The Buckeyes and Clemson met for only the second time in history, and for the second time the Clemson Tigers pulled out the victory on an interception at the end of the game. In a tough, hard fought battle, both teams slugged their way into leads, and control of the momentum, but it was Clemson holding the 40-35 lead at the end. Braxton Miller, hurt for much of the game, grit his teeth and put together a 16/24 for 234 yards, 2 touchdowns and two interceptions. He also added two touchdowns and 35 yards on 18 carries, though he lost a lot of yardage on sacks. Tajh Boyd, Miller’s counterpart, came out with a stunning display by throwing 30/39 for 370 yards, 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, as well as running 20 times for 127 yards and a touchdown.
Carlos Hyde, the stellar Ohio State back, finished his career in a tough running day, managing to gain 113 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. Corey “Philly” Brown led the Buckeye receivers with 116 yards on 8 receptions for the day. For Clemson, Roderick McDowell picked up only 69 yards on 12 carries, while Sammy Watkins set an Orange Bowl record with 227 yards on 16 receptions, and capping it off with 2 touchdowns.
The Ohio State Defense, much maligned most of the season and especially going into this game, were the first unit tasked with handling a potent offense this evening. Things were going well for the first couple plays. Clemson was finding some success moving the football, but the Buckeyes were tackling and attacking. Until Tajh Boyd hit the center of the offensive line and blitzed away to a 49 yard touchdown. That was Boyd’s longest touchdown run of the season.
Going the other direction, things did not look a whole lot better for OSU. The Offensive Line, a huge strength of this team all season, suddenly looked unable to block up the middle. A few attempts at the edge, including a 10 yard pass to Corey “Philly” Brown in the flat, had some success, but it wasn’t enough. Clemson’s defensive line picked up an excellent 17 yard sack helped by their coverage unit. 20 yards of penalties, including an unsportsmanlike conduct, gave the Buckeyes new life on the drive.
The Buckeyes continued to struggle on their first drive. Eventually, they were forced to punt. But, instead of giving the ball back, Meyer called Heuerman’s number on a fake with only 2 yards to go inside Clemson territory. The fake worked, and began to breathe life into the Scarlet and Grey. The drive was capped off by a beautiful 33 yard run with a little Braxton-patented stutter-step for a touchdown.
Well, well, the Buckeyes get to head south for their bowl game rather than west. Oh well, it wasn’t our first preference, but let’s go Orange Bowling. The bowl game that we know as the Orange Bowl was inaugurated in 1933 as the Palm Festival. The bowl game was renamed the Orange Bowl and under the new name, the first game was played on January 1st, 1935 between Bucknell and Miami, won by Bucknell 26-0. From 1935 through 1988, this contest was known as the Orange Bowl. From 1989 – 2010, buttressed by corporate sponsorship, it was renamed the FedEx Orange Bowl. Moving from logistics to financial services, the game was renamed again in 2010 as the Discover (Financial) Orange Bowl.
The protagonists this January are the Ohio State University Buckeyes, Big Ten Conference (12-1, 8-1) and the Clemson Tigers, Atlantic Coast Conference (10-2, 7-1). Both teams have a brief history in playing in the Orange Bowl, and have played one another. The Buckeyes enter this game averaging 46 points on offense, while giving up 21 points. The Tigers average 40 points on offense and 21 on defense. The early line is Ohio State -2.5 with an over/under of 67, so Vegas is anticipating both teams scoring in the mid-30′s. They are probably right. Look for a high scoring game. Without much further ado, let’s get into the preview.
The Clemson Tigers await the Buckeyes in Miami to do battle in the Discover Orange Bowl on January 3rd. Meanwhile a little farther north in Georgia the Silver Bullets picked up what could be a centerpiece to the future. We’ll discuss “Youngstown Boys” and attack with quick hitters. It’s Wednesday, let’s rumble!
Orange decisions and Clemson (who also wears orange)
While it was unthinkable prior to, after the final gun sounded on the Big Ten Championship Game it became obvious to everyone where the Buckeye football team would be bowling this January. Outside of Dade County and the walls of the Orange Bowl committee, nobody wanted to think about or even consider the possiblity of the team being anywhere except Pasadena either on New Years Day or, more likely, the following Monday in the BCS National Championship Game. Meanwhile, all along it was a foregone conclusion that if eliminated from the games being played in the Rose Bowl the Buckeyes were going to be South Beach bound.
And while it seems like a consolation prize, and to a large extent it is, that’s something as fans we should take great pride in. With their first pick of the at-large schools (after Alabama was scooped up by the Sugar Bowl, which is an SEC tradition) the Orange quickly hopped on the Buckeyes because they know that it will get a high rating on television and there will be butts in the seats. Buckeye Nation travels and likes to spend money. Read More
It’s a bayou Tiger versus a lowlands Tiger and they got their nicknames in completely different ways. The LSU tigers chose their name because of the infantry that fought for General Robert E. Lee during during the Civil War and they became known as the “Tiger Rifles”. The Clemson Tigers got their name simply because Walter Riggs, who was the head football coach in 1896 simply admired the Princeton Tigers and therefor named his team the same.
These two teams have been on a collision course for a couple years now and there have just been a few bumps in the road preventing it. Defending conference champs in their conferences, neither played for one this season which allowed them to finally be paired in this bowl game, could be the best match-up this year.
The Les Miles led Tigers, which will have their coach until they so choose, were hoping to play for another national title this season and the sole reason they didn’t may be due to losing one of the best players in the country. Tyrann Mathieu will be entering the NFL draft after sitting out a season due to suspension by the school, and it left a crater in the LSU defense that caused problems early on.
Playmakers: QB Zach Mettenberger played as well as he could in the match-up with Alabama and had them in position to win the game. He just had to sit back and watch as the season going down the drains unfolded. He has a good argument for being a leader and he’s shown poise of late. Having a pretty good season statistically the one area of concern headed into this game is the number of sacks that he has taken over the season, 26 sacks in all for over 200 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball it’s a tie for best playmaker this season. After losing a surefire heisman candidate for the season due to off field issues, the defense could have folded. It didn’t and thats mostly because Les Miles cupboard is not bare on that side of the ball. DE Barkevious Mingo and S Craig Loston have stepped up their game this season and have led the Tigers to success on defense. Mingo is a disruptor who gets after the QB and Loston has three INT’s for 103 yards and a TD.
Season High – Low: It’s simple for the bayou Bengals, they wanted it all. Les Miles has had them in a position to win it two seasons in a row now and has lost to what will be the back to back champions and Florida. That’s it. They compete at a high level and as a team aren’t very happy about playing in this game, but it is what it is and they have a hungry Clemson team wanting to climb the ladder. Read More