Three takeaways from Clemson’s win over Ohio State: Trevor Lawrence saves Tigers in CFP thriller

first_imgHere are three takeaways from the second College Football Playoff semifinal:MORE: Clemson-Ohio State scoring updates, highlightsTrevor Lawrence did it againClemson trailed 23-21 with 3:07 remaining in regulation and had the ball at their 6. That’s when Lawrence, who had completed 15 of 30 passes to that point, guided a four-play scoring drive that unfolded in just 1:18 of elapsed time.Lawrence hit Justyn Ross for an 11-yard pass before running for 11 more yards. (Lawrence finished the night with 16 carries for a team-high 107 yards). Lawrence then hit Amari Rodgers for a 38-yard gain down the sideline before Travis Etienne took a middle screen the final 34 yards for the game-winner. Just like that, Clemson had the lead again.Lawrence, a sophomore, remains unbeaten as a starter. This wasn’t his best night, but he was at his best when it mattered most.Targeting call changed the gameThe Buckeyes led 16-0 when Shaun Wade sacked Lawrence on third-and-5. Wade, however, was called for targeting upon video review and ejected. Thaat penalty flipped the momentum: The Tigers rattled off 14 points before halftime, courtesy of touchdown runs by Etienne and Lawrence.Was Wade’s hit targeting? It was a helmet-to-helmet blow, but partly because Lawrence ducked into the contact. What was Wade supposed to do? It was targeting by rule, but the rule still needs to be refined. The discussion will grow the more the penalty is called in these games.The Buckeyes’ offense didn’t retake the momentum, either. It reached the red zone three times but settled for field goals on each occasion. That was the difference between knocking the Tigers out in the first half and allowing them to get back in the game by halftime.MORE: Ohio State can blame bad calls — and itself — for loss to Clemson No. 3 Clemson defeated No. 2 Ohio State 29-23 in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., on Saturday.The Tigers (14-0) advance to the College Football Playoff championship game, where they will face No. 1 LSU (14-0) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Jan. 13. Clemson has won 29 consecutive games and has an opportunity to win back-to-back national titles. Ohio State (13-1) blew a 16-0 first-half lead and took its first loss under coach Ryan Day. Ohio State will be back soonThe Buckeyes were itching to get back on this stage after a three-year hiatus, and despite the targeting penalty and a questionable overturned call by the SEC officiating crew, it still had a chance to win in the final minute — before Justin Fields threw an interception to Clemson’s Nolan Turner in the end zone.If Wade doesn’t get called for targeting, or Justyn Ross’ fumble isn’t ruled an incomplete pass, then maybe the Buckeyes win. Running back J.K. Dobbins’ ankle injury was also a huge factor.This game was different than the 31-0 beatdown the Buckeyes took against Clemson three years ago. Ohio State under Day proved it belonged on the big stage, and chances are this team will be back next year with Fields and a defense that has owned the Big Ten for the past three seasons.last_img