GLENDALE, Ariz. — Ohio State’s biggest issue all season had been the consistency — or lack thereof — on offense.
And on Saturday night, in the Buckeyes’ biggest game of the year — the Fiesta Bowl against No. 2 Clemson — Ohio State’s offense was, essentially, nonexistent. The Tigers cruised, from start to finish, to a 31-0 victory at University of Phoenix Stadium.
It was the first time Ohio State was shutout since 1993 and was also the first shutout in Urban Meyer's head coaching career.
The Buckeyes only mustered 208 yards of total offense and had nine first downs as the Clemson defense swarmed all evening. The Tigers registered three sacks and 11 tackles for loss as Ohio State's offense continued to attack horizontally with no success.
Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett finished the game 19-for-133 passing for just 127 yards and Clemson bottled up Curtis Samuel all night — save for a 64-yard run in the fourth quarter — as the junior H-back had just 103 total yards on 14 touches.
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and running back Wayne Gallman each had 7-yard touchdown runs in the second half as the Tigers blew open a 17-point halftime lead. Watson finished the game 23-for-36 passing for 259 yards and three total touchdowns as the offense racked up 473 total yards.
Clemson put on quite a dominating performance in the first half to gain that 17-0 edge heading into the locker room. They were able to build a decisive advantage even though Watson threw a pair of interceptions in the first half, too.
|215||NET TOTAL YARDS||470|
|3,8||AVERAGE PER RUSH||4.3|
|6.7||AVERAGE PER COMPLETION||11.0|
|3||RUSHING 1st DOWNS||12|
|4||PASSING 1st DOWNS||12|
|2||PENALTY 1st DOWNS||0|
|3.8||YARDS PER PLAY||5.5|
A 45-yard field goal by Greg Huegel opened the scoring, and Clemson took a 10-0 lead with 2:16 remaining in the first quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by Watson. Tigers wide receiver Mike Williams made a key catch on that drive as he hauled in a 26-yard pass over Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward.
But after Malik Hooker intercepted Watson in the end zone to halt another Clemson scoring opportunity, the Tigers quickly responded with an eight-play, 83-yard drive that ended with a 30-yard touchdown catch by C.J. Fuller. Fuller’s grab over Ohio State linebacker Jerome Baker gave Clemson its 17-0 halftime lead.
The Buckeyes had their chances in the first half despite only mustering 88 yards of total offense. Ohio State started a pair of drives in Clemson territory — at the 33- and 42-yard lines — but Tyler Durbin missed a pair of long field goal attempts after the offense failed to do anything against the Tigers’ defense.
After Gareon Conley set Ohio State up at the Clemson 33-yard line following an interception, the Buckeyes managed just three yards of offense on three plays and Durbin missed a 47-yard field goal. Ohio State again got the ball in good field position on its next drive — at the Clemson 42-yard line — after a big kick return by Parris Campbell, but the Buckeyes managed only 12 yards on seven plays and the end result was another missed 47-yard field goal by Durbin.
Clemson outgained Ohio State 275-88 in that first half and the Tigers held the Buckeyes to just eight first-half rushing yards. Clemson had 12 first downs in the opening half; Ohio State got just three.
With the loss, the Buckeyes finished the season 11-2.