For the third time in the College Football Playoff era, the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Clemson Tigers will meet in a national semifinal. Sunday, after hearing the news, Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney went on ESPN to talk about the matchup.
Swinney, who last week made it clear he wasn’t a fan of a team that has played six games being part of the playoff, was complimentary of the Buckeyes. He noted last year’s matchup, which Clemson came from behind to win.
Swinney believes the game will likely come down to a “few plays” – just like last year.
Dabo Swinney: "We all know Ohio State is an incredibly talented team. We look forward to a great matchup. We had a heck of a game with them last year. I doubt it'll be anything different this year. It'll probably come down to a few plays."
— Kyle Rowland (@KyleRowland) December 20, 2020
Ohio State led 23-21 late in last year’s contest before Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence found running back Travis Etienne for a touchdown with just under two minutes to play. Buckeyes signal-caller Justin Fields, looking for the answer, led his team down to Clemson’s 23-yard-line before throwing an interception in the end zone.
Ohio State will have all the motivation in the world to upend the Tigers, but it’s going to be a tall task. The Buckeyes have only played six games – and three in the last six weeks. They are also dealing with a COVID outbreak that forced 22 players to the sideline against Northwestern.
Still, it should be a fun matchup. Clemson is looking to win its third national title of the playoff era. Ohio State is looking for its second.
This year’s matchup will take place on January 1 at 8:45 PM ET.