A berth in the College Football Playoff national championship game in Miami on Jan. 11. Clemson is seeking its fifth appearance in the title game since the four-team CFP playoff debuted in the 2014 season. Ohio State is eyeing its first finals appearance since January 2015 when the Buckeyes won their last national title.
Ohio State QB Justin Fields, an adept scrambler who is averaging about 254 yards and better than two TDs passing per game, against a Clemson defense that ranks in the top 10 nationally in yards allowed per game (298.5), has had multiple sacks in every game and has three defensive touchdowns on fumble returns.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ohio State: Fields has completed 72.6% of his passes for 1,521 yards and 15 TDs against five INTs in six games. He also has 274 yards and five TDs rushing; RB Trey Sermon has averaged 112 yards rushing, and is coming off a school record-breaking 331 against Northwestern; WR Garrett Wilson has 38 catches for 621 yards and five TDs; WR Chris Olave has 36 catches for 528 yards and five TDs; All-America CB Shaun Wade has two INTs.
Clemson: QB Trevor Lawrence is widely expected to be selected first overall in the 2021 NFL draft after passing for 2,753 yards and 22 TDs against just four INTs in nine games — all victories. Lawrence has completed 69.2% of his passes and also has rushed for 211 yards and seven TDs; RB Travis Etienne leads Clemson in rushing with 882 yards and 13 TDs to go with 44 catches for 524 yards and two TDs; WR Amari Rodgers has 69 catches for 966 yards and seven TDs. LB Baylon Spector has 9½ tackles for loss and 3 ½ sacks.
FACTS & FIGURES
Clemson is making its sixth straight playoff appearance. The Tigers won CFP titles in the 2016 and 2018 seasons and lost the championship game in the 2015 and 2019 seasons. … Ohio State is making its second straight playoff appearance and fourth overall. … Clemson beat Ohio State 29-23 in a Fiesta Bowl CFP semifinal last season. Clemson also beat Ohio State 31-0 in a 2016 Fiesta Bowl semifinal. … All of Clemson’s victories over Ohio State have come in bowl games, including the Orange Bowl at the end of the 2013 season and the 1978 Peach Bowl. … Clemson lost 42-25 to LSU in last year’s CFP championship game at the Superdome in New Orleans. … Clemson is making its third Sugar Bowl appearance and is seeking its first Sugar Bowl win. … Ohio State is making its sixth Sugar Bowl appearance and has won its last three, including a 42-35 triumph over Alabama in the first CFP semifinal on Jan. 1, 2015.