Written By: Colby Wonacott
Contributing Writer For Telegraph Local
On December 28th the star-studded Ohio State Buckeyes will be facing off against the fast pace juggernaut Clemson Tigers team in Glendale, Arizona at 8 pm ET on ESPN. Currently, Clemson is favored by 2 points according to Oddshark. This will be the 2nd time these two teams are facing off in the College Football Semi-Final, back in 2016 Clemson curb-stomped the Buckeyes 31-0 prior to losing the NCAA Championship to Alabama 45-40.
In a highly anticipated Fiesta Bowl, this semi-final will be host to multiple current 1st rounds and future 1st round draft picks all over the field. In a seemingly equal match-up, below we will dive in to see who has the edge on one another.
Offense Edge: Ohio State Buckeyes
Choosing an offensive edge was difficult, very difficult. On paper, both teams’ stats are almost identical, with both teams playing sub-par teams all season long. With the stats being so close, my conclusion of giving the offensive edge to Ohio State came down to Justin Fields’ ability to not turn the ball over and his scrambling skills.
Ohio State’s Justin Fields has 40 TDs and 1 interception, 1 interception through 13 games! In a game where turnovers could potentially be deadly. Having a QB under center who doesn’t throw ugly interceptions, while scrambling to extend drives helps gives his team the edge on offense.
Defense Edge: Clemson Tigers
All year long, Ohio State has been the sexy defensive team. With potential top ten picks like DE Chase Young and CB Jeff Okuda in next year’s NFL draft. The Buckeyes were consistently appointed as the best defensive team in the country.
Well, I have a feeling the Clemson Tigers have something to say about that. The most important stat to defenses is turnovers. The Tigers average 2.2 interceptions per game while Ohio State averages 1.9 according to sports reference. Clemson run defense on average prevents their opponents’ score less rushing TDs (0.6) per game by almost half of Ohio State defense per game (0.9). Clemson might not have the big names like in years past, but the dominance has not left.
Coaching Edge: Clemson Tigers
With both teams being so close on the offensive side and defensive side of the ball, this game will come down to coaching. Buckeyes head coach, Ryan Day is off to a hot start in his career, no one can take that away from him.
Unforntly when he is being compared to 2-time national championship Head Coach Dabo Sweeny, Coach Ryan Day has a clear disadvantage. Coach Dabo has gone toe to toe with legend Nick Saban and has come out victorious 2 times. With the experience vs the inexperience of Coach Day, the coaching edge goes to Clemson.
My prediction: Clemson 34 – Ohio State 24