NEW ORLEANS — Friday’s Sugar Bowl started well for second-ranked Clemson when Trevor Lawrence ran for a two-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the game. But as the half wore on, No. 3 Ohio State started to dominate the Tigers.
The Buckeyes’ offense shredded the Clemson defense, amassed 394 total yards as they lead the Tigers 35-14 at the break from the Superdome in New Orleans.
Ohio State scored touchdowns on each of it last five possessions of the half after going three-and-out in the opening drive.
Justin Fields was 16-of-18 for 223 yards and four touchdown in the first 30 minutes. Running back Trey Sermon had 121 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries. The Buckeyes ran for 171 yards in the first two quarters of the game.
The Buckeyes scored the last 28 points of the half and had 229 total yards in the second quarter.
The Clemson offense did not do much better than its defense. After scoring touchdowns on two of their first three drives, Lawrence and the offense struggled for just 29 yards in the second quarter. The Tigers had 167 total yards after the first quarter.
Lawrence was 12-of-18 for 152 yards in the opening half. However, the Tigers had just 49 yards on the ground, while Travis Etienne had six carries for 14 yards and one touchdown.
However, Etienne did catch three passes for 53 yards.
Clemson opened the scoring when Lawrence led the Tigers on an 8-play, 82-yard drive with 2:50 to play in the first quarter. Lawrence capped the drive himself with a two-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead with 12:10 to play in the first quarter.
But Lawrence’s touchdown was just the beginning of a first quarter that saw both teams combine to score 28 points and 332 yards.
The Buckeyes tied the game on their ensuing possession. It took just three plays, which Sermon capped with a 32-yard touchdown through a gabbing hole on the left side.
The Tigers reclaimed the lead on a three-yard Etienne touchdown to cap a 75-yard drive with 5:01 to play in the first quarter.
However, Ohio State quickly scored again. Fields hit wide receiver Garrett Wilson for 47 yards for a first down inside the Clemson five-yard line. Three plays later Fields finished the drive with an eight-yard touchdown pass to tight end Will Farrell to tie things at 14 with 1:36 to play in the first quarter.
Things got bad for Clemson from there. Not only did Ohio State take control of the game with two second-quarter touchdowns but the Tigers also lost linebacker James Skalski for the game after he was ejected for targeting on a mid-section hit to Fields.