The game could have easily gone the other way though. After the young Ohio State defense came up with a huge stop late in the fourth quarter, the Buckeyes got the ball back down just four points at 25-21 with 5:37 remaining in the game. Ted Ginn Jr., who had a great game with 101 yards receiving, returned a punt to the Buckeyesí 41 to put the team in great field position at the critical point in the game. Sophomore running back Antonio Pittman, the Big Tenís fourth leading rusher, reeled off a string of great runs and Smith connected on two deep throws to make it down to the six yard line with 1:29 remaining and two timeouts left.
It was all for naught though, as LSU rejoiced and luck did not shine on the Buckeyes today. On a second-and-goal, freshman running back Chris Wells, who had been benched earlier in the season after losing his fifth fumble, spelled Pittman. Wells took a delay from Smith and tried to pound it through to the endzone, but coughed up the ball and the Tigers jumped on it on the 12 yard line. Game and season over for the Buckeyes.
Facing great defenses, neither team was able to muster much offense, particularly on the ground. Five Tigers had five carries or more and none of them exceeded 29 yards. On the other side, Pittman carried the load for OSU and still only accumulated 107 yards.
Even with constant pressure and nine sacks, the quarterbacks both played a little better than the running backs. Smith threw for a respectable 326 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw two interceptions, something he had only done once this season Ė against Penn State. Junior JaMarcus Russell had his weakest game of the tournament thus far, but still connected for 247 yards, one touchdown and no turnovers in the marquee victory.
#4 LSU will now advance to the Championship Game to face the winner of the Michigan-Oklahoma showdown.
Player of the game: Anthony Gonzalez (103 yards, 1 TD)
Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: LSU 62.0% - Ohio State 38.0%