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 NEW ORLEANS (AP) - This time, Ohio State needed four whole plays to reach the end zone in the BCS national championship game.
Mirroring its quick start in last year's final game, Chris ``Beanie'' Wells broke off a 65-yard run on the first possession and the top-ranked Buckeyes led No. 2 LSU 10-3 after the opening quarter of the title game.
After converting on third down with a quick slant pass, the Buckeyes handed the ball to their sophomore sensation. Wells was heading left, but made a quick cut to his right and was gone - clearly showing the SEC doesn't have a monopoly on speed.
He left LSU All-American safety Craig Steltz in the dust to give the Buckeyes the lead just 1:26 into the game. Back on the sideline, Wells was congratulated by former Ohio State star Ted Ginn, a bit of symmetry with last year's title game in Arizona.
In that one, Ginn returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown against Florida, but it was a Gatorfest the rest of the way. The SEC underdogs bounced back for a 34-14 lead by halftime and went on to a 41-14 rout of the unbeaten, supposedly invincible Buckeyes.
With much less star power, Ohio State made it to the championship game for the second year in a row, this time as an underdog despite the No. 1 ranking.
Maybe that suits the Buckeyes better. On their second possession, Ohio State struck for another big play. With Wells lingering near the line of scrimmage as a possible receiver, Brandon Saine slipped behind two defensive backs and hauled in a 44-yard pass from Todd Boeckman.
The LSU defense stiffened there, forcing Ohio State to settle for a 25-yard field goal by Ryan Pretorius that made it 10-0.
Finally showing signs of life, the Tigers converted three times on third down before stalling too. Colt David punched through a 32-yard field goal that got LSU back within a touchdown heading to the second quarter.
LSU (11-2) was trying to win its second BCS title in five seasons, on the very same Superdome where the last one came. The Tigers, who defeated Oklahoma in the 2004 title game but had to share the championship with Southern Cal, were looking to win one that no one could dispute.

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