GLENDALE, Ariz. – Third-ranked Clemson once again proved itself as the team to beat in college football on Saturday night when it defeated No. 2 Ohio State 29-23 in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl.
The wins allows the Tigers to advance to a third College Football Playoff National Championship Game in the last four seasons, this time against LSU.
Throughout the season Clemson listened to many in the national media criticize its strength of schedule and close win over North Carolina early in the season.
In case you forgot here are some quotes from national media members.
August 31st during the Florida State vs Boise State broadcast, Greg McElroy
“He didn’t look anything like the guy we saw at the end of the year. Disappointing performance from him.”
September 26th on ESPN Championship Drive, Emmanuel Acho
“They play the schedule at hand and they really have no ranked opponents left and by the time they get to the ACC Championship who knows how that will play out.”
“Not Clemson’s fault that the ACC is weak, and it is terribly weak but again you would love to see Trevor Lawrence be more sharp. Just like JV said he is in a sophomore slump right now and he hasn’t gotten out of that just yet. I am just interested to see is there going to be a fine-tuning game? If not, when will it be?”
December 12th on ESPN’s Daily Wager show
“When you compare this to Alabama’s national championship loss to Clemson, everything Clemson touched turned to gold. But the thing is, Trevon Diggs, their best corner, was out. They picked on some of the guys coming him to replace him. Their best pass rusher on the edge, Terrell Lewis, was out, and they were able to (muck) up the inside for their Outland Trophy-winning nose guard who was trying to rush but couldn’t get there.
December 16th on The College Football Podcast, David Pollack
“One team has Chase Young and one team doesn’t. I mean, it is as simple as that to me,” the ESPN analyst said.
“But the consistent pass rush and then secondary with Okudah, Arnette and Wade, like it is filthy in the backend,” he continued. “Now, I have question marks about all teams, and I could go into all of that, but in the grand scheme, Chase Young can get to quarterbacks. Chase Young just does not get there and get a piece of people. He is 6-5 with that athleticism and he gets quarterbacks to the ground.”
Trevor Lawrence finished the game 18-of-33 for 259 yards and two touchdowns he also rushed 16 times for 107 yards and a touchdown. Lawrence mounted the game winning four play 94 yard drive with 3:07 to play and capped it with a 34-yard touchdown pass to Travis Etienne to secure the win.
Clemson earned its fourth bid to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in five seasons and will defend its title against undefeated No. 1 LSU in New Orleans, Louisiana on Jan. 13th.
Clemson is going back to the national championship game after once again winning the Fiesta Bowl over Ohio State. Get your official Fiesta Bowl champs gear right here!