Buckeyes rally and Ducks rout in college semis

Fri Jan 2, 2015 1:54am EST
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(Reuters) - The Ohio State Buckeyes and Oregon Ducks earned victories in the Sugar and Rose Bowls on Thursday, booking spots in the national championship as American college football entered a new era with its first ever playoff games.

The fourth ranked Buckeyes stunned top-seeded Alabama Crimson Tide 42-35 in New Orleans, as quarterback Cardale Jones threw for 243 yards, rallying his team from a 21-6 deficit in the second quarter.

Jones put his team ahead to stay with a 47-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith in the third quarter, while running back Ezekial Elliott ran for 230 yards in the game.

"(Elliot)'s probably the most underrated back in the country," Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer told reporters.

"A lot of respect to our opponent. That was a sledgehammer game."

Earlier, second ranked Oregon crushed the unbeaten Florida State Seminoles 59-20 in Pasadena.

By winning the first ever semi-finals, the Buckeyes and Ducks will head to Arlington, Texas for the national championship game on Jan. 12.

The playoff replaces the poll system that decided which teams would meet in the national championship and the Ducks left no doubt that they belong in the title game after ending the third ranked Seminoles' 29-game winning streak.

"We just tried to out-team them," Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich told reporters.   Continued...

Jan 1, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) and linebacker Tony Washington (91) celebrate with the Leishman Trophy after defeating the Florida State Seminoles in the 2015 Rose Bowl college football game at Rose Bowl. Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports