Postgame Notes – 2015 Sugar Bowl
ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL NOTES
JANUARY 1, 2015
Miller-Digby Award – Most Outstanding Player (Offense): RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
Miller-Digby Award – Most Outstanding Player (Defense): Defensive Most Outstanding Player: LB Darron Lee, Ohio State
- Ohio State sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for a Sugar Bowl record 230 yards, breaking the record set by West Virginia’s Steve Slaton in the 2006 Sugar Bowl against Georgia. His average of 11.5 rushing yards per attempt ranks third on the record list for most rushing yards per attempt, but it is the best average for anyone with over eight carries.
- The 77 combined points by the two teams ranks second in Sugar Bowl history behind only the 2002 Sugar Bowl when LSU topped Illinois, 47-34.
- The attendance of 74,682 marked the 62nd time that the Sugar Bowl’s attendance surpassed 70,000. It is the highest attendance at a Sugar Bowl since the 2007 game between LSU and Notre Dame. This year’s attendance also pushed the Sugar Bowl over six million in all-time attendance (6,074,421) since it’s inception in 1935.
- Elliott’s 85-yard touchdown run which all but clinched the victory with 3:24 to go is tied for the third-longest run in Sugar Bowl history – the record is a 92-yard dash by Raymond Brown from Ole Miss in the 1958 Sugar Bowl against Texas. Elliott also added a 54-yard run on the Buckeyes’ first drive of the game; that burst is tied for the 10th-longest run from scrimmage in Sugar Bowl history.
- Alabama Crimson Tide running backs Derrick Henry and T.J. Yeldon became just the fifth and sixth rushers to score rushing touchdowns in back-to-back Sugar Bowls. The feat has been accomplished by running backs Leon Hardeman (Georgia Tech, 1953-54), Leon Crosswhite (Oklahoma, 1972-73), Major Ogilvie (Alabama, 1978-1980/3 consecutive games) and Herschel Walker (Georgia, 1981-83/3 consecutive games).
- Henry and Yeldon also became just the 10th and 11th players to tally touchdowns in consecutive Sugar Bowls. Other players to score touchdowns in consecutive Sugar Bowls are Arkansas wide receiver Chuck Dicus (1969-1970, receiving touchdowns), Florida State quarterback Thad Busby (1997-98, passing), Florida State wide receiver E.G. Green (1997-98, receiving) and LSU wide receiver Brandon LaFell (2007 and 2008 BCS Championship, receiving).
- Alabama Crimson Tide freshman punter JK Scott set a Sugar Bowl record for highest average per punt (min. 3 punts) in a game. Scott averaged 55.0 yards per punt (7-385 yards) to best the previous mark of 52.7 (3-158) set by Shayne Edge (Florida vs. West Virginia, 1994). Scott’s career-long 73-yard punt in the first quarter is the second longest punt in Sugar Bowl history behind only a 76-yarder from Tulsa’s Glenn Dobbs in the 1943 game against Tennessee. The freshman added a 65-yard third-quarter punt which tied for the seventh longest in Sugar Bowl history.
- Alabama’s Amari Cooper became the 11th player in Sugar Bowl history to record two or more touchdown catches in one game. Cooper had grabs of 15 yards (first quarter) and six yards (fourth quarter).
- The 41-yard interception return for a touchdown by Ohio State senior defensive lineman Steve Miller was the first interception return for a touchdown in the Sugar Bowl since Louisville cornerback Terrell Floyd scored on a 38-yard interception return against Florida in the 2013 game.
- The 52-yard pass from Alabama quarterback Blake Sims to running back Derrick Henry on the Crimson Tide’s third drive of the second half was the 22nd-longest pass play in Sugar Bowl history.
- Alabama junior Christion Jones‘ seven kickoff returns is tired for second all-time in Sugar Bowl history (behind only Mardy Gilyard, who had eight returns in the 2010 loss to Florida).
- This year’s Sugar Bowl marked the fifth appearance (3-2) in the game for the Ohio State Buckeyes (1978, 1998, 1999, 2011). The Buckeyes’ victory over Arkansas in the 2011 game was later vacated. Ohio State also played in the 2008 Allstate BCS Championship, hosted by the Sugar Bowl, losing 38-24 to LSU.
