3 takeaways from Ohio State's Fiesta Bowl win

Posted at 2:38 PM, Jan 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-01 19:51:38-05

The Ohio State Buckeyes felt like they deserved a spot in the College Football Playoff.

On Friday, they played like it.

The Buckeyes' dominant offensive performance at the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl propelled them to a 44-28 victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in front of 71,123 fans at University of Phoenix Stadium.

With the win, the Buckeyes won their fifth-ever Fiesta Bowl, tying ASU for second most all-time behind Penn State's six. Notre Dame fell to 1-4 in its Fiesta Bowl history.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer improved to 10-2 in bowl games, while Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly fell to 5-4.

Here are three big takeaways from OSU's win.

1. Buckeyes overcome Bosa's ejection


Ohio State was rolling along in the first quarter. They had an early 14-0 lead and looked to add to it with an interception off Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer in the first quarter.

But on that play, OSU defensive end Joey Bosa -- the projected No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft -- was called for a personal-foul targeting penalty, which wiped out the INT and, more importantly, kicked Bosa out of the game.

The Irish were more efficient on offense after Bosa's ejection, but their defense couldn't contain Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett or running back Ezekiel Elliott. Speaking of whom...

2. Elliott ties ASU's Fiesta Bowl record

The Fiesta Bowl was originally created specifically for the Sun Devils -- and in the second-ever Fiesta Bowl in 1972, ASU running back Woody Green rushed for four touchdowns in the Devils' 49-35 victory over Missouri. 


That record was unmatched until Friday, when Elliott ran wild on the Fighting Irish. The junior, who will declare for the 2016 NFL Draft, equalized Green's four rushing scores -- his fourth coming on a 47-yard run in the third quarter to give the Buckeyes a two-TD lead.

For the game, Elliott rushed for 149 yards on 27 carries to out-rush the entire Notre Dame team (121 yards on 32 carries), and he added a 30-yard reception in the second half.

3. Third-down conversions crush Irish souls.

On several occasions, Notre Dame needed just one more stop to halt to an Ohio State drive and get the ball back in the hands of its offense. But time after time, the Buckeyes came up with huge plays to move the chains.

Ohio State picked up a first down on 10 of its first 14 third downs Friday, compared to Notre Dame's 5 of 14 mark for the game. A pair of Buckeyes fourth-quarter third-down conversions led to a field goal and allowed the Buckeyes to chew up clock to help send the Ohio State faithful (and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey) home happy.