Countdown to the National Championship: How Oregon and Ohio State's wide receivers stack up
In the days leading up to the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship, the Emerald will take a unit-by-unit look at Oregon and Ohio State, determining which team has the edge going into the showdown on Jan. 12 in Dallas. Today, we’ll look at each team’s wide receivers.
Before the Rose Bowl, offensive coordinator Scott Frost pointed out that he was “freaking out” about the wide receiver position back in August. But he was sure to say that the unit has become a strength of this Oregon team and a reason why its in the current position it sits in. Each setback this year seemingly played no negative effect, and the semifinal matchup against Florida State served as another example. Devon Allen left with an injury on the game’s opening kickoff, however Marcus Mariota connected with six different players for 338 yards in a 59-20 win.
Darren Carrington led the group with seven receptions for 165 yards and two touchdowns. He’ll make zero impact on the game Monday though. Carrington made headlines Friday after it was released that he was suspended due to a failed drug test.
Now, Oregon will be without both Allen and Carrington. Keanon Lowe and Dwayne Stanford, who combined for just two receptions for 21 yards on Jan. 1, will provide the only experience Ducks’ receivers have out wide. Elsewhere, Byron Marshall and Charles Nelson will take on an even higher ante.
Devin Smith is the nation’s number one deep threat. That’s what the numbers say at least. Smith leads the nation with 16 receptions of 20 yards or more and has accounted for 709 yards and 10 touchdowns on those plays. In the Buckeyes’ 42-35 Sugar Bowl win over Alabama, the senior caught just two passes, but for 87 yards and a touchdown.
On the season, Smith has averaged 27.3 yards per catch and has exposed virtually every secondary he’s come across.
Elsewhere, sophomore Michael Thomas leads the team in catches with 50 for 746 yards. Yet, the wide receiver production mostly drops off outside of those two.
Advantage – Ohio State
Oregon is now going into this game without two of its most versatile options at the wide receiver position. Carrington put to rest any reason to think Allen’s injury wouldn’t be overcome, however his absence causes even more doubt. For Ohio State, the big-play ability that Smith has is unlike any threat that an Oregon wide receiver poses.
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