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23  Clemson14614640
Ohio State9137635
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35


(12) Clemson (10-2) vs. (7) Ohio State (12-1-)



Friday, January 3, 8:30 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Scott Haynes, Senior College Football Editor

GAME NOTES: The Clemson Tigers and Ohio State Buckeyes will close out their respective seasons in a BCS Bowl Game, as the two teams square off at Sun Life Stadium in the Orange Bowl.

Dabo Swinney's Tigers had their sights set on an ACC title and shot at the BCS National Championship and certainly looked headed towards those goals halfway through the season, winning their first six games, most of which came in impressive fashion. However, a humbling home loss to current top-ranked Florida State (51-14) derailed the Clemson train, leaving the Tigers chasing the Seminoles the rest of the way in the ACC's Atlantic Division. Clemson bounced back with four straight victories to reach the 10-win plateau, but suffered a 31-17 loss to rival South Carolina in the regular-season finale.

This marks Clemson's fifth trip to the Orange Bowl, with the Tigers splitting their four previous appearances. The last time they were in this contest however, the Tigers were humiliated by West Virginia, 70-33 in 2011.

Two seasons into his reign in Columbus and Urban Meyer has just one loss total. Ohio State remained among the top teams in the country by winning its first 12 games this season after winning all 12 in 2012. The one setback however, came in this year's Big Ten Championship Game, as Ohio State dropped a 34-24 decision to Michigan State. The loss kept the Buckeyes out of the National Title game and left the team at 12-1 on the year.

Swinney knows the caliber of team his squad is facing in this contest.

"Playing Ohio State is another opportunity to face a top 10 team. Coach (Urban) Meyer's team was just a few plays away from playing for the National Championship. It is one of the top programs in the nation. We are playing a program that has lost just once in the last two years."

This is just the second time that Ohio State will play in the Orange Bowl. The first came 37 years ago, a 27-10 victory over Colorado following the 1976 campaign. The Buckeyes have played in more BCS Bowl games than any other program, this game marking the ninth in school history.

These two teams have met just one previous time and that came in the 1978 Gator Bowl. Clemson prevailed in that game, 17-15, the final for famed Ohio State coach Woody Hayes.

The Tigers will certainly present a problem for Ohio State's defense, as they are one of the most prolific offenses in the nation. Clemson comes into the postseason ranked 11th nationally in scoring (40.2 ppg) and 13th in total offense (502.0 ypg). The team is fueled by a lethal passing attack that generates 329.3 yards per game, but that doesn't stop the team from racking up a healthy 172.7 yards per game rushing.

It all starts with senior quarterback Tahj Boyd. A Honorable Mention All- American selection this season, Boyd has completed 67.6 percent of his passes, for 3,473 yards and 29 touchdowns. Boyd also has a knack for finding the end zone on the ground, leading the team with nine rushing scores.

It certainly helps to have a star wideout to throw to. Boyd's favorite target is junior WR Sammy Watkins. A Second-Team All-American this season, Watkins was a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award after hauling in 85 balls, for 1,237 yards and 10 TDs.

Roderick McDowell does the majority of the work on the ground and finished just under 1,000 yards this season with 956 yards and five TDs.

While Clemson is first thought of as an offensive team, the defense has made plenty of plays this season. The Tigers limited foes to 350.8 yards per game, and were particularly strong against the pass, holding opponents under 200 yards through the air. Of course, a big part of that success was due to a feverish pass rush that accounted for 33 sacks and aided in the team's ability to record 16 interceptions.

Leading the way in that regard was another All-American in defensive end Vic Beasley, who amassed 39 total tackles, with 19 TFL, 12 sacks and four forced fumbles. Linebackers Stephone Anthony (120 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 4 sacks) and Spencer Shuey (110 tackles, 5.5 TFL) were extremely active sideline to sideline.

The Buckeyes won't shy away from turning this game into a shootout, although they tend to take a vastly different approach in moving the ball. Ohio State ranks fourth nationally in scoring (46.3 ppg), controlling the tempo of most games with a devastating ground attack that ranks third nationally (317.5 ypg). In terms of total offense, OSU ranks seventh nationally (518.5 ypg).

Not many quarterbacks played better than Braxton Miller this season. Miller's passing numbers were modest, although he did complete 63.2 percent of his passes, for 1,860 yards, with 22 TDs and just five INTs. One of the nation's top dual-threats, Miller also rushed for over 1,000 yards (1,033) with 10 more scores. Backup Kenny Guiton (68.8 percent completion rate, 749 yards, 14 TDs) was more than serviceable when on the field under center this year as well.

Regardless of who is throwing the football for OSU, Cory Brown (55 receptions, 655 yards, 10 TDs) and Devin Smith (42 receptions, 655 yards, eight TDs) are the preferred targets downfield.

Miller wasn't the only player to eclipse 1,000 yards on the ground for OSU, as tailback Carlos Hyde had 30 more carries than Miller, but rushed for nearly 400 yards more, finishing with 1,408 yards (140.8 ypg) and 14 TDs.

The OSU defense was adequate, but not the feared unit that terrorized foes in recent memory. The Buckeyes allowed 21.3 ppg this year, showing some weakness against opposing passing games, allowing 259.5 ypg through the air. Despite opponents' affinity for passing against OSU, the Buckeyes certainly made their fair share of plays, with 40 sacks and 14 interceptions on the year.

