With the a berth to the College Football Playoff championship on the line, Ryan Day trusted eight of his 24 scholarship freshmen to hit the field against Clemson. The youngsters helped the Buckeyes in the 49-28 victory and helping clinch a spot in the College Football Playoff title game.
Stat Book Stuffers
Lathan Ransom, Jaxson Smith-Njigba and Miyan Williams were the three freshmen to etch their names in the stat book last night.
Ransom played 28 snaps in the secondary and was able to record one tackle. The Arizona native also continued his streak of playing in every game this season. To date, Ransom has five tackles and a pass break-up.
Smith-Njigba returned to action after sitting out of the B1G Championship game. The talented receiver entered the Sugar Bowl early in the second quarter and made a key catch during Ohio State's third scoring drive of the contest. With the Buckeyes facing 3rd and 4, and the score tied at 14, Justin Fields connected with Smith-Njigba for 12 yards to keep the drive alive.
Following the 91-yard touchdown pass that did not happen, Williams was called upon to give Trey Sermon a breather. In Sermon's relief, Williams ground out 21 yards on three consecutive carries late in the third quarter. On the first play following Williams' carries, Fields hit Chris Olave for a 56-yard touchdown strike that put the score out of reach at 42-21.
Shortly before halftime, Matthew Jones left the game with an undisclosed injury. Paris Johnson Jr. of Princeton HS (Cincinnati) replaced Jones at left guard. The Buckeyes gained 46 yards during the eight snaps with the 6-7, 290-pound lineman on the field.
Paris Johnson Jr. (No. 77) was the best offensive lineman in the 2020 recruiting class. Im pretty sure this was his first meaningful snap of college football and look what Ohio States future starting left tackle did with it. pic.twitter.com/MwaHC92tIO— Stephen Means (@Stephen_Means) January 2, 2021
CJ Stroud also saw some brief action in relief of a starter. When Fields needed to take a breather after taking the hard shot to his back, Day turned to Stroud to run the offense. Stroud took one snap before handing the reigns back to the future NFL draft pick.
Special Teams Spotlight
Cody Simon was used on four different specialty teams. The linebacker was a gunner on kickoff, a blocker for the kickoff return team and was also utilized on the punt and punt return teams.
Like Simon, Ransom was also on the kickoff, punt return and kickoff return teams. Gee Scott Jr. was on the field for kickoff and punt returns, Johnson Jr. helped anchor the extra point unit, while receivers Fleming (punt) and Smith-Njigba (kickoff return) also saw special teams action.
|NAME||POS||DEBUT||CU STATS||GP||SEASON STATS|
|JULIAN FLEMING||WR||NEB||14 offensive snaps||7||
7 catches, 74 yards
1 tackle, 1 FF
|LATHAN RANSOM||SAF||NEB||1 tackle||7||5 tackles, 1 PBU|
|PARIS JOHNSON JR.||OT||NEB||8 offensive snaps||6|
|CODY SIMON||LB||NEB||special teams only||6||3 tackles|
|JAXON SMITH-NJIGBA||WR||NEB||2 catches, 12 yards||6||8 catches, 29 yards, TD, 3 punt returns, 11 yards|
|GEE SCOTT JR.||WR||NEB||special teams only||4|
|MIYAN WILLIAMS||RB||RU||3 rushes, 21 yards||4||10 rushes, 64 yards|
|CJ STROUD||QB||RU||1 offensive snap||3||1 rush, 48 yards, TD|
|RYAN WATTS||CB||RU||4||4 tackles|
|TY HAMILTON||DL||NEB||3||1 tackle, 1 sack|
|JACK MILLER III||QB||NEB||2||2 rushes, 23 yards, TD|
|JAKE SEIBERT||PK||RU||2||13/13 PAT, 0/1 FG|
The NCAA gave all players a free year of eligibility this season so Ohio State does not have to worry about preserving redshirts for its freshmen this year.