College Football Playoff Preview: Clemson vs. Ohio State
Clemson and Ohio State face off in the Fiesta Bowl Saturday night, in the most anticipated bowl game this year. ON what side, Dabo Sweeney and Deshaun Watson bring a swagger to the Tigers program never seen before. On the other side, Urban Meyer, whose three national titles and quiet confidence has his Buckeyes on the cusp of playing for a championship.
This game will likely be decided by two factors. The first will be on the defensive lines. The Tigers get the edge here, as the tandem of Ben Boulware and Carlos Watkins are accustomed to seeing a mobile dual threat quarterback in practice. J.T Barrett will have trouble converting third downs, and the field position edge will go to Clemson.
The second deciding factor will be the kicking game. Expect this to be close late, and the game could come down to the foot of Clemson sophomore Greg Huegel. Huegel is 13-17 this year, however one should note Huegel did not attempt a field goal in the Tigers two closest toughest bouts this season, the 42-36 home win against Louisville, and the 43-42 home loss against Pittsburgh.
Ohio State has a proven senior kicking for them. Tyler Durbin has been tested mentally this season, having experienced a block 45 yard kick that sealed Penn State’s victory over Ohio State in October.
Durbin also was sent in late in the 4th quarter of the Michigan game, and shanked a 20 yard field goal.
We expect this game to be that close, that late. Will either coach have the guts to put their season and championship hopes on the fate of a kick? We don’t think so, however our prediction is Clemson somehow, someway escapes with a three point victory.