The No. 3 Clemson Tigers have taken every opponents best shot all year as the defending National Champions. In tonight’s CFP semifinal grudge match verse No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes it was just that another heavy weight match. With the ‘Eye of the Tiger’ the champs showed why they are still on top.
Clemson free safety Nolan Turner (24) secured the victory intercepting a Justin Fields (1) pass on 2nd and 7 from 23-yard line leaving on :37 seconds on the clock. The Tigers came out for a last play running victory formation to run out the clock and punch their ticket to New Orleans for 2020 National Championship game.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) tossed 34 yard go ahead touchdown pass to running back Travis Etienne (9) that would seal a 29-23 victory over Ohio State.
“There was never one second that I did not think we were not going to win the game,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, “It is just the DNA. It is our program. It’s not just this season. That’s just how we’re built.”
This come from behind victory showed the heart of this team. After trailing 16-0 in the second quarter the Tigers never stopped fighting. Lawrence being sacked 3 times and smacked around a bunch didn’t stop him from scoring 3 touchdowns (2 pass, 1 rush). He threw for 259 yards, rushed for 132 yards keeping the Buckeyes on their toes.
Etienne carried the load on the ground and beating Ohio State linebackers in the passing game for two receiving touchdowns.
The Buckeyes lead by Fields who threw for 30/46 for 320 yards and a touchdown gave the Tigers almost too much to handle.
Ohio State running back made his presences felt rushing for 177 yards on 18 carries and catching 6 pass for 54 yards. What is even more impressive is how he gutted it out with in game ankle sprain in the first half. He would not let anything keep him from trying to push his team to victory. He sported a tight wrapped black spat on left ankle for the remainder of the game.
When the Buckeyes look back at the film on Sunday, a big thing will be their inability to score touchdowns in the redzone in first half that could have made a hole that even bigger for the Tigers. The 16-14 halftime lead was not enough to stop the Tigers comeback.
“I just know when two great teams get together, it comes down to a few plays, and it did again tonight,” said Ohio State coach Ryan Day, “Clemson, give them credit. They have a really good team, and the defending national champs. They do a great job.”
The Clemson Tigers will have the opportunity next Monday January 11th, 2020 to defend their crown one last time against No. 1 LSU Tigers in the Championship.
LSU defeated No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners 63 – 28 in the other CFP semifinal match up.