Ohio State emphatically won the national championship against Oregon on Monday night, in the process making a case for Urban Meyer as the best coach in the country. However, a decision by Meyer to run the ball toward the end of the game rubbed many observers the wrong way.

The Buckeyes were leading by 15 points, 35-20, with less than two minutes left in the game when they got a first down at the Ducks’ 2-yard line. Meyer could have ordered his team to simply take a knee and let the clock run out, but instead, Ohio State gave the ball to running back Ezekiel Elliott on two straight plays.

Elliott got into the end zone, and with 28 seconds left, Ohio State got its final margin of victory, 42-20. No one can doubt that the Buckeyes had the best team in the game, but many felt that they didn’t make the best choice in the waning moments.

College football teams are often forgiven for running up the score during the regular season, when they may feel a bigger margin of victory will impress voters and boost their teams up the rankings, but obviously that wasn’t the case Monday. And it’s not like Elliott needed to pad his stats; he had already rumbled for three scores and 245 yards.

On the other hand, Meyer’s placid exterior belies such an intense, fiercely competitive nature that he had to leave Florida because of heart problems. The final score could have been the coach’s way of sticking it to everyone who objected to Ohio State’s very inclusion in the first-ever College Football Playoff. And if Oregon didn’t want the Buckeyes to score at the end, all the Ducks had to was stop them, right?

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