The Clemson Tigers are looking to make their way back to the National Championship game, where they are seeking their first National Championship since 1981. Ohio State, on the other hand, is looking to win their eighth National Championship.
These two teams have met twice with Clemson winning both matchups, including the 40-35 victory in the Orange Bowl in 2014. This should be an exciting football game, and with that being said here are three things to watch out for in this game.
The Clemson offense against this young but talented OSU Defense:
Deshaun Watson, Mike Williams, Wayne Gallman, Hunter Renfrow, Artavis Scott, and Jordan Legget. The list could go on and on. This Clemson offense has stacked up enough talent to make defensive coordinators wonder, “why even draw up a game plan?” Case in point, this Clemson offense converts 50% of its third downs; is 13th in total offense, and scores right around 40 ppg.
We also understand the engine that makes this offense go, which is Deshaun Watson. According to Alabama’s head coach Nick Saban, he has said,”Watson is the most impactful player in college football.” It will be interesting to see how this underrated and often forgotten defense of Ohio State will defend this potent offense.
The buckeye defense comes into Arizona ranked 5th overall in total defense and only gives up 14 points per game. Also, they lead the country in Pass Efficiency Defense at 91.4. This buckeye defense is a solid group who can be very optimistic and take the ball away from this Clemson offense; which, if you have watched Clemson this year, can be a problem at times.
JT Barret’s Passing Offense against Clemson’s Secondary
-As we all know, JT Barret’s passing game has been in question all season. He looked great against Oklahoma early in the season…wait that’s a Big 12 team, sorry OU fans. He has looked OK all season, but when faced against a Michigan front seven and secondary, which aligns well with Clemson’s style of defense. JT along with O-line was exposed.
It won’t be failed to mention that JT has been effective running the football this year with over 800 yards on the ground. Clemson’s Secondary comes into this game ranked 19th overall in pass defense and 5th overall pass efficiency defense with a rating of 102.4.
With Jadar Johnson’s comments from earlier this week saying “He hasn’t been impressed with what he’s seen on tape from Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett”. It will be interesting to see how JT responds on the field. Will he try this secondary with the ever so versatile Curtis Samuel?
Isaiah Prince and the rest of the OSU line against Clemson’s front four:
-Wouldn’t we all want to be the “pull back” coach that keeps Brent Ventables from drawing sideline interference penalties? No? Yeah, me either. But one thing we can say is that Ventables loves his front four and the array of talent that’s in that group.
Clemson goes two deep and all four positions and has the man-child that is Dexter Lawerence (6’5 340lbs) along with Christian Wilkins, I think I would be going crazy as well on the sidelines. The OSU coaches have worked Isaiah Prince and this offensive line, reassuring the media and the fans that they are ready. Michigan and their front four are similar to Clemson’s so we will see the adjustments that OSU has made.
Clemson 38- OSU 30
-OSU, in my opinion, squeaked into the final four based on a résumé. Clemson was extremely fortunate after losing to Pitt, but I think it awakened this beast, and His name is Dwayne Jones (For you Le Batard fans out there). But seriously, it awakened Watson and the rest of this Clemson team and gave Dabo another reason to motivate his guys.
The leadership of JT Barret is without question, tremendous. But, the trend that his offense has been going in is a downward arrow. They haven’t been giving Curtis Samuel the ball enough, and this O-Line has been exposed. The Big plays just aren’t there. In the end, I see Deshaun Watson and the Clemson defensive front making big plays. Enough to seal the victory and a trip to Tampa, FL for another national championship chance.
Featured image via Christian Petersen/Getty Images