ARLINGTON, Texas — Eleven plays, 75 yards, seven points on the board. And it took the No. 2 Oregon Ducks just 2:39 to do it.
But No. 4 Ohio State ran up 21 unanswered points before taking a 21-10 lead into halftime of the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday night.
After redshirt-junior quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota led his team down the field to take an early advantage, OSU redshirt-sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones took over at his own 25-yard line.
The teams traded punts on the next two drives, before OSU found itself in a fourth-and-two situation in Oregon territory.
Redshirt-freshman H-back Jalin Marshall picked up the first by the nose of the ball, and two plays later, sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott weaved through the defense for a 33-yard touchdown, tying the game at seven with 4:36 to play in the first quarter.
The Buckeye defense benefited from a dropped pass by Oregon on its next drive, and the offense took advantage with a second-straight touchdown drive, taking a 14-7 lead on a touchdown pass from Jones to redshirt-junior tight end Nick Vannett.
After an Oregon punt and a Jones fumble, the Ducks drove down to the OSU three-yard line, but came up short on fourth down.
OSU broke through to move into Oregon territory, but a fumble by redshirt-junior wide receiver Corey Smith gave the ball back to the Ducks at their own nine-yard line.
A sack by junior defensive lineman Adolphus Washington forced a three-and-out for Oregon.
On the ensuing drive, a 45-yard pass from Jones to senior wide receiver Devin Smith set up a short touchdown run by Jones, giving the Buckeyes a 21-7 lead.
Oregon picked up a field goal on its final drive of the half, giving OSU an 11-point advantage at the break.
If the Buckeyes hold on to the lead, they’ll pick up their eighth national title, while the Ducks are searching for the first championship in program history.