The Buckeyes are one of the most successful college football programs in the history of the sport, with a fierce rivalry against the Michigan Wolverines for the crown of the Big Ten conference. Ohio State Buckeyes have won 39 Big Ten titles, boasts seven Heisman Trophy winners, and are recognized as winning eight national championship titles.

Through 111 seasons, from 1904 to 2022, Ohio State’s record is 845-263-36. They have the second most wins of any college football program of all time.

Since their inception in 1890, Ohio State has grown into one of college football's most prestigious programs, landing top recruits and developing phenomenal talent who transition to the NFL to represent the Buckeyes at the next level.

Ohio State College Football Playoff HistorySince the College Football Playoffs' introduction during the 2014 season, the Ohio State Buckeyes have been featured in six games, two of which were College Football National Championship games. Ohio State’s CFP record stands at 3-3, including winning the inaugural CFP title under Urban Meyer.

The 2014 team featured stars such as Ezekiel Elliott, Michael Thomas, Curtis Samuel, Joey Bosa, and Vonn Bell. The Buckeyes defeated the Oregon Ducks 42-20 to win their first College Football Playoff title in January 2015.

That Buckeyes team featured quarterback Cardale Jones, who became the starter ahead of the Big Ten championship game following an injury to JT Barrett. A young Barrett had started the entire season after a preseason injury to planned starter Braxton Miller who had been the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year for two seasons in a row.

Jones led the Buckeyes the rest of the way, including an overwhelmingly 59-0  one-sided result against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship a few weeks prior to winning the national title.

Ranking the Five Greatest Playoff Moments of Ohio State Football History

  1. Justin Fields throws the fifth touchdown of the game to Chris Olave, putting the final nail in Clemson's hopes of a comeback - 2021 Sugar Bowl

Justin Fields' entire performance against Clemson is highlighted on this list, but his touchdown throw to Chris Olave in the third quarter of their 2021 college football semi-final deserves its own spot.

Ohio State had shot themselves into a strong lead and had been largely controlling the game thanks in part to a gutsy performance from Fields. They had however allowed Trevor Lawrence to drive down the field in the third quarter and throw a touchdown pass to Cornell Powell that made the game 35-21.

Fields had thrown an interception in the endzone that led to the Clemson score and Ohio State needed to answer to avoid the Tigers mounting a genuine comeback.

In what was a majorly important drive for the outcome of the game, Fields stepped up and controlled the moment. He dropped back on second and ten just inside his own half, looked right to his first option, came back to the left to look for his second option, and then unleashed a 60+ yard throw through the air to Olave in stride behind the defense for a stunning touchdown. The score once again put Ohio State three scores ahead, and it was without a doubt Fields' best throw of the day and one of the best of the season.

Olave had run a post route from the left-hand side and beat his man before also striding beyond the deep safety. Fields only had to glance his way after both shorter options were deemed unavailable, and he launched it deep. Olave caught it just a couple of yards short of the goal line, putting Clemson in the rearview mirror and sending Ohio State to the prestigious NCAA football tournament final against Alabama.  

  1. Cardale Jones smooth transition - 2014 CFP run

The Ohio State Buckeyes were one of the 2014 season favorites to make the inaugural College Football Playoff. However, not in the way that they eventually managed it. Quarterback Braxton Miller had been named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year for two seasons in a row and was set to lead the Buckeyes going into his third year.

Miller suffered a shoulder injury before the 2014 season that would ultimately end his career as a quarterback. Miller moved to wide receiver where he would play for the remainder of his career.

It was JT Barrett who took over as a redshirt freshman and led the Buckeyes to an 11-1 record in his 12 starts. Barrett had been freshman of the week several times and would eventually win the Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year award for his performance that year. However, Barrett was injured in the fourth quarter of the Buckeyes' final regular season game against Michigan, and a broken ankle meant his season was over and Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer had to turn to Cardale Jones.

Jones had thrown a few passes and had been used very sparingly but had never started a college football game. He would get his first start against the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten title game, and led the Buckeyes to an astonishing 59-0 victory.

Start number two saw Jones line up against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff. The Tide was the number one team in and the favorite for the National Championship title, and there weren’t many who gave Cardale Jones and the Ohio State Buckeyes a chance.

