Yesterday the best of the Big Ten, Ohio State, took on the best of the SEC, LSU, in college football’s version of the Super Bowl, the BCS Championship Game. In the end, despite jumping out to a 10 point lead, Ohio State was no match for the speed of LSU’s defense or the execution of its offense, and the best the Big Ten had to offer failed short losing the game 24-38.
Early on though, it looked like Ohio State would make a game out of it, when star halfback Chris Wells took the a handoff on the fourth play from scrimmage and raced 65 yards for a touchdown. Then after a quick three and out by LSU, Ohio State quarterback Todd Boeckman found Brandon Saine on a 44 yard pass to get the Buckeyes in field goal distance. Ryan Pretorius 25-yard field goal put Ohio State up 10-0 after only 2-1/2 minutes of play.
But that was as good as it got for the Buckeyes. LSU promptly responded with a long 14 play drive that netted them a field goal, and an Ohio State fumble late in the first quarter set up Matt Flynn’s first touchdown pass. Flynn, who ended a flawlessly executed game with four passing touchdowns, hit his tight end for a quick 13-yard score.
With the score knotted up 10-10, Ohio State’s offense began to falter. After a blocked field goal that seem to change the momentum of the game in LSU’s favor, and a second touchdown pass from Flynn, Ohio State could not respond. Pressured constantly by a pass rush that produced five sacks, Todd Boeckman threw a pass away to LSU cornerback Chevis Jackson. Jackson who earlier broken up what looked to be an Ohio State touchdown reception, and who would later pick up a Buckeye’s fumble, raced 34 yards with the pickoff to set up LSU’s third touchdown of the half. The score would send LSU to the locker room with a 24-10 lead at half time.
The two teams would go on to trade a pair of touchdowns in each of the next two quarters, but Ohio State would not recover from its halftime deficit. The win marked the 4th time this season that LSU has rallied from a 10 point deficit to win a game. Ohio State on the other hand performed a lot better than they had in their BCS Championship loss to Florida last year. Chris Wells who had over 100 yards rushing by halftime, ended the game having rushed for 146 yards, and the Buckeyes even managed to out gain LSU in total yards (353-326). Yet four turnovers and 89 yards lost to penalties were too much to overcome, and in the end, LSU had its second national title in the era of the BCS Championship.
Matt Flynn, LSU’s quarterback, picked up the games most valuable player award, and Ohio State was left with their 9th straight defeat to an SEC team in a bowl game. The Buckeye’s loss propelled a second SEC team, Georgia, up the rankings and into second place in at least one major poll, which leaves one to wonder if an LSU-Georgia game might have made for a better Championship match.