- The Alabama Crimson Tide made its record 15th appearance (8-7) in the Sugar Bowl (1945, 1948, 1962, 1964, 1967, 1973, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1990, 1993, 2009, 2014). Alabama also has an Allstate BCS Championship appearance in New Orleans, defeating LSU, 21-0 in the 2012 title game.
- The two teams had one previous meeting in the Sugar Bowl as they played in 1978, a 35-6 victory for Alabama.
OHIO STATE NOTES (supplied by school)
- The win puts Ohio State in the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship game vs. No. 2 Oregon Jan. 12 at AT&T Stadium in North Texas.
- Ohio State extends the nation’s longest winning streak to 12 games with the victory.
- The 13 wins in 2014, ranks second all-time at Ohio State in number of victories in a season to the 2002 Buckeyes that won the national championship with a 14-0 season.
- The win marked the first victory for Ohio State over a No. 1 team since defeating Miami, Fla. in the 2003 BCS National Championship game.
- Ohio State rushed for 256 yards and totaled 537 yards. Coming into the game, Alabama was giving up just 88.7 per game on the ground and 312.4.
- Head coach Urban Meyer is 8-2 in his career in bowl games and 16-5 all-time in neutral site games.
- Meyer is 39-3 in his career with more than a week to prepare for a game. He is now 3-3 in his career vs. Alabama and 2-2 vs. Nick Saban.
- RB Ezekiel Elliott finished the game with 230 yards on 20 carries and 20 TDs, breaking the Sugar Bowl record for rushing yards in a game (204 by Steve Slaton of West Virginia in 2006).
- Elliott also became the first player to rush for 100 yards against Alabama this season. It was the eighth 100-yard game of the season for Elliott and the ninth of his career.
- Elliott now has 1,632 yards rushing in 2014, moving into fourth all-time for single season production, trailing 3.) Archie Griffin 1,695 in 1974 2.) Keith Byars 1,764 in 1984 1.) Eddie George 1,927 in 1995.
- Elliott’s 54-yard run in the first half was his 10th of at least 20 yards this season and the fourth of at least 50 yards. He added an 85-yard TD run in the fourth quarter for his 11th rush of 20 or more and fifth of 50 yards-plus.
- WR Devin Smith caught his 30th career TD, a 47-yarder from Cardale Jones early in the third quarter to give Ohio State a 27-21 lead.
- Ohio State is now 22-0 the past 4 years when Smith catches a TD.
- DL Steve Miller recorded his first career INT in the third quarter and returned it 41 yards for a TD.
- Kicker Sean Nuernberger connected on FGs of 22 and 21 yards, tying his season high for FGs made in a game.
- The Buckeyes are now 16-6 all-time indoors and 45-23 all-time in night games (games starting after 5 p.m. local time).
- Ohio State is now 37-3 (.923) overall under Meyer, the second-highest winning percentage among FBS teams since the start of 2012.
ALABAMA NOTES (supplied by the school)
GAME CAPTAINS: Alabama’s captains for this evening’s Allstate Sugar Bowl were Jalston Fowler, Blake Sims, Amari Cooper and Landon Collins. Ohio State won the toss and deferred to the second half, with the Crimson Tide receiving the opening kick and defending the south end zone.
COLLINS CONTINUES TO EXCEL AT TACKLING: Junior safety Landon Collins recorded 12 tackles in the game to tie his career-high that was set against Southern Miss earlier this season. Collins has recorded seven or more tackles in 11 of the last 15 games.
CRIMSON TIDE OFFENSE RUNS MOST PLAYS IN UA HISTORY: The 2014 Alabama offense entered this evening’s contest having run 948 total plays through 13 games. With the 70 offensive plays this evening the 2014 offense moved into first place all-time for plays in a season with 1,018. The previous high was 962 offensive plays by the 2007 Tide offense.
ALABAMA SETS ALL-TIME RECORD FOR PASSING TDs FOR A SEASON: With senior quarterback Blake Sims’ 15-yard connection to junior Amari Cooper for a score in the first half, the 2014 Crimson Tide recorded 31 passing touchdowns on the season to tie the all-time mark. Alabama added one more passing touchdown in the second half to boost its total to 32 for the season and move into first place all-time for scores through the air. The previous high was 31 by the 2012 team.
