Ohio State represented the Big Ten well in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame.
In one of the most intriguing matchups of bowl season, outside of the College Football Playoff, the Ohio State Buckeyes and Notre Dame Fighting Irish faced off in the Fiesta Bowl to gain some bragging rights heading into next season.
Both teams have young quarterbacks who are trying to prove that they’re the future of the sport as DeShone Kizer will be fighting with Malik Zaire for the starting job next season and Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett has already proven himself.
Many believe the Buckeyes should have made the playoff over their Big Ten foe Michigan State, who lost 38-0 in the Cotton Bowl. For the first half it looked like those people were correct, as Ohio State jumped out to a 28-7 lead and it was 28-14 heading into the half.
Notre Dame had a lot of ground to make up in the second half as well as holding the Buckeyes in check, but stopping Ezekiel Elliott was no easy task. While the Fighting Irish scored immediately to start the third quarter and make it a one-score game, Ezekiel Elliott responded with a 47-yard touchdown run.
Ohio State held the lead late in the game and the Buckeyes finished the season with 12 wins while the Fighting Irish finished 10-3.
Ezekiel Elliott has an absolute workhorse against Notre Dame and returned to his Heisman-level form. He rushed for 149 yards and four touchdowns on 27 carries in his final game as a Buckeye.
J.T. Barrett did it with his arm and his legs yet again, passing for 211 yards and a touchdown while rushing for another 96 yards.
DeShone Kizer didn’t win the game, but the sophomore quarterback played well, passing for 284 yards and two touchdowns. He also added a rushing score.
"We Love You, Ezekiel Elliott! #Buckeye4Life#BuckeyeNation#Buckeyes#OhioStatehttps://t.co/k2toayjweh— вυcĸeye_ ᔕᗯᗩG™ (@Soggy_McMuffin) January 1, 2016"
"Touchdown #2 | Ezekiel Elliott!! #Buckeyes#OhioState#BuckeyeNation@EzekielElliotthttps://t.co/vIoDZlGPb0— вυcĸeye_ ᔕᗯᗩG™ (@Soggy_McMuffin) January 1, 2016"
"Ezekiel Elliott dominated the 1st half of the Fiesta Bowl. Here are the three TDs he scored for the Buckeyes. https://t.co/cXI1fEBND3— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 1, 2016"
Ohio State came in as a 6.5-point favorite and the over/under was set at 56.5 points. The Buckeyes covered the spread and the two teams combined for more than 56 points as well.
The Buckeyes will open the 2016 season by hosting Bowling Green in an in-state battle. This should be an easy win for the Buckeyes who seem to be getting stronger by the year.
Notre Dame opens the 2016 campaign with a road contest against the Texas Longhorns. It will be interesting to see how much both teams improve over the offseason.