No. 3 Ohio State, making its fourth College Football Playoff appearance, meets six-time CFP semifinalist and No. 2 Clemson Jan. 1 in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Ohio State is making consecutive appearances in the CFP for the first time. The Buckeyes are tied for third in most CFP appearances with Oklahoma (four). Only Alabama (six) and Clemson (six) have more. Ohio State is the only school to appear in a New Years Six bowl game in all seven years of this current postseason format.
#3 Ohio State vs. #2 Clemson • Fri., Jan. 1 • When: 8:00 p.m. • Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome • TV: ESPN • Radio: 97.1 The Fan
The Buckeyes and the Tigers have played four times previously, all in bowl games.
- Clemson has wins over Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl (29-23 on Dec. 28, 2019, 31-0 on Dec. 31, 2016), in the Orange Bowl (40-35 on Jan. 3, 2014) and in the Peach Bowl (17-15 on Dec. 29, 1978), the final game of Woody Hayes’ 28-year coaching career at Ohio State.
- Ohio State is 5th nationally in total offense (529.2) while Clemson is 10th (507.6)
- Clemson is 6th in total defense (298.5) while Ohio State is 34th (358.0)
- Clemson is third in scoring (44.9) while Ohio State is 7th (42.5)
- Clemson is 11th in scoring defense (17.5) while Ohio State is 25th (21.0)
- Both Ohio State and Clemson are opportunistic in the turnover department.
- Ohio State is +8 on the season and ranks 4th nationally at 1.33 per game.
- Clemson is +9 on the season and ranks 17th at .82 per game.
- Ohio State defense has not allowed a score after an offensive turnover.
- LB Justin Hilliard leads the team with three recovered TOs, including an end zone interception and a second half fumble recovery in the win over Northwestern. Shaun Wade (Indiana) and Haskell Garrett (Michigan State) each have pick sixes.
CAREER RECORDS WATCH
- Justin Fields is currently tied with Joe Germaine for third on Ohio State’s career TD pass list with 56. Bobby Hoying is No. 2 with 57 from 1992-95. J.T. Barrett holds the Ohio State and Big Ten record with 104.
- Fields’ 4,794 career passing yards at Ohio State ranks No. 12 all-time. He’s 296 yards from passing Jim Karsatos for 11th place.
- Chris Olave caught his 20th career touchdown pass on Dec. 5 at Michigan State, which moved him into a tie for sixth place on Ohio State’s career list with K.J. Hill. Olave is three receptions shy of 100 for his career.
- The Buckeyes also had three major award winners: Justin Fields was the Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year and Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year, Wyatt Davis was the Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year and Shaun Wade was the Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year.
- Three Buckeyes have earned first-team All-America honors so far: OG Wyatt Davis (ESPN), DT Haskell Garrett (CBS Sports and Pro Football Focus); and CB Shaun Wade (ESPN).
- Ohio State’s recent run of Rimington Trophy finalists continued last week as Josh Myers was named a finalist for the award, which honors the top center in the country.
Ohio State was the first in Big Ten history to win three consecutive outright Big Ten championships, and then added a fourth with the win over Northwestern. Clemson has won six consecutive ACC titles.
Ohio State is officially making its 51st bowl game appearance and it has a 24-26 bowl game record. The Buckeyes are 2-2 all-time in the College Football Playoff and 3-0 in New Year’s Six bowl games.
Ohio State is the only Power 5 team in the nation averaging at least 250 rushing yards (275.7) and passing yards (253.5) per game this season. Ohio State has three 300-yard passing, and rushing, games.
- Clemson won its sixth consecutive ACC championship on Dec. 19 when it avenged its only loss of the season and defeated Notre Dame, 34-10, in Charlotte, N.C.
- The Tigers are led on offense by Heisman Trophy finalist QB Trevor Lawrence. The junior, whose hometown of Cartersville, Ga. is just 30 minutes north of Justin Fields’ hometown of Kennesaw, Ga., has thrown for 2,753 yards and 22 touchdowns in nine games this season.
- RB Travis Etienne, a finalist for the Doak Walker Award, has scored 13 touchdowns and rushed for 882 (fifth best in the ACC).
- WR Amari Rodgers is second in the ACC with 966 yards and third with seven touchdown receptions.
- Clemson’s defense is second nationally in both tackles for loss (103.0) and sacks (44.0).
- Clemson ranks either 1st or 2nd in the ACC in 12 of 15 major statistical categories.
GAME PREVIEW COURTESY OHIO STATE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS