Clemson and Ohio State will meet in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 in a College Football Playoff semifinal. The schools have met four times and the Buckeyes have yet to down the Tigers. And now, they have their chance, again, to do so in this fifth attempt. If history is any indication, the Buckeyes have their work cut out for them. That, topped with the fact that Trevor Lawrence has been the man in every game he has ever played, makes beating the Tigers for the first time a tall order.
Lawrence, at this point, is third in our odds to with the Heisman Trophy, at +425. Two Alabama players, WR Devonta Smith (-275) and QB Mac Jones (+150), lead the odds. However, history has shown two players from the same school can split the votes, which could make a wager on Lawrence not only prescient but also profitable.
So, what’s happened in the past between the teams? The series started with a memorable — and embarrassing moment — for the Buckeyes when legendary coach Woody Hayes slugged Clemson’s Charlie Bauman in a Gator Bowl loss.
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Head to Head
1978 Gator Bowl: Clemson 17, Ohio State 15
The game lives in infamy for Ohio State as the late, volatile coach lost it and hit Clemson’s Bauman.
Hayes, who won three national championships, 13 Big Ten titles and had four undefeated seasons, will be remembered by most as the fiery coach who finally snapped with 1 minute, 59 seconds remaining in the 1978 Gator Bowl between Ohio State and Clemson.
His legacy is etched in graphic detail, a 65-year-old madman slamming his right forearm under the Clemson player’s chin after the nose guard made a game-saving interception to preserve a 17-15 Tigers victory.
Hayes also turned his rage toward one of his own players, Ken Fritz, after he tried to keep his coach from inflicting further damage. That earned the Buckeyes a second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.The next morning, Hayes was fired before leaving Jacksonville.
2014 Orange Bowl: Clemson 40, Ohio State 35
It was a wild contest with 75 points scored. Tajh Boyd threw for 378 yards and five touchdowns. Sammy Watkins had a record-setting game with 16 catches for 227 yards. Boyd’s 5-yard pass to Stanton Seckinger with 6:16 remaining put the Tigers (11-2) ahead to stay, despite allowing 20 unanswered points in wasting an early 11-point lead. Watkins caught two scoring passes, plus became Clemson’s career receptions leader and set an Orange Bowl record for yardage.
2016: Fiesta Bowl: Clemson 31, Ohio State 0
Current Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson passed for 259 yards and ran for 57 against the Buckeyes, who could not keep Clemson’s big and quick defensive line out of their backfield. Redshirt freshman Clelin Ferrell had a sack among his three tackles for loss and Clemson allowed only 215 yards and nine first downs.
2019: Fiesta Bowl: Clemson 29, Ohio State 23
The Buckeyes led 16-0 late in the second quarter after the Tigers’ red zone defense repeatedly forced the Buckeyes into short field goals in the first half. This allowed Clemson to mount a comeback. The Tigers put together two touchdown drives in the final three minutes of the half, cutting Ohio State’s lead to 16-14 at the break. Trevor Lawrence connected with Travis Etienne on a 34-yard, go-ahead touchdown with 1:49 left in the fourth quarter. That capped a 94-yard march, and the defending national champions beat No. 2 Ohio State 29-23 in the Fiesta Bowl.