2019 Fiesta Bowl Preview: Clemson vs. Ohio State

The two undefeated teams will square off in the College Football Playoff Semifinal

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Clemson (13-0) at Ohio State (13-0)

CLEM -2, O/U 63, Saturday December 28th, 8:00pm EST

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  • Both Clemson and Ohio State are undefeated SU and have gone 9-3 ATS. The over has gone 5-7 in the Tigers’ games and 7-5 in the Buckeyes’ contests. 

  • Ohio State ranks 1st in the FBS in scoring (48.7 points per game) and 3rd in defensive scoring (12.5 points per game). 

  • Clemson ranks 4th in the FBS in scoring (46.5 points per game) and 1st in defensive scoring (10.6 points per game). 

  • This game will feature two elite offenses and two elite defenses, which should make for a gritty, close-fought battle. 

  • Both starting running backs have excelled this year. Clemson’s Travis Etienne (1,500 rushing yards, 17 rushing touchdowns) and Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins (1,829 rushing yards, 20 rushing touchdowns) are among the best in the country and are guided by elite offensive lines. 

  • Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence got off to a slow start to the year, but accumulated 34 passing touchdowns (5th in FBS) and added seven more scores on the ground. He will need to step up and deliver a strong performance against Chase Young and Ohio State’s fearsome defense.

  • Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields threw 40 touchdown passes (3rd in FBS) to just one interception this season and added 10 rushing scores in Ohio State’s efficient offense. He will need to continue to protect the football and be a complementary weapon alongside Dobbins against Clemson’s stellar defense. 

  • Per DraftKings, Clemson has +200 odds and Ohio State has +225 odds to win the NCAA championship. 

Ohio State

Ohio State has been casually blowing out opponents all season long. They rank 1st in the FBS in scoring (48.7 points per game) and 3rd in defensive scoring (12.5 points allowed per game). The Buckeyes will lean on a couple Heisman candidates in this contest, starting with quarterback Justin Fields, who threw 40 touchdown passes (3rd in FBS) to just one interception this season and added 10 rushing scores in Ohio State’s efficient offense. He will need to continue to protect the football and be a complementary weapon alongside J.K. Dobbins against Clemson’s stellar defense. Dobbins (1,829 rushing yards, 20 rushing touchdowns) was one of the nation’s top running backs this season and will be heavily leaned on once again in this contest. Further, defensive end Chase Young, who broke Ohio State’s program record for sacks in a single season (16.5), might be the best overall player on a field with many future pros. 

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Clemson

Like OSU, Clemson has blown out their competition this season as well, especially in the second half of their schedule. They rank 4th in the FBS in scoring (46.5 points per game) and 1st in defensive scoring (10.6 points allowed per game). Running back Travis Etienne (1,500 rushing yards, 17 rushing touchdowns) has arguably been the nation’s most efficient running back and Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence got off to a slow start to the year, but accumulated 34 passing touchdowns (5th in FBS) and added seven more scores on the ground. He will need to step up and deliver a strong performance against Young and Ohio State’s fearsome defense.

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Preview 

As seen in our Ohio State Clemson Fiesta Bowl preview, it’s tough to identify a clear advantage for either team. Since these teams are so alike and so dominant, it’s realistic to determine that either of them could come out with the huge victory and move on to the NCAA Championship Game.

Find out the best bets for this matchup and for every other bowl game!