Sugar Bowl: Ohio State rocks Clemson to advance in College Football Playoff

NEW ORLEANS -- Justin Fields threw six touchdown passes and No. 3 Ohio State stunned Clemson with a dominant 49-28 win in the Sugar Bowl on Friday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Leading 35-14, Ohio State received the opening kickoff of the third quarter and picked up 63 yards, but Fields was intercepted in the end zone on a third down play that snuffed out a scoring chance for the Buckeyes.

The Tigers took advantage, driving 80 yards for a touchdown to pull within 14. Lawrence completed 5 of 6 passes, including a 10-yarder to Cornell Powell for a touchdown.

Ohio State struck right back as Trey Sermon kept the drive alive with a big third down catch and run then Fields lofted a rainbow pass to Chris Olave for a 56-yard touchdown to restore the three-touchdown lead with 4:55 on the clock.

The Buckeyes weren’t done, either.

When they got the ball back early in the fourth quarter, Fields went up top again, this time finding Jameson Williams for a 45-yard score that pushed the lead to 28 points.

The Tigers got seven of those points back on a 26-yard pass from Lawrence to Powell with 10:42 left, but that was all for the night.

Fields finished 22-for-28 passing for 385 yards. He also ran for 42 yards.

Trey Sermon added 193 yards on the ground while Olave led them in receiving with 132 yards on six catches. Olave scored twice through the air, as did Jeremy Ruckert.

Lawrence threw for 400 yards for the Tigers.

Ohio State advanced to face No. 1 Alabama in the National Championship Game on Jan. 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Fla.


Ohio State scored 28 unanswered points to take a 35-14 lead into the locker room at halftime of the College Football Playoff semifinal against Clemson.

Justin Fields was the hero for a half, shaking off a vicious hit to completed 16 of 18 passes for 223 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for 50 yards while Trey Sermon added 121 on the ground and another touchdown.

Clemson took the opening kickoff and marched 82 yards with relative ease.

The Tigers used eight plays and faced only one third down, a 27-yard fade pass from Trevor Lawrence to Cornell Powell that gave them a first and goal.

Lawrence finished the job two plays later when he outran Baron Browning to the corner of the end zone for a 2-yard score.

B.T. Potter’s PAT kick made it 7-0 with 12:10 left in the first quarter.

After the teams traded punts, Ohio State struck quickly with a three-play, 77-yard drive that started with an 11-yard pass to Chris Olave, continued with a 34-yard swing pass to Trey Sermon and ended when Sermon found a gaping hole in the left side of the line and sprinted the final 32 yards for a touchdown.

Blake Haubeil’s PAT kick tied the score at seven with 7:59 left in the first quarter.

Clemson answered quickly and with easy, slicing and dicing the Buckeyes for seven plays and 75 yards, including four plays that gained 15 yards or more. Travis Etienne finished it with a 3-yard touchdown run up the middle.

Ohio State again had an answer, this time with a 75-yard drive keyed by a 57-yard pass form Fields to Garrett Wilson. Fields finished the drive with a laser beam to Luke Farrell for an 8-yard touchdown pass.

After forcing a punt, the Buckeyes went back on top with a nine-play, 84-yard touchdown drive Fields capped with a 17-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jeremy Ruckert, who leaked out the backside of the formation and was lost by the Clemson defense.

That gave Ohio State a 21-14 lead.

The Buckeyes added another score with just over five minutes left when Fields found Olave open in the end zone from nine yards out.

That came just two plays after Fields received a vicious hit to the back from Clemson linebacker James Skalski, who was ejected for targeting after a review.

Although Fields continued to look uncomfortable, he led the Buckeyes to another score just before the half, finding Ruckert from 12 yards out to make it 35-14 Ohio State with 11 seconds left.

Ohio State outgained Clemson 394-201 in the first half, including 229-34 in the second quarter when the Tigers had one first down and the Buckeyes had 13.

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