes a 27-21 lead.
Jones was 4-for-5 for 68 yards on the drive.
OSU Scored on a Trick Play Late in The 2nd Quarter
Michael Thomas made a toe-tapping 13-yard touchdown catch on a trick play pass from fellow receiver Evan Spencer late in the 2nd quarter to bring Ohio State to within 21-20 at the half.
Cardale Jones was 3-for-3 for 27 yards and got into the red zone with a 24-yard run.
Ohio State Responded to a Tide TD With One of Its Own
Elliott capped a 71-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run with 2:55 left in the 1st half, cutting the Tide’s lead to 21-13.
After taking a 21-6 lead, Alabama’s Reuben Foster put a big hit on Ohio State kick returner Curtis Samuel.
The Tide was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the play, giving the Buckeyes an extra 15 yards.
It seemed to have sparked Ohio State.
Cardale Jones was 5-for-7 for 70 yards on the drive. Jones hit Jalin Marshall on 2 26-yard receptions.
Alabama lost All-America safety Landon Collins on the drive and he retreated to the locker room. He returned to the sideline on the Tide’s ensuing possession.
Cyrus Jones Intercepted a Cardale Jones Pass, Then Yeldon Ran For a TD
T.J. Yeldon ran a score in from 2 yards out to give Alabama a 21-6 lead midway through the 2nd quarter.
Yeldon’s touchdown was set up when Cyrus Jones intercepted a Cardale Jones pass and returned it 32 yards to the Ohio State 15-yard line.
Ohio State Responded to Alabama’s TD With Another Field Goal
Cardale Jones hit Devin Smith with a 40-yard pass to the Alabama 1-yard line, but Ohio State had to settle for another field goal.
Sean Nuernberger made it a 7-6 game in the 1st quarter with a 21-yard FG.
Alabama Forced a Fumble, Then Henry Ran For a TD
OSU forced another 3 and out on Alabama’s second possession and the Tide got a 73-yard punt from JK Scott.
The very next play, Ezekiel Elliott ran for 17 yards, but fumbled and Landon Collins recovered for Alabama at the Ohio State 33-yard line.
After an 8-yard run by Blake Sims, Derrick Henry took it to the end zone from 25 yards out.
Henry finished with 95 yards on 13 carries. Yeldon added 47 yards on 10 totes.
Ohio State Struck First With a FG
Set up by a 54-yard run by Elliott, Ohio State got on the board first with a Nuernberger 22-yard field goal.
QB Cardale Jones added a 12-yard run, which included a nifty spin move, on the drive.
OSU forced Alabama to a 3 and out in the Tide’s first possession.
Preview: Top-Ranked Alabama and No. 4 Ohio State Set For Sugar Bowl
Nick Saban and Urban Meyer are very familiar with each other.
Saban’s Alabama team and Meyer’s then-Florida Gators met 3 times, with the Crimson Tide winning twice.
Now Meyer is at Ohio State and his 4th-ranked Buckeyes (12-1) take on top-ranked Alabama (12-1) and Saban in the Sugar Bowl on Thursday night. A spot in the National Championship Game is on the line.
During the Bowl Championship Series era, Meyer and Saban combined to win 6 national titles, with Saban claiming 4 of them.
No. 2 Oregon advanced the title game with a 59-20 drubbing of 3rd-ranked Florida State in the Rose Bowl.