GAMEDAY College Football



Sugar Bowl: Ohio State 49, Clemson 28

NEW ORLEANS - Justin Fields threw six touchdown passes to outshine Trevor Lawrence and No. 3 Ohio State avenged last season's painful College Football Playoff loss to Clemson with a 49-28 victory in the Sugar Bowl semifinal.

The Buckeyes (7-0) head to the CFP title game for the first time since the inaugural playoff to face No. 1 Alabama on Jan. 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in South Florida. Ohio State beat the Crimson Tide in the semifinals on the way to the 2014 national championship.

In a matchup of quarterback prodigies from Georgia, Fields outplayed Lawrence, going 22 for 28 for 385 yards. He set a Sugar Bowl record for TD passes and did it playing more than half the game after taking a vicious shot the side that forced him to miss a play and spend time in the medical tent.

Lawrence was 33 for 48 for 400 yards and three total touchdowns in what is expected to be the junior's final college game. His final pass was intercepted, but Clemson (10-2) went 34-2 in his starts and won a national title when he was a freshman.

Clemson took a 7-0 lead on the opening drive and then went up 14-7 with Lawrence and Etienne running for scores.

From there it was all Buckeyes. Fields threw touchdown passes to tight ends Luke Farrell and Jeremy Ruckert on consecutive drives to give Ohio State a 21-14 lead early in the second quarter.

Operating without offensive coordinator Tony Elliott, who did not make the trip while in COVID-19 protocols, the Clemson offense couldn't respond. The Buckeyes kept rolling behind Field, though not without a major scare.

Field scrambled on a third-and-long and took a hard shot to the right side from Clemson linebacker James Skalski that put the Buckeyes star into a fetal position before rolling over onto his back in obvious pain.

The play was reviewed for a targeting foul that resulted in Clemson's top linebacker being ejected and a first-and-goal for the Buckeyes.

Fields came out for one play and returned to immediately throw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Chris Olave that made it 28-14.

Fields went to the injury tent with Ohio State athletic trainers on Clemson's next possession, which didn't last long.

Fields was right back out there on the Buckeyes next drive. He took another hit on a scramble and slowly got up. After each play he moved gingerly, but with Trey Sermon running hard and the Buckeyes providing good protection, Fields continued to carve up the Tigers.

He hit Ruckert for a 12-yard score with 11 seconds left in the half.

The second half started with Clemson looking like it might have another comeback in it. Fields was intercepted in the Tigers' end zone and Lawrence came back with an 80-yard touchdown drive to cut it to 35-21.

Fields responded by throwing a perfectly placed bomb to Olave for a 56-yard touchdown pass that made it 42-21 with 4:55 left in the third quarter.

And in the 4th period, Fields threw another rain-making TD pass to Jameson Williams that officially went into the books as a 46-yarder, but traveled over 50 in the air.


BOX SCORE

Associated Press


January 1, 2021


D1SportsNet

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