Ohio State's Second Quarter Explosion Paved The Way Past Clemson

By Chris Lauderback on January 2, 2021 at 12:36 am
Justin Fields lit up Clemson in the second quarter with 123 passing yards and three scores.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Day's Ohio State Buckeyes played a simply masterful game in giving Dabo Swinney a big old shitburger to eat in last night's 49-28 win over little old Clemson

Interestingly, Clemson played Ohio State even in the first (14-14), third (7-7) and fourth (7-7) quarters but the second quarter was straight Cinemax After Dark for Buckeye fans. 

In the 15 minutes before halftime, Ohio State outscored the Tigers 21-0, dominating on both sides of the ball. 

The Buckeyes racked up 229 total yards to Clemson's 34, including a 106-16 edge on the ground, during the decisive quarter as big plays littered the frame. 

On the first scoring drive of the quarter, a 9-play, 84-yard march, Jaxon Smith-Njigba had a huge 12-yard catch on a 3rd-and-4 to move the chains. On the next play, his block helped Justin Fields roll 17 yards on a keeper. Two plays later, Fields found TIGHT END Jeremy Ruckert on a sexy play that saw Fields roll left before wheeling right and finding Ruckert for a 17-yard strike. 21-14 good guys. 

After a 3-and-out by Clemson, Fields engineered another long drive, this time 9-plays, 75 yards. Trey Sermon unleashed a 30-yard run but the story of the drive was Fields getting smoked in the back/ribs by Clemson's James Skalski on a 3rd-and-13 run. Fields ran for 11 yards before Skalski's lead-with-the-head shot got him ejected and gave Ohio State a first down. 

Fields had to come off field for a play but immediately upon his return, he rolled right and found Chris Olave for a 9-yard touchdown and a 28-14 lead. Just a gritty, gritty play when he could barely move. 

After the defense again rose to the occasion forcing a 4-and-out, Fields led a 12-play, 80-yard march. Sermon had a clutch 10-yard run on 3rd-and-9 and Fields found Ruckert for 26 yards on 3rd-and-10. 

Two plays later, Fields hit Ruckert down the seam with an absolute dart for a 12-yard score. With just 11 seconds left in the half, Ohio State now had a 35-14 lead. 

Fields was legendary all game long but the second quarter was flat out unreal as he completed 12-of-14 throws for 123 yards and three touchdowns. Sermon chipped in 12 carries for 75 yards. 

As it turned out, that 35-14 cushion was all Ohio State needed to dump Dabo and secure a spot in the College Football Playoff national championship game against Alabama. 

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