“The” Ohio State Buckeyes ran over the Clemson Tigers team this Friday night (1/1) at the Mercedez-Benz Superdome in Nine Orleans and won the Sugar Bowl and a spot in the college football playoffs final.
The match between two of college football‘s best quarterbacks, the semifinal of the NCAA playoffs, promised to be an intriguing offensive duel. And it did not disappoint. Trevor Lawrence (33/48, 400 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT), main name to be the first choice of the 2021 NFL Draft and Justin Fields (22/28, 385 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT), made a duel that will not be forgotten anytime soon.
The highlight was the Buckeyes’ quarterback. Fields had an almost perfect game statistically speaking, which would be impressive for any player. But doing that with broken ribs in the college football semifinals against one of the top two teams in the country is absolutely extraordinary and worthy of the Sugar Bowl MVP award. The player took a strong hit in the first half, but went on the field and gave a show.
Fields had help from Ohio State’s other two main offensive players, Trey Sermon (31 runs, 193 yards, 1 TD) and Chris Olave (6 receptions, 132 yards, 2 TDs). By Clemson, Cornell Powell (8 receptions, 139 yards, 2 TDs).
In addition to the historical performance of the quarterbacks, the key to the match was the defense of the Buckeyes. Despite giving 400 air yards and almost 500 total yards, the Ohio State defense played a game well above expectations, putting pressure on Lawrence and forcing five punts from the Tigers’ attack. Special highlight for the linebacker Tuf Borland, who was elected the defensive MVP of the match.
Ohio State coach Ryan Day led a veritable offensive massacre to win his first playoff victory in his career as a head coach. It was 639 total yards, the third largest mark given by Clemson in its history.
With the victory, Fields and the Buckeyes will have 10 days to recover before enfrentar Alabama in the final of the College Football Playoffs, at the Hard Rock Stadium, in Miami, on January 10th.
After a three and out on the first drive of the match, Justin Fields, Trey Sermon and Chris Olave had a perfect first half with five touchdown campaigns and 35 points scored.
With the score 21 to 14, Fields was hit in the rib by linebacker James Skalski – who was kicked out of the game by targeting – and continued the game with severe pain in the rib region. Still, the young Ohio State quarterback threw four more touchdowns – in addition to the two he had already launched – to conclude an impeccable night and carry his team through to the final.
ANOTHER OHIO STATE TOUCHDOWN ‼️
– ESPN (@espn) January 2, 2021
Lawrence, Etienne and Rogers’ first half was not so good. After a great start with two touchdowns in the first quarter, the orange team’s attack stopped and accumulated punts: there were four in the first half of the match.
The second half started as the first ended: with the Buckeyes walking easily through the Tigers’ defense. However, a deflection in a pass from Fields to Olave generated an interception for Clemson, who looked like he could turn the tide of the game. But the night was really from Ohio State. After a Tigers touchdown cut the lead to 14 points, Fields again found Olave in depth and threw a cold shower at the team led by Dabo Swinney.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) January 2, 2021
From then on the game seemed over. Lawrence, who had a worse game than the numbers suggest, still had two fumbles, a dropped interception and one consummated on his team’s last offensive drive in the match.
It was not all the fault of the Clemson quarterback, who did not have much help from the rest of the cast, but the interception on the last drive was the shovel in a night to forget. If this was the last game of Lawrence’s university career, surely what remains is a bad taste in the mouth.