The Ohio State Buckeyes punched their ticket to the National Championship Game last night after a dominating victory over the Clemson Tigers in the Sugar Bowl. The Buckeyes, who were led by Justin Fields, routed the Tigers by a score of 49-28. Ohio State will meet Alabama to decide the champion of college football on January 11th in Miami.
Sugar Bowl – Game Summary
The Tigers started the contest strong. Trevor Lawrence drove Clemson 82 yards in 8 plays and finished the drive off himself with a 2-yard touchdown run. The Buckeyes responded immediately. Ohio State went 77 yards in 3 explosive plays. Clemson running back, Trey Sermon sliced through the Tigers defense for a 32-yard touchdown run to even the score at 7-7.
Clemson would jump out to their final lead of the night with 5:01 left in the first quarter. Clemson running back, Travis Etienne, ended a 75-yard touchdown drive with a three-yard score to give the Tigers a seven-point advantage.
Justin Fields and the Buckeyes responded in a big way following Clemson’s second touchdown of the night. At the end of the first quarter and throughout the second quarter, Fields threw four straight touchdown passes. Clemson was unable to respond until the third quarter. The Buckeyes carried a 35-14 lead into the half after their 28 unanswered points.
Luke Farrell (1), Chris Olave (1), and Jeremey Ruckert (2) all hauled in touchdown passes in this stretch. Clemson showed a little life in the third quarter. The offense drove 80 yards in 9 plays and Lawrence found Cornell Powell to cap off this tremendous scoring effort.
The Buckeyes lead was cut to 14 points. Justin Fields stayed composed and manufactured two straight touchdown drives of 91 and 59 yards respectively. Fields found Chris Olave and Jameson Williams to end the two scoring drives. With 14:03 left to play, the Buckeyes were up 49-21.
The Tigers didn’t stop fighting. Trevor Lawrence ended his collegiate career with one final touchdown throw to Cornell Powell with 10:42 left in the game. No scoring would take place after Clemon’s final touchdown of the night. The Buckeyes ran out the clock, claimed a Sugar Bowl victory, and advanced to the National Championship Game.
Final: Ohio State 49 Clemson 28
Sugar Bowl – Key Performers
Clemson couldn’t stop the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Buckeyes racked up 639 yards of total offense. Justin Fields gave one of the gutsiest performances that I’ve ever seen in a college football game. Fields took a massive shot to the ribs in the second quarter, but the junior quarterback battled through the pain in a phenomenal manner for the rest of the night.
Fields was 22 of 38 for 385 yards and six touchdowns. Fields found Jeremy Ruckert to start the Buckeyes scoring effort in the second half and it was clear that the offensive leader was in severe pain. I didn’t think he was going to finish the game, but he did more than enough to lead the Buckeyes to the National Championship.
Chris Olave led the Buckeyes in receiving yardage. Olave pulled down 6 receptions for 132 yards and two touchdowns.
The Ohio State offensive line was dominant all night long. The Buckeyes controlled the trenches and moved Clemson defenders against their will for four straight quarters. The Buckeyes offensive line propelled running back, Trey Sermon, to 131 yards on 31 carries with one touchdown run.
Clemson was unable to run the football. Their 44 yards of total rushing offense led to their demise tonight. The Buckeyes were able to sit back and play the pass because of their domination in the front seven.
Sugar Bowl – Final Thoughts
I took two things away from this game. The first is that Justin Fields is one of the toughest players in the country. Fields was able to put together one of the greatest performances in the College Football Playoff era.
Fields stepped up to the microphone in the postgame press conference grimacing in severe pain. The shot he took was brutal and he told reporters after the game that his ribs hurt after every single throw.
Some of the throws that Fields made were spectacular. He showed tremendous touch, but also fit the ball into tight windows throughout the evening. Fields grit allowed the Buckeyes to steamroll the Tigers last night.
My other takeaway from the Sugar Bowl was that Trevor Lawrence is a phenomenal competitor. We all knew this, but it was clear throughout this CFP semi-final. Clemon’s defense couldn’t get a stop throughout the game. Lawrence stayed poised and continued going to work.
The Tigers didn’t score when they needed to in order to keep this game close. However, Lawrence fought hard until the Tigers’ final snap of the night. Lawrence is a generational talent, but his leadership ability is going to take him to astonishing heights in his professional football endeavors.
Lawrence, along with Cornell Powell kept the Tigers in this game until the third quarter. Without these two, this game would’ve been out of reach much earlier.
The stage is now set.
Alabama vs Ohio State on January 11th for the National Championship.
This is going to be a good one.
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