Once again, No. 3 Clemson is headed back to the national championship game!
The reigning national champs rallied for a thrilling 29-23 victory over No. 2 Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl Saturday night to advance to the College Football Playoff championship game.
Ohio State was in total control in the early going as the Buckeyes raced out to a 16-0 lead midway through the second quarter. However, Clemson managed to score two quick touchdowns to cut the deficit to 16-14 at the half.
After trading scores in the second half, the Buckeyes had the Tigers on the ropes with a 23-21 lead and just over four minutes left in the game. After pinning Clemson inside it’s 10-yard line, the Buckeyes forced the Tigers to go the length of the field to win the game.
And the Tigers did just that.
Using a trick play, Trevor Lawrence faked a quarterback run, before dropping back and hitting Travis Etienne in stride for a 34-yard touchdown with just under two minutes left in the game.
Lawrence added a 2-point conversion to Tee Higgins, but it left plenty of time for Ohio State (13-1) and Justin Fields to respond.
After driving down the field, the Buckeyes had the ball at the Clemson 23-yard line, but that’s as close as they would get. After avoiding pressure, Fields fired the ball into the end zone which was picked off by Nolan Turner with 37 seconds left in the game. Ohio State receiver Chris Olave was the intended receiver, however, Olave had broken off his route when he saw Fields scrambling which left an easy interception for Turner.
With the win, Lawrence continued his perfect career, as the sophomore has still not lost a game. The dual-threat quarterback threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a career-high 107 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown run late in the first half.
Clemson has now secured its 29th straight victory and fourth trip to the CFP championship game in five years. The loss snapped Ohio State’s 19-game winning streak.
It was the first matchup between the two former five-star recruit quarterbacks in the 2018 class who played less than 50 miles away from each other in high school. They were far from perfect, but both delivered in crunch time. If this is the start of a long rivalry, bring it on.
Next Up (Jan. 13)
No. 1 LSU vs. No. 3 Clemson — National Championship