Fiesta Bowl Preview: 3 Keys For Clemson and Ohio State

By Ty Duffy

Ohio State and Clemson meet in the Playoff Semifinal presented by the Fiesta Bowl. Here are three keys that may determine the game.

Clemson’s Turnover Problem: Clemson was great at just about everything all season. One problem that plagued their offense: turnovers. The Tigers ranked just 104th nationally, throwing 1.15 interceptions/game. Ohio State ranked No. 1 nationally in pass efficiency defense and was top ten in forced turnovers per game, interceptions per game, and turnover margin.

Ohio State’s Passing Problem: Ohio State was great at just about everything in 2016, except being able to stretch the field vertically. The Buckeyes ranked 106th in the nation, averaging just 11.25 yards/pass completion. They produced just four pass plays longer than 40 yards in 12 games, tied with Rutgers.

One Score Fortune: Both Clemson and Ohio State rode their luck in close games. Clemson went 6-1 in one-score games, most notably needing a missed field goal to get by N.C. State. Ohio State’s two biggest wins, Wisconsin and Michigan, came in overtime. The latter was a matter of inches. If oddsmakers are correct, this game will come down to one score either way.