Just as was the case with the semi-final round of the playoffs, the National Championship game, played in Arlington, Texas' AT&T Stadium, was a highly entertaining contest, with both teams having struggles. The game started exactly how most people would have expected, with Oregon scoring quickly. Taking the opening kickoff, Oregon ran 11 plays in just 2:39, moving 75 yards down the field and capping the drive with a seven-yard touchdown from Marcus Mariota to Keanon Lowe.
The momentum did not stay with the Ducks, however, as Ohio State would answer after a couple of traded punts, scoring on a 33-yard run from Ezekiel Elliott. The Buckeyes would back that score up with another on their next possession, needing to go just 46 yards after a Oregon punt. Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones would find Nick Vannett for the one-yard touchdown on a first-and-goal play, giving the Buckeyes a 14-7 lead in the first quarter.
The Ducks would again punt the ball, this time after a four-play drive gained 10 yards, but saw two false start penalties prevent a first down.
Ohio State would move into Oregon territory on their next possession, again looking like the would score. A 2nd-and-4 play, however, saw Jones fumble and Oregon's Alex Balducci come up with the recovery.
The turnover would be for naught, however, as the Ducks would go for it on 4th-and-Goal from the Ohio State three-yard line, and fail to score. Ohio State would again fumble the ball back to Oregon after the turnover-on-downs, this time on a 47-yard pass play which would have put the Buckeyes in a 1st-and-Goal situation from the Oregon nine-yard line.
The Ducks would go three-and-out before once again punting to Ohio State.
The lack of scoring from Oregon would allow the Buckeyes to extend the lead to two touchdowns on a six-play, 49-yard drive mid-way through the second period. The touchdown, pushing the scoreline to 21-7, came on a 3rd-and-Goal quarterback sneak form the one-yard line.
Oregon would finally add some more points when they ended a 12-play, 66-yard drive with a 26-yard Aidan Schneider field goal.
After an Ohio State punt and time running out on the Ducks' final first-half possession, the game reached halftime with the Buckeyes leading 21-10.
Coming back out from the break, Oregon appeared to finally find their rhythm. Ohio State received the opening kick, and started to drive, only to have Jones thrown an interception to Danny Mattingly at the Oregon 30-yard line. One play later, Mariota found Byron Marshall for a 70-yard touchdown, pulling it to a 21-17 score.
Ohio State would put together a six-play drive after the kickoff, but would actually end the possession with minus-two yards, and another turnover, this time a Jones fumble on a Tyson Coleman sack and forced fumble, with Arik Armstead recovering the loose ball.
Starting at the Ohio State 23-yard line, the Ducks would only be able to come away with a field goal after gaining a lone first down before being shut down by the Buckeye defense. Schneider connected for 23-yards, pulling Oregon to within one-point at 21-20.
The margin would not stay at one very long, however, as the Ohio State offense would methodically work their way down the field to find the endzone as the third quarter expired. Elliott would add his second touchdown of the night, this time on a nine-yard run.
Elliott and the Buckeyes were not done, though, as, after forcing another Oregon punt, Ohio State would again eat up clock while working their way down the field. A couple of Jones long passes, and several Elliott runs would find the Buckeyes on the Oregon two-yard line on 1st-and-goal. Elliott would then add his third score, punching it in and giving the Buckeyes a 35-20 lead.
The Ohio State defense then stood up the rest of the way, stopping Oregon on one possession and forcing a punt, then forcing a turnover on downs on the next drive.
Ohio State would add a touchdown with 28 seconds remaining, Elliott's fourth trip into the endzone.
Mariota would end the game with an interception as time expired.
The Heisman Trophy winning Marcus Mariota finished the game 24-for-36 for 333 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, along with 39 rushing yards on 10 carries for Oregon. Thomas Tyner added 62 yards on the ground on 12 carries, while Byron Marshall caught seven passes for 146 yards and a score.
For the Buckeyes, Cardale Jones, the team's third-string quarterback when the season began, ended the game with 242 passing yards on 16-for-23 throwing with a touchdown and an interception, adding 38 yards on 21 carries, with a touchdown. Ezekiel Elliott carried the ball 36 times for 246 yards and four touchdowns.