Justin Fields threw for 385 yards and six touchdowns as third-ranked Ohio State crushed second-ranked Clemson 49-28 on Friday in a College Football Playoff semifinal game at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
The Buckeyes (7-0) will play No. 1 Alabama in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Jan. 11 with a chance for their first national championship since the 2014-15 season.
Fields completed 22 of 28 passes with one interception and ran eight times for 42 yards to lead the Buckeyes, who amassed 639 total yards. Trey Sermon ran 31 times for 193 yards and Chris Olave made six catches for 132 yards and two TDs for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State reeled off 28 unanswered points to take a 35-14 halftime lead behind Fields’ exploits, and the Buckeyes successfully avenged a 29-23 loss to the Tigers in last year’s semifinals.
In the first half, Fields was 16 of 18 for 223 yards and four touchdowns and ran seven times for 50 yards to help the Buckeyes overcome 7-0 and 14-7 deficits.
Trevor Lawrence was 33 of 48 for 400 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for Clemson (10-2). The Tigers managed just 44 rushing yards on 22 carries.
Fields tossed an 8-yard pass to Luke Farrell, the senior tight end’s first career TD catch, to make it 14-14 late in the first quarter. Fields then hit Jeremy Ruckert on a 17-yard scoring play for a 21-14 lead at 10:35 of the second quarter and connected with Olave for a 9-yard touchdown to make it 28-14.
Clemson’s James Skalski ejected for targeting
On the latter drive, Clemson linebacker James Skalski was ejected for targeting for his hit on Fields. The Ohio State quarterback left the game for one play before returning to throw his third TD pass. The fourth came with 11 seconds left in the half, 12 yards to Ruckert.
After Clemson pulled within 35-21 on a Cornell Powell TD reception early in the third quarter, Fields threw scoring strikes of 56 yards to Olave and 45 Jameson Williams to make it a 28-point game a minute into the fourth quarter.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)