Reflecting a Hollywood script written for a football movie filled with drama, the All State Sugar Bowl served as the stage for revenge. Ohio State suffered a gut-wrenching loss to Clemson last season 29-23 on a game-ending interception by Justin Fields. The team plastered the score through the dressing room, weight room, and any place they could think of as fuel.
Fields sought redemption and held that feeling of dismay close to his heart, salivating for the opportunity because he felt like he let the team down. Clemson lost the National Championship game in the same stadium where Trevor Lawerence lost the only game of his illustrious career.
To add fuel to the fire, Dabo Swinney, head coach for Clemson, ranked Ohio State #11, saying they didn’t deserve to be in the playoffs. The game featured the top quarterbacks in the country, and perhaps the top two picks in the NFL Draft Trevor Lawernce and Justin Fields both had only lost one game in their careers.
Tony Elliott, the Clemson offensive coordinator, was absent due to Covid 19 protocols. Defensive back and backend communicator Nolan Turner was disqualified for the first half due to a targeting foul from the ACC Championship game. Middle linebacker Mike Skalski who was kicked out of the National Championship game for targeting was removed again, this time for burying the crown of his helmet in the back of Justin Fields.
He laid on the ground, went out for one play, and returned to throw a touchdown. As he threw the fall, he grimaced in pain and limped off the field straight into the medical tent. Fields played heroically, setting a Sugar Bowl record for passing touchdowns (6).
He started hot, completing 7 consecutive passes, and finished the game 22 of 28 passes for 385 yards and 6 touchdowns with one blemish, an interception. He played through tremendous pain in the zone, scanning the field, looking deep and panning the field or checking down to find the open receiver.
Ohio State failed to score on their first possession but scored touchdowns on their next five in succession while limiting Clemson to three, 3, and outs. That was a significant statement on both sides of the ball.
Clemson looked out of sorts on defense all night, struggling to line up. Players were running from side to side as they were directed where to line up. Ohio State took full advantage and hammered them with maximum aggression and absolute determination.
Trey Sermon was not to be denied bouncing off defenders and churning his feet, gaining every inch available, picking up 193 yards on 31 carries. Clemson played as if though they were champions, and they were used to eating the select fruit. Ohio State was hungry determined, motivated and acutely focused on their goal get revenge, redemption, or whatever you want to call it and advance to the National Championship game on January 11, 2021.
Chris Olave was the most outstanding receiver on the field, contributing 132 yards on 6 catches and scored 2 touchdowns. Ohio State churned out 639 total yards against one of the best defenses in the country.
Clemson was beaten in the trenches and couldn’t get into a rhythm, causing them to play out of character. All world running back Travis Etienne, perhaps the first running back of the NFL draft board, could only must 32 yards on 10 carries. The presumptive #1 overall pick in the NFL draft Trevor Lawerence who sports a 34-2 record, threw for 400 yards completing 32 of 48 passes.
The Big Ten canceled football due to Covid 19, then reversed their decision as other conferences began to play. Ohio State had three games canceled. Under normal circumstances, they didn’t play enough games to qualify to play in their conference championship. The committed made an exception due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.
They have gone from not having a season to earning the opportunity to play for the National Championship.