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Ohio State running back JK Dobbins explodes in the first quarter

A pair of big gainers for JK Dobbins give the Buckeyes a lead in the first half.

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff Semifinal-Ohio State vs Clemson Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: JK Dobbins struggled with an ankle injury suffered late in the second quarter. He finished with 174 yards on 18 carries with a touchdown. He caught six passes for 47 yards.

Two Ohio State Buckeyes were in New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony, and a third had a case with JK Dobbins, and he showed the Clemson Tigers his elusive speed in the first quarter of the Fiesta Bowl.

Already leading 3-0, Ohio State watched a Clemson 46-yard field goal sail outside the uprights. On the very next play, Dobbins took the handoff, changed direction making Clemson Tigers safety K’Von Wallace stumble himself out of the play. Sixty-eight yards later, Dobbins reached the end zone in front of several trailing Tigers.

Dobbins busted another big gainer for a 64-yard run on the final play of the first quarter down to the Clemson 8-yard line, barely being taken off his feet by Tanner Muse. Two plays later, Dobbins appeared to come up with a diving 5-yard touchdown reception initially, but the call was reversed to an incomplete pass, leading to a field goal.

The Buckeyes are leading 13-0 early in the second quarter thanks to the breakaway speed of Dobbins, who came into this game ranked third in rushing yards (1,829) and sixth in rushing touchdowns (20).

The health of Justin Fields’ knee was a big discussion coming into this game, and an effective running game with Dobbins makes a big difference.