Clemson rallies to beat Ohio State, heads back to national title game

Clemson is now 4-0 all-time against Ohio State and all four victories have come in bowl games. And now, they’ll head back to the national championship game.

Trevor Lawrence threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Travis Etienne with 1:49 left in the game and safety Nolan Turner’s interception sealed a 29-23 come-from-behind win over Ohio State Saturday night in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Ohio State led 16-0 after three field goals and a J.K. Robbins 68-yard touchdown scamper. The fact that the Clemson defense had held Ohio State to the three field goals was a key in keeping the Tigers within striking distance.

Etienne opened the scoring for Clemson with 2:45 left in the 2nd quarter with an eight-yard touchdown to make it 16-7. Lawrence would score on a 67-yard scamper to pull the Tigers to within two at 16-14 heading into halftime. Lawrence’s scamper came with 1:10 left before intermission.

The Tigers would use that momentum in the third quarter as Etienne scored on a 53-yard pass from Lawrence to give Clemson its first lead at 21-16. The Buckeyes responded when quarterback Justin Fields hooked up with Chris Olave for a 23-yard touchdown to give Ohio State a 23-21 lead with 11:46 left in the fourth quarter. That set the stage for Lawrence and the offense which would start its final scoring drive on the Clemson. It took just four plays and 1:06 off the clock as the Tigers had an 11-yard pass play to Ross, an 11-yard run by Lawrence, a 38-yard reception by Amari Rodgers which put the Tigers at the Buckeye 34. One play later, Etienne caught his third pass of the night and took it 34 yards to give Clemson the lead which it would not relinquish. Etienne had 98 yards receiving with two touchdowns as he and Lawrence used the screen pass to deliver lethal blows to the Buckeye defense.

But the Buckeyes would march down the field and were looking to score and had a 2nd and 7 at the Tiger 23 when Nolan Turner intercepted Fields in the end zone with 37 seconds left in the game to seal the victory for Clemson (14-0). 

Etienne was held to 10 carries for 36 yards and the one touchdown. Lawrence was the Tigers’ leading rusher with 16 carries for 107 yards and the long 67-yard touchdown.

The Tigers have now won 29 games in a row and are one win over LSU from repeating as national champions. But the Tigers from Baton Rouge will be the favorite after their dominating win over Oklahoma in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. 

Already at least one national pundit has gone on record saying Ohio State would have been a tougher matchup for LSU. More ammunition for Dabo and “little ole Clemson” who closes out 2019 in style.

They hope 2020 will also kick off with a victory.