CSJ 2019 CFP Semifinal Fiesta Bowl Preview: Clemson vs. Ohio State, How To Watch and Fearless Predictions

Clemson vs. Ohio State (Fiesta Bowl)
When: Saturday, December 28th, 8:00 PM EST
Where: State Farm Stadium, Tempe, Arizona
TV/Streaming: ESPN, WatchESPN (subscription req’d)

Courtesy Greenville Online

Clemson (1st ACC, 13-0, 9-0)

The College Football Playoff and the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl announced today that the third-seeded Clemson Tigers will face the second-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 28.

The selection marks Clemson’s fifth consecutive College Football Playoff (CFP) appearance. With the selection, Clemson ties Alabama (five) for the most CFP berths in history.

Clemson will be making a bowl appearance for the 15th consecutive year, adding to its current school record that began in 2005. In total, it will be Clemson’s 45th bowl appearance, with the Tigers entering their upcoming bowl schedule with an existing 24-20 all-time record in bowl play.

The game will be a rematch of Clemson’s only prior Fiesta Bowl appearance in school history. On Dec. 31, 2016, the second-seeded Tigers shut out the third-ranked Buckeyes in a 31-0 victory that sent Clemson to its second straight College Football Playoff National Championship Game. The 31-point victory was the worst margin of defeat in a bowl game in Ohio State history and marked the first time an Urban Meyer-coached team had been shut out in 194 games as well as the first time Ohio State had been shut out since 1993.

Key Player: QB Trevor Lawrence entered 2019 bowl season having completed 491-of-734 career passes for 6,452 yards with 64 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 1,474 snaps in 28 career games (24 starts) … also entered the bowl season with 584 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns on 137 career carries … a year earlier, started the final 11 games in 2018 as a true freshman in helping Clemson become the first major college football team in the modern era to go 15-0 … helped the squad win each of its last 10 games by 20 points or more.


Courtesy The Toledo Blade

Ohio State Buckeyes (1st Big 10, 13-0, 9-0)

A berth in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game is on the line as Ohio State and Clemson do battle in this year’s PlayStation Fiesta Bowl.

Big Ten Champion Ohio State, 13-0 on the season and winners of 19-straight games dating back to last season, will look to win its 2nd College Football Playoff Semifinal when it meets ACC Champion Clemson (13-0) on Saturday night at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The game features two of the country’s best offenses and defenses: Ohio State is powered the nation’s No. 1 scoring offense (48.7 points/game) and No. 2 scoring defense (12.5 points/game), while Clemson boasts the nation’s No. 4 scoring offense (46.5 points/game) and No. 1 scoring defense (10.6 points/game). Additionally, both teams have combined to rank among the Top 5 nationally in 21 major NCAA statistical rankings.

Key Players: DE Chase Young is just the ninth defensive player – out of 159 total finalists since 1982 – to be named a Heisman Trophy finalist. The others: Michigan’s Jabril Peppers (2016), Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o (2012), LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu (2011), Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh (2009), Michigan’s Charles Woodson (1997), Miami’s Warren Sapp (1994), Washington’s Steve Emtman (1991) and Oklahoma’s Brian Bosworth (1986). Young, from Upper Marlboro, Md., has already been named the Chicago Tribune Silver Football award winner as the Big Ten’s best player, and the Big Ten’s defensive player and defensive end of the year.

Fearless Prediction:

Chuck: Clemson seems to have a bit of a chip on their shoulders, being seeded No. 3 despite all of their success over the last five years. I think that will serve them well here. Clemson 35, Ohio State 21

Kent: Ohio State and Clemson has the makings of a very close finish and should do just that. This should be a more of a defensive game but both teams have strong enough offenses to get some scoring. Clemson has been there and done that and many players have been in the postseason before where most of the players on Ohio State have not seen the CFP. That will be the difference. Clemson 27 Ohio State 24

Jamie: These teams are both used to being in this spot. Ohio State has run through its competition. Clemson has caught a lot of grief for its tight game against North Carolina. But , somethings tells me that Clemson is going to find another gear in this game. With that much time to prepare, Dabo Swinney will have the Tigers ready to go. Clemson 37, Ohio State 20

Ben: This should be the closer of the two CFP games. Ohio State has three players that were in the top ten votes for the Heisman trophy. That speaks to the recruiting, talent, and pure roster strength available to Ohio State. Even though Ryan Day will likely become an elite coach sooner than later, the coach across the field from him is a proven winner and fierce competitor. Dabo Swinney will motivate and hype his team so that they feel invincible. With cerebral quarterback Trevor Lawrence and a defensive line that forces a lot of sacks, Clemson should be able to overpower the “all-madden” team of Ohio State. Clemson 41, Ohio State 38 OT