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Ohio State vs Clemson Fiesta Bowl
Saturday, December 31, 7:00 PM
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
Ohio State vs Clemson Fiesta Bowl – The 2016 Fiesta Bowl will pit the Clemson Tigers against the Ohio State Buckeyes. A berth in the College Football Playoff National Championship will be at stake in the December 31 semifinal.
The Tigers (12-1) were No. 3 in the next-to-last College Football Playoff rankings and leapfrogged the Buckeyes after beating No. 18 Virginia Tech 42-35 in the ACC championship game.
Clemson finished No. 3 in the AP Top 25, a spot behind Ohio State (11-1). Led by dynamic quarterback Deshaun Watson, Clemson lost to Alabama 45-40 in the national championship game last season.
Ohio State lost to Penn State on Oct. 22, but closed the season with a double-overtime victory over then-No. 3 Michigan. The Buckeyes’ backfield of Curtis Samuel, Mike Weber and J.T. Barrett average more than 250 rushing yards per game.
Ohio State averages 480 yards (21st-best in FBS) and 42.7 points (ninth-best in FBS) per game. Clemson averages 506 yards (13th-best in FBS) and 40.2 points (15th-best in FBS) per game. The Tigers’ specialty is the passing game (332.6 yards per game) while the Buckeyes are better at running the ball (258.3 yards per game).
Both teams have been strong on defense, too. Ohio State is fifth in the country, allowing opponents just 282 yards per game to go with just 14.2 points per game (third in FBS). Clemson finished ninth in the FBS in yards allowed (314 per game) and 12th in points allowed per game (18.4)
J.T. Barrett — QB, Ohio State
Curtis Samuel — H-back, Ohio State
Tyquan Lewis — DE, Ohio State
Barrett threw for 2,428 yards, 24 touchdowns and just five interceptions in 2016, rushing for an additional 847 yards and nine scores. Curtis Samuel is a versatile weapon for the Buckeyes’ offense, leading all receivers with 65 catches for 822 yards and seven touchdowns, adding 91 carries for 704 yards and eight touchdowns.
Tyquan Lewis was a wrecking ball for Ohio State’s defense this season, leading the team with 7.5 sacks, 10.0 tackles for loss, five quarterback hits and three forced fumbles. He was the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year this year, and is a huge part of Ohio State’s success.
Deshaun Watson — QB, Clemson
Mike Williams — WR, Clemson
Wayne Gallman — RB, Clemson
Deshaun Watson, Mike Williams and Wayne Gallman form an imposing trio for a Clemson offense that put up 500 yards and 40 points per game this year. Watson threw for 3,914 yards, 37 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, running for 529 yards and another six touchdowns.
Mike Williams hauled in 84 passes this season for 1,171 yards and 10 touchdowns, and Wayne Gallman rushed for 1,002 yards and 15 touchdowns. It’s a potent offensive attack that will strain Ohio State’s defense.
Ohio State vs Clemson Predictions
Ohio State vs Clemson Fiesta Bowl – Two prolific offenses meet two strong defenses in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl. Clemson has the ability to stretch the field a bit more behind the arm of Deshaun Watson, but Ohio State’s more-balanced attack has the ability to score quickly, too.
The 2016 Fiesta Bowl is likely to be decided by the better defense, and Ohio State should be able to slow down Watson and Co. enough to earn a victory in a close game
Ohio State: 31
Source : herosports.com