Orange Bowl breakdown: No. 12 Clemson vs. No. 7 Ohio State

Author: Kristy


No. 12 Clemson vs. No. 7 Ohio State
Friday, Jan. 3, 8:30PM, ESPN
Key Matchup

Ohio State’s defense is not as bad as a cursory glance at its final scores this season would indicate — it’s actually 29th nationally. But that’s because the Buckeyes are seventh in the country against the run … and 102nd against the pass.

That could be a problem against Clemson, the No. 12 passing offense in the country.

Ohio State has only faced one team this season ranked higher in passing offense — Cal, which finished with a 1-11 record and still put up 371 yards through the air against the Buckeyes.

Clemson and its senior quarterback Tajh Boyd — along with head coach Dabo Swinney and offensive coordinator Chad Morris — have one game left to try to cement Boyd’s legacy with the program, and to continue to prove that this offense works consistently against elite opponents.

It seems silly to say that when Clemson has actually been one of the more consistent programs in the country over the last few years, but after the fifth straight loss to in-state rival South Carolina, here we are.

Ohio State’s defense is certainly susceptible to the pass, so it’s reasonable to expect that Clemson should be able to move the ball. Sammy Watkins (85 receptions for 1,237 yards and 10 scores), is far and away the Tigers’ top WR, with 41 catches more than anyone else (Adam Humphries is second with 41) and 437 yards than the next-closest Tiger (Martavis Bryant is No. 2 at 800). Can Ohio State key on him and shut down the passing game, or merely limit it?     READ MORE

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