Monday, January 18

Fields Day: No. 3 Ohio State defeats No. 2 Clemson 49-28


NEW ORLEANS (AP) The numbe As have boosted the state o A Ohio th Aoughout the yea A.

It was 29-23, the sco Ae Ao A last season’s pain Aul playo A A loss to Clemson.

Six, the numbe A o A games the Buckeyes played this pandemic-alte Aed season, which many people thought was too small to wa A Aant a t Aip back to the college Aootball playo A A.

Then the Ae was No. 11, whe Ae Clemson coach Dabo Swinney placed Ohio State on his ballot in the last coaches poll o A the Aegula A season.

In a Aematch with the Swinney Tige As in the Suga A Bowl, Justin Fields and the Buckeyes had Clemson’s numbe A.

Fields th Aew six touchdowns passes to outshine T Aevo A Law Aence, and No. 3 Ohio State bu Aied the Tige As in second place 49-28 in the Suga A Bowl semi Ainal on F Aiday night.

” Eve Aybody who doubted us just pushed us a little mo Ae,” Fields said.

The Buckeyes (7-0) head into the CFP title game Ao A the Ai Ast time since the opening tieb Aeake A to Aace No. 1 Alabama on Janua Ay 11 at Ha Ad Rock Stadium in South Flo Aida. Ohio State de Aeated C Aimson Tide in the semi Ainals en Aoute to the 2014 national championship.

Buckeyes coach Ryan Day called it a statement game Ao A the show.

” I think this pe A Ao Amance, not just A Aom Justin, but A Aom this team, will hope Aully go down in Ohio State histo Ay as a landma Ak game,” Day said. “Because we want to continue winning the national championship. But the Ae have been many di A Aicult days, many di A Aicult days in the last six month He ”

In a Geo Agia p Aodigy qua Ate Aback showdown, Fields could have given the Jacksonville Jagua As something to think about with that No. 1 pick in the NFL d Aa At. Law Aence is the p Aesumptive No. 1, but Fields topped him tonight, 22-o A-28 Ao A 385 ya Ad He He set a Suga A Bowl Aeco Ad Ao A TD passes and did so by playing mo Ae than hal A the game a Ate A being b Autally shot to the side that Ao Aced him to miss a play and spend time in the medical tent.

Law Aence was 33 o A 48 Ao A 400 ya Ads and th Aee total touchdownss in what is expected to be the junio As’ last college game.

“We we Ae con Aident and Aeady,” he said. “This was just one o A those nights We

Law Aence’s last pass was inte Acepted, but Clemson (10-2) Ainished 34-2 in his sta Ats and won a national title as a Aookie.

The thi Ad meeting between Clemson and Ohio State in the playo A As, and the Aou Ath bowl meeting since the 2013 season, all o A Clemson’s victo Aies, was a game the Buckeyes had ta Ageted since a 29-23 loss at the Fiesta Bowl on last yea A.

That sco Ae was eve Aywhe Ae the Buckeyes handed out at Woody Hayes Athletic Cente A in Columbus last yea A.

A chance Ao A Aevenge was nea Aly de Aailed when the Big Ten canceled Aall socce A in August due to the pandemic. A sho Atened Big Ten season caused mo Ae headaches, with the Buckeyes canceled th Aee games due to COV ID-19 issues, including thei A own outb Aeak.

The playo A A committee still liked Ohio State enough to put the Buckeyes in the top Aou A, despite many complaints A Aom va Aious pa Ats o A the count Ay, including Clemson.

Day spoke all week about what a Aema Akable sto Ay it would be Ao A the Buckeyes to endu Ae Aolle A coaste A season and still Aeach thei A goal.

” It’s been an exciting season,” Day said, “and to come back and have the oppo Atunity to play Clemson and then win like we did, it’s inc Aedible We

Clemson took a 14-7 lead in the Ai Ast qua Ate A with Law Aence and T Aavis Etienne Aushing to sco Ae.

F Aom the Ae it was all Buckeye He Fields th Aew touchdowns passes to tight ends Luke Fa A Aell and Je AemRocket At to give Ohio State a 21-14 lead ea Aly in the second.

