Taking a closer look at 40-35 Orange Bowl win...
Inside the numbers of Clemson football…
0 - Sophomore punter Bradley Pinion finished the season with 24 punts landing inside the 20 and zero touchbacks. That wasn't his only contribution, however, as a 4.65 hangtime on a punt was enough to make OSU punt returner Corey Brown think for a game-changing fumble in the third quarter.
1 - Per ESPN, Tajh Boyd is the only quarterback in 80 Orange Bowls to pass for over 300 yards (378) and rush for over 100 yards (127).
1 (pt. 2) - The stat has made its way around the Internet, but worth mentioning again (and again) - Clemson is the only team in 281 tries to beat an Ohio State team that's scored 35 or more points.
1.94 - Braxton Miller, who had rushed for over 600 yards in his previous four games, managed only 1.94 yards per carry and 35 total rushing yards. Part of the problem was five sacks, which took away 43 yards by NCAA rules.
2-of-13 - Not many teams win going 2-of-13 on third downs, and Ohio State proved that to be true. Miller was sacked four times and averaged 4.8 yards per pass on the down (3-of-5 for 24 yards) with an interception.
2.9 - Thought you saw a bunch of quick passes Friday night? Yep, per ESPN, Boyd's passes averaged just 2.9 "air" yards downfield per attempt. 350 yards came after the catch. Per O&W contributor Marty Coleman, 27 of Boyd's 40 passes were behind the line of scrimmage and they went for 219 yards and a touchdown.
4 - Tajh Boyd's ill-advised flip and OSU DB Vonn Bell's outstanding interception in the second quarter was a rarity, as only Boyd's fourth interception in 133 career red zone throws.
4.5 - Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde went into the south Florida trip averaging 7.7 yards per carry, and while he broke a few Friday night, he was held to a season-low 4.5 per by Clemson. Of his 25 carries, 13 went for three or less yards. He was averaging over four carries of 10-plus yards a game - and was held to only one in the Orange Bowl.
7-0 - Three or less sacks allowed and Clemson was undefeated this season (only 2 on Friday). Boyd had a 71.1 completion percentage with 23 touchdowns to three interceptions in those games.
16 - Both Sammy Watkins' school-record-setting catch total...and the number of completions from Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller.
94.1 - Tajh Boyd targeted Sammy Watkins 17 times and completed 16 of them (94.1 rate). Ten came on quick screens behind the line of scrimmage, which he averaged 12.6 per reception. Watkins led the nation in yards after catch by a wide margin among AQ conferences per ESPN.
127 - Boyd racked up a personal record 127 rushing yards. In his first 24 starts, he averaged a little over 25 rushing yards per game (25.6), but in the final 16, he put up his two 100-yard efforts and 35.1 per game.
Rewatch extra points...
Rewatched the game and here are a few more thoughts...
- Chad Morris called and gameplanned the game of his career. He debuted a ton of new looks and identified Ohio State's weakpoints on tape (on the edge), and kept hitting them where it hurt. As Coleman pointed out, 68 percent of Clemson's passes were behind the line, making Ohio State's front-seven (its strength) work to really make an impact. The blocking was outstanding on the edge, where a variety of motions and decoys kept the Buckeyes on their heels.
- Clemson was hitting hard. Brent Venables' defense put the pressure on - and when they weren't getting to Miller, they were still leaving their mark on the Buckeyes' junior quarterback. Miller said he hurt his throwing shoulder on the fifth play of the game postgame, but by the end of the game, he had a few more spots aching. It was pretty clear Miller hadn't faced many defenses the caliber of Clemson in terms of bringing pressure.
- Yes, the refs struggled. 144 penalty yards is absurd. 144 penalty yards for one team is in another category, and especially for a Clemson team that really hasn't been penalized much.
- Stephone Anthony was the Tigers' 007. Anthony was clearly the "spy" on Miller and kept him in check both on the run and with a pass breakup and the game-clinching interception. Anthony read Miller well all night and totaled a Clemson-best eight tackles.
- C.J. Davidson put himself in the conversation. Out goes Hot Rod McDowell and in is a wide-open 2014 RB competition that will feature a number of incoming freshmen. The Daniel product and former walkon was featured in a jet sweep-package Morris used more than usual with three "passes" at nine yards at a clip. You figure Zac Brooks, who will be a junior next season, wasn't healthy to play (shoulder) and possibly likewise for D.J. Howard (rising senior, ankle). Davidson showed the speed that could keep him from falling way back in the pack come '14.
- How about those Clemson tight ends? Freshman Jordan Leggett breaks free for a 43-yard catch. Sophomore Stanton Seckinger slipped out for the game-winning five-yard touchdown reception. Junior Sam Cooper had a pretty good night serving as lead-blocker on the quick WR screens that littered the night. When Clemson needed a play, that unit was there to answer.