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CFB Playoff Preview: Ohio St vs Clemson

Ohio State will no doubt be fired up after Clemson coach, Dabo Swinney, said the Buckeyes shouldn't even be ranked inside the top 10 in the country. They need to get off to a fast start against a Clemson program that has never lost to Ohio State, including last years first round playoff matchup. The Buckeyes looked to blow out the Tigers early last year until a few second half bad breaks (and bad calls) allowed Clemson to come back and advance to the National Championship. Hopefully, Ohio State will learn from last years matchup and handle Trevor Lawrence's run game a little better. Last year, they were able to get pressure, but allowed Lawrence to get out of the pocket and rush for over 100 yards and a touchdown. On the offensive side, Justin Fields will need to keep his spectacular form this season. He will be getting some help as receivers Garret Wilson and Chris Olave will return after missing the Big 10 championship game after testing positive for COVID.

Sure-thing #1 draft pick Trevor Lawrence has been the best player in the country since returning from a bout with COVID-19. Since returning three games ago, Lawrence has thrown for nearly 1,000 yards and will be a finalist for the Heisman trophy. The worries for the Clemson Tigers come in the secondary and in the offensive rush game. The Tigers defense has been fantastic this year except for one glaring issue. Deep plays down the field. They've already allowed as many plays over 30 yards on defense this season in two fewer games. They will also be without DB Nolan Turner in the secondary who will miss the first half due to suspension. The run game has also not been up to Clemson standards this season. Running back Travis Etienne has struggled all season until a flash of his former self in the second half last week against Notre Dame. For Clemson to beat the Buckeyes they cant be one dimensional and only throw the football, they need Etienne.

Earlier in the week I couldn't be more confident that Clemson was going to win by more than a touchdown. As the week has gone on, I feel more and more that Ohio State finally has a chance to get over the hump. I'm sticking with my gut and trusting Trevor Lawrence to edge out Fields and the Buckeyes. Clemson wins in a game closer than I originally thought. Clemson 34-28.

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