Publish Date: 12/30/2016
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis
This game shapes up as a great matchup, on one side you have the best player in college football Clemson QB Deshaun Watson, on the other, you have an excellent Ohio State defense. This should be a close and explosive game all the way, with that being said let’s look at the keys to this matchup.
Can Ohio State contain Deshaun Watson?
Ohio State finished third nationally by limiting opponents to an impressive 14.2 points per game. The Buckeyes also held opposing offenses to just 4.2 yards per play and allowed only ten touchdowns through the air. It’s hard to find a weak link on this unit, as each level features a stellar performer. Linebacker Raekwon McMillan is one of the best in the nation at his position and will be a force shortly on Sunday’s, safety Malik Hooker recorded six interceptions, and end Tyquan Lewis (7.5 sacks) leads a wealth of talent in the trenches. My question with the Buckeyes defense is when it comes to the pass rush, they get a lot of pressure, but do not convert the pressure to sacks. Against Deshaun Watson, it will be imperative to stay in their lanes and make the tackle.
This has been Clemson’s Achilles heel all year, and if it still is on Saturday, Ohio State will win the game. Clemson was even on turnover margin on the year, and the Buckeyes were a plus 16. Clemson has to take care of the ball better than they have all season if they are to win the game.
The Buckeyes have one of the best pass blocking lines in the country; there can be no dispute of that. When it comes to pass blocking they have been sorely lacking, as an example look at the Michigan game were they got sacked an incredible eight times. If Clemson can force the Buckeyes to have to beat them through the air, the Buckeyes will be in trouble. Clemson has one of the best secondaries in College football, and the Buckeyes will be hard pressed to make any explosive plays in the passing game.
This is almost too close to call; you have two well coached and experienced teams. Ohio State will run the ball well and I think Deshaun Watson will come up big, the problem is I think Ohio State’s running game can shorten the game and limit Watson’s opportunities. Ohio State 27 Clemson 23.
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