Clemson vs. Ohio State score: Buckeyes prove College Football Playoff worth in blowout win
Ohio State defensive back Sevyn Banks chose not to take a knee when Trevor Lawrence’s desperation pass popped into his hands with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter Friday night. Banks instead attempted to weave more than 100 yards the other way in an effort to drop 50 points on Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinals.
Banks was tackled at the Buckeyes 38, but trying to return the interception so late in the 49-28 win seemed indicative of his team’s determination to crush an opponent that had been disrespectful. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, of course, put Ohio State outside his top 10 entering the CFP.
Justin Fields led the way for Ohio State with six touchdown passes in one of the better postseason performances in the program’s deep history of success. He did so while nursing sore ribs from an ejection-prompting first-half hit from Clemson’s James Skalski.
Buckeyes running back Trevor Sermon hurdled and at times ran over defenders in a strong complementary effort that added up to 254 all-purpose yards.
Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, the expected No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, did not appear as sharp as Fields in the pocket. He lost control of the ball on several occasions, including once when he seemingly didn’t try to recover his own fumble. So despite his 400 passing yards, his final appearance with the Tigers will be widely considered a disappointment.
Ohio State will face Alabama in the national championship game.
Sporting News tracked live scoring updates and highlights from Clemson vs. Ohio State in the College Football Playoff semifinals. Follow for complete results from the 2021 Sugar Bowl.
Clemson vs. Ohio State final score
Clemson vs. Ohio State live updates, highlights
Final: Ohio State 49, Clemson 28
11:55 p.m.: Interception. Lawrence is picked off in the end zone. Ohio State can run the rest of the clock out now.
11:51 p.m.: Clemson has the ball back with under four minutes to go. This one is over.
11:38 p.m.: Clemson turns the ball over on downs with 7:43 remaining.
11:36 p.m.: Lawrence is stripped again, but Clemson recovers the fumble. That was a 13-yard loss.
11:34 p.m.: An incompletion brings out the punting unit for Ohio State. Very little time was taken that drive.
11:31 p.m.: Ohio State has an important third-and-4 coming up with 9:55 left. A conversion would likely let the Buckeyes run several more minutes off the clock.
11:24 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Clemson. Powell scores for the second time tonight, taking advantage of his defender falling down. Still, Clemson needs a miracle to get back into the game. 49-28, Buckeyes.
11:22 p.m. Lawrence is stripped in the pocket, but Clemson manages to regain possession.
11:21 p.m.: Ohio State drops an easy interception.
11:10 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Ohio State. Fields beats the Clemson secondary again to essentially put this game away. His sixth touchdown of the night comes on the second play of the drive after Clemson’s punt. It didn’t look like Clemson expected a deep ball there. 49-21, Ohio State.
End of third quarter: Ohio State 42, Clemson 21
11:05 p.m.: Etienne gets a third-down pitch from Lawrence on a speed option, but he’s hit in the backfield.
11:02 p.m.: Quick three-and-out for Ohio State after the turnover. Clemson gets the ball right back, albeit with worse field position.
10:56 p.m.: Fumble. Lawrence loses the ball and Ohio State falls on it. A video review upholds the fumble call. It was a weird play, though, as Lawrence didn’t appear to attempt a recovery.
10:44 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Ohio State. That’s an NFL arm. Fields goes over the top of the secondary to Olave for 56 yards, and Ohio State is back in full control. 42-21, Buckeyes.
10:41 p.m.: Sermon picks up an important first down to slow Clemson’s momentum. A three-and-out would have been costly there.
10:32 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Clemson. Powell has been Lawrence’s favorite target tonight, so it’s no surprise to see him on the scoreboard with a 10-yard catch. 35-21, Buckeyes.
Defense gets a turnover, offense goes 80 yards for a TD!
Trevor Lawrence to Cornell Powell for the 10-yd TD. Cornell with 2 big catches on that drive.#ALLIN || Watch on ESPN pic.twitter.com/RwWhuJcGW1
— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) January 2, 2021
10:32 p.m.: Powell runs a crisp deep out route and is rewarded with a pinpoint pass from Lawrence. Clemson is in the red zone.
10:24 p.m.: Interception. Fields tries to throw through pressure, but the ball is tipped and picked off. Clemson really needed that.
