We choked because we hadn't been there before as a staff and team--and we had a lot of help from the refs. But you don't punt the ball 25 yards to Trevor Lawrence with a useless 2 point lead when the game is right there to win on 4th and 4. Remember, Etienne should have fallen down at the 1, and Clemson should have run out the clock, so they gifted us a critical strategic error. (Day should watch Earle Bruce's first Rose Bowl.) You can't give a great offense a chance to win when it is 4 down time.
OSU needs one coach to focus on strategic decisions if Day is going to spend his intellectual energy on calling the offensive plays. "Hey coach we need to go for two here." "Hey coach, we are gassing them with up tempo. "Respectfully Coach, but do you want the game to end with Trevor Lawrence having the ball, or do you want to go for the win with Justin Fields?" "Hey coach, if we do a punt safe here, we can break them with good field position." "Should we think about this red zone possession as a 4 down situation?" "Last I checked coach, it takes 3 touchdowns to beat one field goal." etc.
We can focus on the refs, but it was critical strategic decisions that lost the game. We got conservative, and the lessons of Woody Hayes, Bruce ,and Meyer.
It's difficult to fathom that the coach who called that fake punt against Wisconsin made the strategic calls against Clemson. Audacity. Go for the Jugular. Next time you have a chance to win a game with a four yard RPO, go for it.
If we don't learn that lesson, we are doomed to repeat the great chokes of season's past.
This game was lost with bad strategic decisions--that was in our control. The SEC officiating was predictable, and not in our control.