Junior linebacker Ryan Shazier is the heart-and-soul of the unit, posting 134 tackles this season, with 22.5 TFL, six sacks and four forced fumbles, en route to First-Team All-American honors. Defensive ends Noah Spence (52 tackles, 14.5 TFL, 8.0 sacks) and Joey Bosa (39 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 6.5 sacks) and defensive tackle Michael Bennett (38 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 7.0 sacks) also made significant contributions, especially upfield.

Meyer knows the task at hand going up against the explosive Tigers.

"I know their coaching staff very well...have a lot of respect for them. I know Dabo really well," said Meyer. "They have a great offense. Their defense...we're going to have to play our tails off to move the ball against them. They have some very good personnel. A couple of those games they haven't given up much yardage at all. It's going to be a war."

While the defenses have shown strong play at times this season, this game will be decided by the offensive stars for both teams. If Miller and Hyde can control the tempo, they can limit the amount of drives Boyd will have.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio State 34, Clemson 31

12/30 11:54:12 ET

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Local
Final
ECU 58
FRES 52
Final
CIN 59
NCCU 50
 
12:00pm Today
UNC
BUT
 
2:30pm Today
ECU
HAW
 
5:00pm Tonight
DUKE
FUR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
POR
 
7:00pm Tonight
NCSU
RICH
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
CAR
 
Final
WAS 102
ATL 106
Final
MIA 97
GSW 114
Final
MIL 98
DET 86
Final
NOP 89
SAC 99
Final
DEN 114
CHI 109
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
BRK
 
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
GSW
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
POR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLE
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7:30pm Tonight
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LAC
 
7:30pm Tonight
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7:30pm Tonight
ATL
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8:00pm Tonight
MIN
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8:00pm Tonight
HOU
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8:00pm Tonight
OKC
UTA
 
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
IND
 
9:00pm Tonight
PHO
DEN
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
MEM
 
Final
UMO 21
OHIO 24
Final
ECU 58
FRES 52
Final
ELON 74
MRGST 73
 
Final
MIZZ 61
PURD 82
Final
MAR 55
HAW 62
Final
UNF 77
LIB 57
 
Final
CHAM 85
BYU 121
Final
BUCK 58
MDES 55
Final
UGST 85
WCU 70
Final
UWGB 64
EVAN 62
Final
ARST 71
ALA 76
Final
OHIO 69
ARKPB 60
 
Final
UNH 75
BU 68
 
Final
OU 70
CHIST 57
Final
TOL 79
DET 82
Final
CLMB 57
FD 47
 
Final
QUIN 50
HART 54
 
Final
SFLA 71
HOF 70
Final
HARV 84
HOU 63
Final
BONA 79
JST 71
 
Final
STJOE 74
LIU 70
 
Final
SYR 70
GHND 37
 
Final
MLOWELL 102
MTIDA 57
 
Final
CIN 59
NCCU 50
 
Final
VT 54
NIOWA 73
Final
WOFF 82
OHVALLEY 54
 
Final
TEMPL 76
PENN 67
Final
RUTG 50
PETE 68
Final
BGU 62
SEMIZ 54
Final
LAS 73
Terriers 60
 
Final
UVA 79
TENST 36
Final
KENT 92
TXARL 44
Final
FSU 66
CITA 55
Final
PBY 63
TOCC 40
 
Final
COOK 56
TENNM 74
 
Final
WMARY 83
WILL 49
Final
USB 71
WKENT 61
 
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HIGH 88
WMPEACE 71
 
Final
SMU 72
ARK 78
Final
ARMY 80
BING 54
 
Final
CSOU 80
CARK 67
 
Final
UMBC 54
HOW 68
 
Final
ARZ 72
KYST 68
Final
OREG 63
VCU 77
Final
PSU 78
AKR 72
Final
SCST 92
CIU 55
 
Final
CREI 75
EILL 53
Final
ALAAM 61
JVST 67
 
Final
ABCHRIST 91
JCHR 65
 
Final
TXSA 57
LOYC 71
Final
NDST 64
MNCROOK 63
 
Final
NEB 80
NEOM 67
Final
VANDY 63
NORST 53
 
Final
STLU 57
NCAT 54
 
Final
MTST 65
NARZ 53
Final
TTU 75
NWST 64
 
Final
TULA 74
SOUTH 59
 
Final
ILLCH 87
STXAVIER 76
 
Final
TEX 78
RFLSH 46
Final
BRAD 52
TAMCC 38
 
Final
SMISS 72
TROY 70
Final
DRAK 73
IUPUI 60
Final
ARKST 58
LAM 63
 
Final
FLGC 62
USF 47
Final
COL 68
AFA 53
Final
IDAHO 75
BSU 86
Final
GRCN 64
BUF 80
 
Final
ORU 52
LALAF 76
Final
CHAR 74
MIAMI 77
Final
ISU 63
MD 72
Final
UMO 46
NW 55
Final
SACST 97
BRISTOL 63
 
Final
MICH 55
VILL 60
Final
SDST 74
PITT 57
Final
USC 53
CSFU 49
Final
STAN 84
DEL 47
12:00pm Today
UNC
BUT
 
12:00pm Today
FRES
MAR
 
12:00pm Today
CHAT
RMU
 
12:00pm Today
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1:30pm Today
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LIB
 
2:00pm Today
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2:00pm Today
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MIZZ
 
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4:00pm Today
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VT
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Final
CLB 2
WIN 4
Final
NAS 4
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STL 2
OTT 3
Final
DAL 3
EDM 2
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ARI 3
COL 4
Final
ANA 3
CAL 2
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VAN 2
NJD 0
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