The Buckeyes led with their run game which featured an emerging Ezekiel Elliott and the utility of Curtis Samuel, but Jones did a great job coming into the lineup on the biggest stage and helping his team win.

Ohio State moved on to face the Oregon Ducks in the title game, where Jones would throw 16/23 passes for 242 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. It was once again Elliott who dominated on the ground, and the Buckeyes would be crowned National Champions in the inaugural year.

  1. Justin Fields six- touchdown performance against Clemson - 2021 CFP Semi-Final

Nobody gave the Buckeyes a chance against Trevor Lawrence and the Clemson Tigers. Lawrence was the generational talent. He had been heralded as the greatest player in all of the college football that season and had been a lock for the number one pick in the NFL Draft as a result.

We were supposed to see the Tigers blow past the Buckeyes and set themselves up for another national title to follow the heroics of Deshaun Watson in 2016.

Justin Fields and Ohio State had other plans. From the game's kickoff, the Buckeyes dominated in every facet of the game. They were heroic on defense and limited Trevor Lawrence’s options. They played well against Travis Etienne and Clemson's run game, but it was Fields who was simply on another planet that day.

Fields had started hot but took one of the most crunching hits you’ll ever see in the second quarter while trying to scramble for a first down. He was hit clean in the mid-section by an oncoming Clemson linebacker and the collision was heard around the stadium. 

What transpired was quite unbelievable. Not only did Fields return to the game, but he played one of the greatest games of his life, throwing six touchdowns on one of the biggest stages. Through gritted teeth, Fields put his team on his back and refused to back down. He had to have multiple shots to manage the pain but stayed locked in and just pushing.

The young star ended the game with 385 yards passing, six touchdowns, and one interception, plus 42 yards rushing. Fields completed almost 80% of his passes that day despite the early scare.  

  1. Zeke and the Ohio State Offense vs Oregon - 2014 National Championship

Cardale Jones did a great job managing the game and leading the offense in just his third start of his college career, but there's no doubt in any fan's mind that it was Ezekiel Elliott who emerged as the star of the show and the hero for Ohio State that night.

Elliott had had a breakout game earlier that season against the Cincinnati Bearcats, rushing for 182 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries. He was used sparingly in 2013 but started to show value early in the 2014 season. By the time the Buckeyes hit the CFP, he had turned into a budding star, able to carry a heavy load for an offense that was working through a major change at quarterback right before the biggest game of the season.

The second-year running back broke the 200-yard barrier for the first time in his young career in the Big Ten Championship game against Wisconsin, carrying the ball 20 times for 220 yards and two touchdowns.

He eclipsed the 200-yard mark again against Alabama and completed the hat trick of 200+ yard rushing games with his performance against Oregon. Elliott was unstoppable. He found the endzone four times while carrying the football on no less than 36 occasions, a career-high for him.

His performance during that run was a key difference-maker in the Buckeyes’ success down the stretch.

Elliott would win the National Championship in AT&T Stadium in January 2015, before going on to be drafted by the Dallas Cowboys and starting his pro career in that very stadium later that year

  1. Zeke breaks free sending Alabama home - 2014 College Football Playoff Semi-Final

Ezekiel Elliott’s performance in the Buckeyes' final three games that season deserves recognition, but one moment amongst those heroic performances stands out from the crowd.

Ohio State found themselves in a dogfight with Alabama late in the fourth quarter and was up just six points with three minutes and change left to play. The Buckeyes next drive would be the most important of the game and giving the football back to The Tide was not an option.

The Buckeyes had fought back from an early 21-6 deficit to a 34-21 lead with 28 unanswered points before The Tide scored to make the game 34-28.

The fourth quarter had been a stalemate for multiple possessions but it was Ezekiel Elliott who had the final say in the game. From the first down on their own 15-yard line, Elliott took a handoff outside, stayed patient waiting for blockers, cut back inside, and hit the hole with velocity. With that, he was off to the races and took the football 85 yards to the house, putting the game on ice and confirming Ohio State it was going to be victorious.

Ohio State had waited for their shot at Alabama. Few thought they could overcome them, but that’s exactly what they did. It was Ezekiel Elliott's run that will be forever etched in the memories of fans everywhere, in what is the greatest moment in Ohio State College Football Playoffs history.

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