Second Ohio State overcomes No. 5 Notre Dame with a second-half rally at home

It wasn't supposed to be this close. Pegged as 17½-point favorites heading into Saturday night, No. 2 Ohio State was bogged down by No. 5 Notre Dame's defense and didn't pull away until late in the fourth quarter, eventually landing on a 21-10 win that can be interpreted in any number of ways.

For one, the Buckeyes' offense's unwillingness to commit to the running game was surprising, especially with the tandem of Miyan Williams (91 yards) and potential All-America pick TreVeyon Henderson (84 yards) combining to average 6.0 yards per carry.

Pegged as 17½-point favorites heading into Saturday night, No. 2 Ohio State was bogged down by No. 5 Notre Dame’s defense and didn’t pull away until late in the fourth quarter, eventually landing on a 21-10 win that can be interpreted in any number of ways.

Expected to again rank among the best in the Bowl Subdivision, this offense was often bogged down by an Irish approach under coach Marcus.

Although a missed blitz on third down let Stroud connect with Xavier Johnson for the game-winning touchdown late in the third quarter, Freeman mainly played it safe rather than taking significant risks.

Here are three observations from a win that will play a major role in determining the final makeup of this year's College Football Playoff.