51 weeks ago in Glendale, Arizona, Clemson walked off the field having lost the College Football Playoff Championship Game to Alabama. But, on New Year’s Eve on the same field the Tigers earned their rematch with the Tide for the title with an utter domination and shutout of Ohio State 31-0.
Deshaun Watson lived up to his All American QB billing, as he ran for two scores and threw for a third as the Tigers gradually pulled away, especially in the second half. Just as big, was the Tigers defense which stuffed QB J.T. Barrett and the Buckeyes the entire night for an easy win.
Ohio State had a dismal night exemplified with: only six first downs through three quarters, 111 total yards was just 2-11 on third down with two turnovers in the first 45 minutes, as Clemson built their 24-0 lead after three.
Meanwhile, Watson, who finished runner up for the Heisman Trophy, led the Tigers offense and scored this dagger TD late in the third quarter on a 3rd down inside the 10 yard line:
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) January 1, 2017
The Tigers defense simply had an answer for whatever Ohio State tried on offense to get started, especially with the Clemson defensive line constantly pressuring and sacking Barrett. It’s the first time an Urban Meyer led team has ever been shutout and the first time the Buckeyes had been shutout in a bowl since the 1920 Rose Bowl.
Meanwhile, the ACC Champs improved to 13-1, Clemson and coach Dabo Swinney reached their goal of getting back to play for the Championship. The Tigers emphatic performance followed Alabama’s domination of Washington in the Peach Bowl early Saturday afternoon, which set into motion the Championship Game re-do.
Now the two will meet at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Monday January 9th.