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Kirk Herbstreit Names The 1 Key For Ohio State Against Clemson

ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: GameDay host Kirk Herbstreit is seen during ESPN's College GameDay show at Times Square on September 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

For the second year in a row, Clemson and Ohio State will meet in the College Football Playoff semifinals. If this time around is going to be different for Ryan Day's squad, he'll need a balanced attack on offense.

Don't just take our word for it. ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit truly believes Ohio State running back Trey Sermon is the biggest key to this Friday's game.

Sermon legitimately carried Ohio State's offense during the Big Ten Championship Game against Northwestern, as he ran for 331 yards and two touchdowns. Replicating that type of production will be nearly impossible, but Sermon needs to play well for the Buckeyes to have any shot at knocking off the Tigers.

Herbstreit explained why Sermon is so important to Ohio State's success during the latest episode of the 'CFP Podcast With Herbie, Pollack & Negandhi.'

“I think the emergence of Trey Sermon over the last few games, especially in the Big Ten championship, is vitally important to Ohio State going up against Brent Venables,” Herbstreit said, via 247Sports’ Brent Venables, the defensive coordinator for Clemson, has great players but he’s very active. Gives you a lot of different looks, and if you’re a one-dimensional attack it makes it really hard."

Ohio State will need its running backs to churn out yards on Friday in order to avoid becoming one dimensional on offense.

Sermon isn't the only playmaker in Ohio State's backfield. Master Teague has proven that he can be a difference-maker as well.

If the Buckeyes can't get their rushing attack going on Friday, the offense will need Justin Fields to put together a heroic performance.

Kickoff for the Clemson-Ohio State rematch is at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.