Ohio State won't be bayou bound.
The second-ranked Buckeyes' quest for a national title fell short on Saturday when No. 3 Clemson beat Ohio State 29-23 in the College Football Playoff Semifinal Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona. With that, the defending national champions will advance to the College Football Championship Game in New Orleans on Jan. 13, where they'll face No. 1 LSU.
The Buckeyes jumped out to an early 16-0 lead but saw their offense fall stagnant heading into the second half. But after surrendering 21 unanswered points, Ohio State climbed back on top with a Justin Fields touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter.
Despite eating nearly seven minutes on a drive, the Buckeyes left the Tigers too much time as Trevor Lawrence found Travis Etienne for a 34-yard touchdown pass to give Clemson the lead with less than two minutes remaining in the game. Ohio State appeared poised to return the favor, advancing the ball into Tigers' territory, but Fields was intercepted in the end zone to end the game.
What follows is a running recap of Saturday night's semifinal:
0:37: Clemson 29, Ohio State 23: Ohio State's drive into the Clemson red zone falls short when Justin Fields is picked off by Nolan Turner in the Tigers end zone.
1:49: Clemson 29, Ohio State 23: Trevor Lawrence engineers a quick 4-play, 94-yard drive, capping it with a 34-yard touchdown pass to Travis Etienne to give the Tigers the lead. Lawrence then finds Tee Higgins for a 2-point conversion to extend the lead to six.
3:07: Ohio State 23, Clemson 21: Ohio State puts together a long drive that spans nearly seven minutes but opts to punt after coming up short on a 3rd and 5. Clemson takes over at its own 6-yard line with 3 minutes to go.
9:59: Ohio State 23, Clemson 21: Trevor Lawrence rips off a 16-yard run, but that's the only offense the Tigers are able to muster as Lawrence throws a 3-yard pass to Justyn Ross on third and 8, leading to a Clemson punt.
11:46: Ohio State 23, Clemson 21: Justin Fields engineers a 13-play, 84-yard drive, capping it with a 23-yard touchdown pass on 4th and 2 to put the Buckeyes back on top.
1:38: Clemson 21, Ohio State 16: After taking over at the Clemson 36-yard line, Trevor Lawrence finds Joe Ngata for a quick first down but a Baron Browning sack on third and five forces the Tigers to punt the ball back to the Buckeyes.
4:13: Clemson 21, Ohio State 16: Justin Fields throws just his second interception of the season when he's picked off by Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons.
4:47: Clemson 21, Ohio State 16: An Ohio State scoop and score on 3rd and 19 gets overturned and ruled an incomplete pass, but Clemson is still forced to put the ball back to the Buckeyes, who take over at their own 45-yard line.
6:21: Clemson 21, Ohio State 16: Ohio State goes 3-and-out with Justin Fields taking an 8-yard sack on 3rd and 8 as the Buckeyes are forced to punt the ball back to the Tigers.
7:54: Clemson 21, Ohio State 16: Ohio State forces a Clemson punt but a roughing the punter penalty extends the Tigers' drive. Clemson makes the Buckeyes pay for it with Travis Etienne scoring on a 53-yard screen pass.
10:39: Ohio State 16, Clemson 14: J.K. Dobbins hobbles off the field on the first play of the drive and the Buckeyes offense sputters with Justin Fields taking on a larger rushing role. Dru Chrisman, however, manages to pin the Tigers at their own 1-yard line with a 44-yard punt.
14:06: Ohio State 16, Clemson 14: After drawing a pass interference penalty on first down, a pair of Trevor Lawrence incompletions results in the Tigers punting the ball back to the Buckeyes on the opening drive of the second half.
0:00: Ohio State 16. Clemson 14: Ohio State goes 3-and-out and Clemson opts to take a knee, heading into the locker room trailing the Buckeyes by just two points.
1:10: Ohio State 16, Clemson 14: Trevor Lawrence takes off on a 67-yard touchdown run bringing Clemson within two points -- and a chance to get the ball back again before halftime.
2:05: Ohio State 16, Clemson 7: Clemson forces Ohio State into its first 3-and-out of the night and gets the ball back with a chance to score before halftime.
2:45: Ohio State 16, Clemson 7: Ohio State appears to force another Clemson punt, but a review results in Buckeyes cornerback Shaun Wade being called for targeting after a sack. The Tigers proceed to drive the ball down the field with a Travis Etienne touchdown run giving them their first points of the night.
7:20: Ohio State 16, Clemson 0: Justin Fields engineers a drive down to the Tigers' 11-yard line, but a false start followed by three consecutive incompletions -- including a J.K. Dobbins drop -- forces the Buckeyes into another field goal.
12:15: Ohio State 13, Clemson 0: Dabo Swinney opts for another punt after the Tigers manage to must just nine yards on three plays.
14:11: Ohio State 13, Clemson 0: A J.K. Dobbins 64-yard run sets up another Blake Haubeil field goal after a Dobbins touchdown reception is overturned after review.
0:53: Ohio State 10, Clemson 0: Clemson goes three and out with a Tyler Friday sack on third and 2 forcing the Tigers to punt for the second straight drive.
2:47: Ohio State 10, Clemson 0: Ohio State takes over at its own 9 yard line and despite gaining some breathing room on a K.J. Hill first down, the Buckeyes are forced to punt for the first time all night.
6:05: Ohio State 10, Clemson 0: Clemson again moves the ball but is unable to do more than that with a Trevor Lawrence incomplete pass on 3rd and 4 leading to a Tiger punt.
8:35: Ohio State 10, Clemson 0: J.K. Dobbins breaks off a 68-yard touchdown run to give the Buckeyes a 10-0 lead.
8:44: Ohio State 3, Clemson 0: Clemson puts together an impressive opening drive, but the Tigers are unable to put points on the board, missing a 49-yard field goal.
12:03: Ohio State 3, Clemson 0: Ohio State puts together an impressive opening drive, highlighted by freshman Garrett Wilson's circus catch, but stalls in the red zone. Buckeyes take an early 3-0 lead after a Blake Haubeil 21-yard field goal.
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