CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The now 7-0 Ohio State University Buckeyes scored a sweet 49-28 victory at the Sugar Bowl over the now 10-2 Clemson Tigers.
The Buckeyes will go on to play for their ninth national title at the College Football Playoff National Championship versus the Alabama Crimson Tide on Jan. 11.
This College Football Playoff semifinal also served as a showdown between the projected top two selections in the 2021 NFL Draft: quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields.
Prior to the game, Clemon’s Lawrence was projected to be taken as the first overall pick with Ohio State’s Fields projected to be picked up straight after.
Fields went 22/28 passing, for 385 yards, and six touchdown passes.
The Sugar Bowl had limited in-person attendance due to the pandemic.
Speaking of COVID-19 protocols, OSU WR Chris Olave, LB Baron Browning, and P Drue Chrisman were back as expected after missing the Big Ten championship game.
The Buckeyes had only played twice since Nov. 21 prior to the Sugar Bowl, annihilating Michigan State 52-12 on Dec. 5 with 23 missing players and taking the Big Ten Championship from Northwestern 22-10 on Dec. 19 with 24 absent players.
Here was the Buckeyes’ full inactive list for the Sugar Bowl:
- RB Master Teague
- R Jaylen Harris
- TE Joe Royer
- OL Josh Fryar
- OL Harry Miller
- OL Enokk Vimahi
- OL Grant Toutant
- OL Grant Toutant
- QB Danny Vanatsky
- CB Cam Brown
- S Kourt Williams
- DE Jacolbe Cowan
- DE Tyler Friday
- DE Zaid Hamdan
- DE Zach Harrison
- LB Cade Kacherski
- LB Craig Young
OSU does not list whether a player is inactive due to illness, injury, or other reasons.
Now, for the highlights...
Clemson was the first to get on the board with a touchdown on the opening 82-yard drive from eight plays with 12:10 still on the clock.
A good extra point kick bumped them up 7-0.
The Bucks responded with a touchdown by RB Trey Sermon just over four minutes later.
The extra point was good, tying up the game.
Tigers took the lead again with a seven-play, 75-yeard scoring drive ending with a three-yard touchdown with 5:01 left in the first quarter.
Another good extra point kick was made.
Ohio State answered again with a touchdown by TE Luke Farrell.
The Bucks tied it up with the extra point to make it a 14-14 game at the end of the first quarter.
OSU claimed the lead for the first time in the game with a touchdown pass from Fields to TE Jeremy Rucker with 10:36 left in the first half.
A good kick furthered the Buckeyes’ lead 21-14.
Buckeye fans held their breath when Fields was down on the ground after taking a hard hit from a Clemson defender.
That Tiger was ejected for targeting.
Fields got his revenge with a scoring pass to Olave in the endzone with 5:12 left in the half.
Another extra point gave the Bucks double the amount of points on the board than the Tigers have.
Even with just 15 seconds left in the first half, the Buckeyes weren’t done.
A 12-yard pass from Fields to Ruckert gave OSU three unanswered touchdowns (and extra points) in the second quarter.
After intercepting the ball in OSU’s endzone on the first possession of the second half, the Tigers turned that turnover into a touchdown with 7:56 left in the third quarter.
The kick was good, catching Clemson up 35-21.
It wasn’t long until OSU padded the lead by Fields launching a pass to Olave just before he crossed into the endzone, reclaiming the Buckeyes’ three-touchdown lead.
Another good kick gave OSU the 42-21 lead.
Fields’ sixth touchdown of the night not only padded the Buckeyes’ lead to 49-21 (after the extra point), it broke the Sugar Bowl record.
The Tigers’ last touchdown of the night was a 26-yard catch to end a 10-play, 75-yard drive.
Add that with the extra point, the score was 49-28 Buckeyes.
That would be the final score.