Last season, Clemson left a sour taste in Ohio State’s mouth after a thrilling 29-23 comeback after falling behind 16-0 in the first half to win in the Fiesta Bowl and clinch a berth in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
Now, the two teams will meet again in the CFP Semifinal at the Sugar Bowl and both sides have plenty of extra-motivation. During this extended offseason, Ohio State had pictures of the Fiesta Bowl scoreboard plastered all over their football complex at the Woody Hayes Building in Columbus, Ohio.
Quarterback Justin Fields and others have talked about the Clemson game throughout the season and how the opportunity for a rematch was a driving force for the Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes never fully got over the loss and head coach Ryan Day echoed that sentiment in the Sugar Bowl media teleconference on Sunday.
“Fresh off of that game it was right on our minds and when we got back for workouts in January and February it was right there for us,” Day said. “Coming off of that game we just didn’t get over it, it took time. We got into spring ball and started to move forward and then quarantine happened and the goal was to get back in this situation.”
Now Day’s team is excited to be back in the same situation and hopes to rewrite the outcome and punch their ticket to Miami.
“We were in the same situation a year ago and we wanted to get back here. How we got back here is just amazing to get back right here and play Clemson, you can’t even make it up,” Day said. “Some of the best story tellers of all time couldn’t make this up but here we are, all that being said here we are.”
Ohio State needs to play its best game against Clemson and hopes to have a full roster available after the Big Ten changed COVID-19 protocols.
“So we are really excited about preparing over the next 11 or 12 days to play our best game because we will have to in order to beat these guys,” Day said.
Clemson kicks off against the Buckeyes at 8 p.m. in the Sugar Bowl for the CFP Semifinal.