TIDE MOVES UP TOUCHDOWN RANKS: With Alabama’s five touchdowns for the game, the 2014 Crimson Tide collected 67 scores on the year and is now ranked second all-time for touchdowns in a season. The all-time mark is 68 set by the 2012 offense.
TIDE MOVES UP POINTS LIST: With the Crimson Tide’s 35 points in tonight’s contest, the 2014 team moved into second place all-time for the most points in a season with 517 total. The Alabama all-time record is 542 points set by the 2012 Crimson Tide.
TIDE SCORES IN FIRST HALF FOR 103rd CONSECUTIVE GAME: With the 25-yard touchdown run by Derrick Henry on the Crimson Tide’s third drive of the first quarter, Alabama has scored in the first half in 103 straight games, the longest active streak in the nation.
SCORING STREAK CONTINUES: With Derrick Henry’s 25-yard rush into the end zone on Alabama’s third offensive drive of the game, the Tide has scored in 183 consecutive games – the longest streak in program history.
COOPER MOVES UP SEC SINGLE-SEASON TOUCHDOWNS LIST: Alabama junior wideout Amari Cooper entered the game against Ohio State tied for fifth in SEC history for touchdown catches in a season with 14 touchdowns during the 2014 season. His two receiving touchdowns this evening moved him up into sole possession of third place on the SEC single-season list for touchdown catches with 16.
COOPER MOVES IN RECORD BOOKS FOR ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Entering the contest with Ohio State, junior wide receiver Amari Cooper had amassed 1,679 all-purpose yards this season and 3,443 total for his career. With his 71 yards of total offense tonight, he sits at 1,750 this season and 3,514 total for his career. The 1,750 yards this season ranks him seventh all-time in Alabama annals. His 3,514 yards are 10th all-time for a career by an Alabama player.
HENRY EXCELS IN POSTSEASON PLAY: Entering this evening’s contest, sophomore running back Derrick Henry had recorded 302 yards rushing on 28 attempts with one reception for 61 yards. The tailback also recorded four touchdowns in his two postseason contests including the 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl and the 2014 Southeastern Conference Championship. In this evening’s contest, Henry added 95 yards on 13 attempts and rushed for one touchdown while adding two catches for 54 yards. In three postseason games during his time in Tuscaloosa, Henry has amassed 256 yards rushing on 41 attempts with five touchdowns while also adding three catches for 115 yards.
HENRY MOVES UP THE ALL-TIME YARDAGE RANKS: Sophomore tailback Derrick Henry entered this evening’s contest with 1,287 rushing yards for his Alabama career and ranked 37th all-time. With his 95 yards in the game, Henry moved up into sole possession of 35th place all-time for the Crimson Tide with 1,382 for his career.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
TIDE SPECIAL TEAMS MOVES UP ALL-TIME KICK RETURNS LIST: The Alabama special teams unit entered tonight’s Allstate Sugar Bowl having recorded 41 kick returns through 13 games this season. With seven returns in tonight’s game, the 2014 unit moved into a tie for first all-time with the 2007 squad at 48 kick returns on the season.
ALABAMA SPECIAL TEAMS MOVES UP KICKOFF RETURN YARDS LIST: Coming into tonight’s contest with Ohio State, Alabama special teams had recorded 904 total kickoff return yards through 13 games this season. With tonight’s 102 yards, the 2014 special teams unit moved up to second all-time for return yards in a season with 1,006. The all-time record is 1,014 yards by the 2007 Tide squad.
SCOTT SETS SUGAR BOWL RECORDS: Freshman punter JK Scott finished tonight’s contest with 385 yards on seven punts to finish with a 55.0 yards per punt average. The 55.0 yards per punt average is the highest total in a bowl game by an Alabama punter. The previous high was 49.2 (4 for 197) by Cody Mandell in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game against Notre Dame. His 385 total yards are fourth all-time in Alabama bowl game history.
JONES TIES RECORD FOR KICK RETURNS: Senior kick returner Christion Jones fielded seven kickoffs this evening to tie Sherman Williams in the 1995 Citrus Bowl against Ohio State for the most returns by an Alabama player in a bowl contest.