10:21 p.m.: Fields hits another deep ball! He’s putting on a show. Olave is inside the Clemson 20 with that catch.
10:19 p.m.: The second half is underway. Ohio State has the ball first.
Halftime: Ohio State 35, Clemson 14
9:54 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Ohio State. This one is getting away from Clemson. With that score, Fields finishes the first half 16-of-18 passing for 223 yards and four touchdowns. He also has 50 rushing yards. 35-14, Buckeyes.
9:52 p.m.: Ohio State is inside the 20-yard line with 20 seconds left.
9:41 p.m.: Ohio State’s defense has been great in the second quarter. It forces another punt with 3:20 remaining in the half.
9:34 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Ohio State. Fields still doesn’t look like he’s recovered from the hit he took, but he manages to re-enter the contest and find Olave in the end zone. 28-14, Buckeyes.
9:32 p.m.: Targeting is called for the hit on Fields. James Skalski has been ejected. Automatic first down for Ohio State.
9:31 p.m.: That play is being reviewed for targeting.
9:29 p.m.: Fields takes a hard hit to the ribs as he tries to pick up a first down on the ground. He didn’t reach the marker, either, going down two yards short.
9:24 p.m.: Sermon steamrolls through the Clemson secondary, leaving at least three defenders on the ground with his powerful frame. Those 30 rushing yards bring him to 93 for the contest.
9:22 p.m.: Ohio State’s offense looks remarkably comfortable. Fields has more touchdowns than incompletions right now.
9:20 p.m.: Etienne returns for third-and-4. He’s targeted by Lawrence, but the pass is off the target. Clemson punts again.
9:19 p.m.: Etienne starts this Clemson drive on the sideline. Might have been hurt on the kickoff.
9:11 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Ohio State. First lead of the game for Ryan Day’s squad. Jeremy Ruckert was wide open on that scoring reception. 21-14, Buckeyes.
End of first quarter: Clemson 14, Ohio State 14
8:58 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Ohio State. Luke Farrell makes a catch in traffic. Tough throw from Fields. 14-14.
8:55 p.m.: Fields unloads with his full arm strength for a 46-yard pass.
8:51 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Clemson. Etienne rushes for the go-ahead score. 14-7, Tigers.
8:49 p.m.: The screen game is working wonders for Clemson. Etienne has three catches for 53 yards in the first quarter.
8:43 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Ohio State. Trey Sermon delivers consecutive explosive plays — one through the air and one on the ground — to tie the game. 7-7.
8:43 p.m.: The Buckeyes move the chains for the first time with a completion from Fields to Chris Olave.
8:38 p.m.: Lawrence had tight end Davis Allen open behind the Ohio State secondary, but pressure in his face prevents what would have been a long completion. Clemson punts the ball back.
8:35 p.m.: Fields tries to run up the middle on third-and-2 but is met behind the line of scrimmage. Ohio State will punt.
8:25 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Clemson. Lawrence sprints to the edge and dives into the end zone. He set career-high in rushing against Ohio State last year. 7-0, Tigers.
8:24 p.m.: What a catch from Cornell Powell! He sets up first-and-goal for Clemson with a jump ball snag.
8:21 p.m.: Clemson picks up a quick first down from back-to-back quick hitters. Travis Etienne then passes midfield with a catch and run.
8:20 p.m.: Clemson receives the opening kickoff.
8:03 p.m.: The game will start in about 20 minutes. Until then, the pregame show is airing on ESPN.
Clemson vs. Ohio start time
- Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
- TV channel (national): ESPN
- Live stream: ESPN app, fuboTV
The Clemson vs. Ohio State game will begin at 8 p.m. ET. It is one of four games that will take place on the ABC family of networks that day, including the third on ESPN..
College Football Playoff schedule
Friday, Jan. 1
|Rose Bowl (AT&T Stadium)||No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Notre Dame||4 p.m. ET||ESPN, fuboTV|
|Sugar Bowl||No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Ohio State||8 p.m. ET||ESPN, fuboTV|
Monday, Jan. 11
|CFP championship game (Hard Rock Stadium)||TBD vs. TBD||8 p.m. ET||ESPN, fuboTV|