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Heisman Trophy finalists don’t bother Ohio State

Ohio State has shut down two of the three Heisman Trophy finalists its played, but still must face Heisman winner Marcus Mariota in the national title game. (AP photo)

Ohio State has shut down two of the three Heisman Trophy finalists its played, but still must face Heisman winner Marcus Mariota in the national title game. (AP photo)

Play Wisconsin and shut down stud running back Melvin Gordon.

Check.

Play Alabama and hold Amari Cooper, the nation’s top receiver, to mostly short passes.

Check.

Play Oregon and negate quarterback Marcus Mariota.

That remains to be seen in tonight’s College Football Playoff national championship game.

What do those three names have in common?

They finished in the top three of the Heisman Trophy voting, which means the Buckeyes can go 3-0 against Heisman finalists if they can knock off Mariota, who won the trophy last month, and the Ducks.

Think about that. Ohio State will face all three of the Heisman finalists in this remarkable season.

For all the talk about the Ohio State offense not missing anything behind backup QBs J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones, the Buckeyes’ defense has taken out two of three, guys that gave defenses all sorts of problems this season.

Ohio State had no trouble with Gordon, who led the nation with 2,587 yards and tied for the FBS lead with 32 TDs this season. The Buckeyes held him to 76 yards and no TDs on 26 carries in a 59-0 win in the Big Ten title game.

Cooper caught nine passes, but almost all were underneath the coverage, holding him to 71 yards receiving in the 42-35 Sugar Bowl victory. Cooper led the nation with 115 catches and was second with 1,727 yards and 16 TD catches.

Now up is Mariota.

He won the Heisman in a season in which he’s thrown for 4,21 yards and 40 TDs with only three interceptions. He’s also rushed for 731 yards and 15 more scores.

Do the Buckeyes have another win in them?

Or is it Oregon’s turn to finally claim that elusive national title?


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