Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields battled through pain and led his team to a 49-28 victory over the Clemson Tigers in the Sugar Bowl on Friday night. Fields put on an incredible performance highlighted by perfectly placed deep balls that went for touchdowns.
Fields finished 22-28 passing for 385 yards and six touchdowns against one meaningless interception.
Both offenses started off hot with a 14-14 score after the first quarter. While Clemson cooled off offensively, the Buckeyes kept on rolling all night long, and it all started with Fields.
Fields took a big shot to the ribs in the second quarter, which resulted in a targeting penalty for James Skalski for leading with the head. Fields returned to the game two plays later and hit Chris Olave for a nine-yard touchdown to put the Buckeyes ahead by two possessions for the first time.
Fields was clearly in pain when TV cameras showed him throwing on the sideline, but he never missed another snap the rest of the game.
Leading 35-14 out of the break, Fields marched Ohio State right down the field going for a potential four-touchdown lead, but an interception in the end zone thrown into triple coverage gave Clemson second half life. The Tigers took advantage and cashed in with a 10-yard touchdown for Cornell Powell.
Fields shut down any thought of a Clemson comeback when he launched a perfectly thrown 56-yard touchdown to Olave to get it back to a three-score lead. Olave finished the game with six receptions for 132 yards and two touchdowns.
On the ground, Trey Sermon scored a touchdown and gained 121 of his 193 yards in the first half.
It’s the end of the Trevor Lawrence era at Clemson, though the Tigers should be in contention to be back next season. In his final college game, Lawrence was 33-48 for 400 yards and two touchdowns, with an interception as a heave on fourth down to save a last-minute drive.
Ohio State came in as seven-point underdogs and covered with ease with moneyline odds set at +240. The point total was set at 68.5, which was surpassed early in the fourth quarter with another beautiful deep ball from Fields finding Jameson Williams for a 45-yard score.
Ohio State will take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in the national title game in Miami on Monday, Jan. 11. Alabama opened as seven-point favorites.