NEW ORLEANS (WCMH) — No. 3 Ohio State put on a show in the Sugar Bowl on Friday night, rolling No. 2 Clemson 49-28 as the Buckeyes advanced to their first National Championship since the 2014 season.
Justin Fields fought through injury to lead the Buckeyes’ offense to 385 yards passing and a Sugar-Bowl record six touchdowns while completing a 22 of his 28 passes.
OSU scored five touchdowns on its first six possessions to take a 35-14 halftime lead.
Meanwhile, Ohio State’s defense settled down after giving up two touchdowns in the first quarter by ending the first half with three straight three-and-outs. OSU’s defense only allowed two touchdowns the rest of the game, holding the ACC’s all-time leading rusher Travis Etienne to 32 yards rushing.
Unlike Clemson, the Buckeyes couldn’t be stopped on the ground, running for 254 yards, including 193 from Trey Sermon, who once again dominated with Master Teague unavailable for the game.
One of the most important moments came when Clemson middle linebacker James Skalski was ejected for targeting in the second quarter after a vicious hit to Fields’ midsection.
Fields found success in the first half, throwing to the talented tight end duo of Luke Farrell and Jeremy Ruckert, who combined for 66 yards and three touchdowns.
Fields picked apart Clemson with his wide receivers in than second-half, including two remarkable deep throws to Jameson Williams and Chris Olave.
Ohio State started the scoring frenzy on two big plays by Sermon, starting with a 34-yard screen pass followed by a 32-yard touchdown run to tie the score 7-7.
The Buckeyes tied the score again at 14 by taking the ball 75 yards on six plays that included a 47-yard bomb from Fields to Garrett Wilson. The drive was capped off by an 8-yard strike to Farrell through the narrowest window possible.
A second three-and-out by the Tigers offense was answered with a balanced, nine-play, 84-yard drive featuring 45 yards passing and 39 yards rushing. It ended with a great play call of Fields rolling left and throwing back across the field to an open Ruckert to give OSU its first lead of the game.
Ohio State kept its foot on the gas, going 79 yards on nine plays, ending with a 9-yard touchdown pass from Fields to Olave, who tapped his toes in for the score.
The throw came just two plays after Fields took this brutal hit by Skalski.
The Buckeyes scored once more before halftime, thanks to two big plays from Fields to Ruckert, who caught back-to-back passes for 38 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown catch.
Ohio State blew the game open when Fields connected with Olave for a 56-yard touchdown pass that gave OSU a 42-21 lead with five minutes left in the third quarter.
Clemson wasn’t able to recover, and Fields added one more TD on a 45-yard pass to Jameson Williams.