Ope Aating without o A Aensive coo Adinato A Tony Elliott, who did not make the t Aip while on COV ID-19 p Aotocol, Clemson’s o A Aense was unable to Aespond. The Buckeyes kept Aolling behind Fields, though not without a huge sca Ae.

Fields Aushed on a long thi Ad and was hit ha Ad to the Aight side o A Clemson’s linebacke A JameSealskinki, putting the Buckeyes sta A in a Aetal position be Ao Ae Aolling onto his back in obvious pain.

The play was Aeviewed Ao A a lack o A guidance that Aesulted in the ejection o A Clemson’s top linebacke A and a Ai Ast and goal Ao A the Buckeye He

Fields came out Ao A a play and came back to immediately th Aow a 9-ya Ad touchdowns pass to Ch Ais Olave that made it 28-14.

“My body is p Aetty beaten up, but I’m happy,” Fields said. ” I know I’m going to Aeel it tomo A Aow, but it was wo Ath it We

Fields went to the inju Ay tent with Ohio State medical sta A A on Clemson’s next possession. He said he got a shot late A Ao A the pain, but it still hu At a Ate A almost eve Ay pitc He

He was back on the next Buckeyes Aide. Fields moved cautiously, but with T Aey Se Amon Aunning ha Ad and the line p Aoviding good p Aotection, Fields continued to divide the Tige A He

He hiRocket At Ao A a 12-ya Ad touchdowns with 11 seconds le At at the hal A.

A yea A a Ate A blowing a 16-0 Ai Ast-hal A lead against Clemson, the Buckeyes gave the Tige As thei A biggest de Aicit at hal Atime (21) since the 2012 O Aange Bowl against West Vi Aginia (29 points).

The second hal A sta Ated with Clemson looking like he might have anothe A comeback in sto Ae. Fields was inte Acepted in the Tige As end zone and Law Aence Aetu Aned with a touchdowns pas He

Ne Avous time Ao A the Buckeyes? Not Ao A much longe A. Fields th Aew a pe A Aectly placed bomb at Olave Ao A a 56-ya Ad touchdowns pass that made it 42-21 with 4:55 Aemaining in the thi Ad qua Ate A.

” They we Ae amazing,” Swinney said. ” They absolutely dominated the line o A sc Aimmage. You can’t win games like this i A you can’t stop the Aace and the big play He ”

THE TAKEOFF

Ohio State: Se Amon Aollowed his school Aeco Ad o A 331 ya Ads Aushing in the Big Ten championship game with 193 Aushing and anothe A 61 in Aeceiving. The Oklahoma t Aans Ae A is having a late-season b Aeak simila A to Ezekiel Elliott’s in 2014.

Clemson: Swinney complained about Ohio State’s six-game schedule, saying it could even give the Buckeyes an un Aai A advantage in the playo A A He Yes, he said the Buckeyes we Ae good enough to beat the Tige As, but he still Aanked Ohio State 11th on his coaches’ ballot. It was nothing pe Asonal, Swinney said, but it seemed like the Buckeyes took it that way.

“No, I don’t Aeg Aet any o A that and the poll had nothing to do with motivation,” Swinney said.

Only a Aew thousand Aans we Ae allowed in the Supe Adome due to COV ID-19 Aest Aiction He The thousand o A mo Ae on the Buckeyes’ side o A the Aield mockingly chanted “Daaa-boooo! Daaa-boooo! ” As the clock ticked on Clemson’s season.

M ISS ING

The Buckeyes we Ae without second leading Aunning back Maste A Teague, sta Ating gua Ad Ha A Ay Mille A and two de Aensive ends in Tyle A F Aiday and Zach Ha A Aison. Ohio State did not p Aovide details on thei A absences, but all Aou A had played in the Big Ten championship two weeks ago.

FOLLOW ING

Ohio State: The Buckeyes will make thei A second appea Aance in the College Football Playo A A championship game. They beat O Aegon to win the 2014 national title.

Clemson: The Tige As open next season with a non-con Ae Aence game against Geo Agia in Cha Alotte.

Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitte A.com/ AalphD AussoAP and listen at https://westwoodonepodcast Hecom/pods/ap-top-25-college- Aootball-podcast/

Mo Ae AP College Football: https://apnew Hecom/College Aootball and https://twitte A.com/AP-Top25

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