Justin Fields' most impressive single-game performance at Ohio State came on the biggest stage against Clemson in this year's College Football Playoff semifinal. The Buckeyes quarterback went 22-for-28 with 385 yards and six touchdowns, leading his team into the National Championship game.
But, as many college football fans will remember, Fields was nearly knocked out of the playoff after taking a huge shot to his ribs.
On a 3rd and 13 early in the contest, Fields took off running to try and pick up the first down. Just before the line to gain, Clemson defender James Skalski met the Ohio State quarterback and launched, head-first into his side. Fields went to the ground clutching at his ribs in obvious pain. Skalski was ejected for the illegal hit.
After he was helped to the sideline and sat out for just one play, Fields trotted back out to re-join the offense. From then on, he put together an astonishing night and re-affirmed that he would be a strong pro prospect.
In his latest interview on Kirk Herbstreit's show "QB21", Fields explained that coming out of the semifinal game was never really an option, despite the severe pain.
"It felt like a bowling ball was just thrown into (my) side," Fields told Herbstreit,
Watching QB21 of Justin Fields with Kirk Herbstreit. They talk about the shot he took against Clemson this year. Fields mentions “it felt like a bowling ball hitting his side.” Also said he would have “had to die or something to come out of that game.” pic.twitter.com/aXcjKTZuvC
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) April 17, 2021
">per Russell Brown. "They would've had to tell me that 'you're going to die' or something like that for me to come out of the game. That's what my mindset was.
Fields' attitude after the injury provides further evidence of his grit and toughness, which was recently called into question. The former Ohio State star clearly wants to be on the field, which is quality that will easily transfer over to the NFL.
Fields will have to await his fate later this month at the NFL Draft. Although he's a lock to go in the first round on April 29, it remains unclear where he'll be headed.