We all know that the winner of this game would face LSU for the national championship. In the Peach Bowl, LSU went on to pummel the Sooners 63-28. Ohio State received the ball first and Justin Fields was able to move the ball with ease. Unfortunately, they settled for a field goal to open the game with a 3-0 lead. Clemson put together a nice drive during their first possession. The Buckeyes defense stepped up and held them to a field goal attempt. Clemson missed the field goal and Ohio State held their 3-0 lead. On the first play of their second possession, Ohio State scored to go up 10-0. J.K. Dobbins went 69 yards on the hand off from Justin Fields.
Clemson started to put together a drive on their second possession, but the Buckeyes defense stepped up again. This time, they forced a punt and Ohio State got the ball inside their own 10 yard line. Clemson’s defense finally stepped up and held Ohio State to only one first down before punting. Despite having good field position, Clemson’s offense couldn’t manage anything against the Buckeyes defense. J.K. Dobbins ended the first quarter with a 64 yard run to the Clemson 8. Dobbins finished with 141 yards rushing on 6 carries in the first quarter. Three plays later, Fields tossed a 5 yard pass to J.K. Dobbins for a touchdown. They reviewed the play and it was called incomplete. Ohio State kicked a 22 yard field goal to go up 13-0. Once again, the defense of Ohio State stepped up and forced another 3-and-out.
The Buckeyes put together another impressive drive against the Tigers defense. They settled for a 33 yard field goal after Dobbins dropped a potential touchdown pass. Ohio State went up 16-0 over the defending national champs. Clemson put together a drive, but it seemed like Ohio State held their own again. After replay, it showed the Ohio State defender was called for targeting and it kept the drive alive. The next play Ohio State was hit with a pass interference and it put Clemson in the red zone. Travis Etienne finally put Clemson in the board with an 8 yard touchdown run. With less than 3 minutes, Ohio State lead 16-7. Clemson’s defense forced their first 3-and-out to get the ball back to the offense with less than two minutes remaining.
Clemson scored in 45 seconds on a 5 play, 83 yard drive as Lawrence ran for 67 yards to score. Clemson cut the lead to 16-14 with a minute and 10 seconds remaining. Clemson stopped Ohio State and the score was 16-14 heading into halftime.
Clemson opened the second half with a 3-and-out. Clemson punted the ball and managed to down it inside the 5 yard line. Ohio State moved the ball about 52 yards but was forced to punt. Like Clemson, the Buckeyes downed the ball inside the five yard line. Clemson started their possession on the 1 yard line. After getting one first down, Ohio State held their own and forced Clemson to punt. The Buckeyes hurt themselves as they ran into the kicker for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to give the ball back to Clemson. Travis Etienne scored on a 53 yard screen pass from Trevor Lawrence. Ohio State went up 21-16 with less than 8 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter. Once again, the defense of the Tigers stepped up and stopped Ohio State’s offense.
On the next possession for Ohio State, Fields was intercepted for the games first turnover. The Buckeyes defense held their own and forced Clemson to punt. Ohio State converted a 3rd & 9 on the first play of the fourth quarter. On a 4th & 2, Ohio State went for it and Fields tossed a 23 yard touchdown pass to Chris Olave. Ohio State took a 23-21 lead with under 12 minutes remaining. The Buckeyes defense held their own and forced Clemson to another punt. Despite a good, time consuming drive Clemson was able to hold the Buckeyes without scoring. Clemson got the ball back with a little over 3 minutes remaining with Ohio State up by two. Did Trevor Lawrence lead the Tigers on a game winning drive?
In a little over a minute, Lawrence went 94 yards on four plays after hitting Etienne with a 34 yard touchdown. Clemson went for it and converted a 2-point conversion to put them up 29-23. Did Justin Fields lead the Buckeyes to the win? After putting a nice drive together, Fields was intercepted in the end zone with about 40 seconds remaining. Clemson wins 29-23 and will play LSU for the championship in New Orleans on January 13th. LSU pummeled Oklahoma earlier in the first playoff game. This is the title game I predicted and even predicted Clemson would win the Fiesta Bowl.