Orange Bowl 2014 Clemson vs. Ohio State: Live Game Grades, Analysis for Buckeyes

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Orange Bowl 2014 Clemson vs. Ohio State: Live Game Grades, Analysis for Buckeyes
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson 40, Ohio State 35,  - Final

The No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes fell again, this time to No. 12 Clemson in the Discover Orange Bowl.

Stats via NCAA.com.

Ohio State Game Grades
Position Unit 1st Half Grade Final Grade
Pass Offense B B-
Run Offense D C+
Pass Defense C- D
Run Defense C D
Special Teams A B-
Coaching B- C-

vs. Clemson, 2014 Orange Bowl

Game analysis for the Ohio State Buckeyes

Pass Offense: Braxton Miller was harassed all game, taking multiple big hits while being sacked four times, but he still managed to complete 66.7 percent of his passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns. His two interceptions, though, proved to be costly.

Run Offense: The Buckeyes got some traction on the ground in the second half, finishing the game with 181 yards. Clemson loaded the box, making it hard for Ohio State to enjoy its usual success, especially between the tackles.

Run Defense: Clemson used its rushing attack to keep Ohio State’s overmatched defense off balance. The Buckeyes were gashed, especially on the perimeter, giving up 206 yards on 36 carries.

Pass Defense: Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins toasted Ohio State’s secondary. Boyd threw for 371 yards and five touchdowns, and Watkins set an Orange Bowl record with 227 receiving yards while also hauling in two touchdowns. The only redeeming plays of the day came from freshman Vonn Bell, who picked Boyd off in the second quarter, and C.J. Barnett, who snagged an interception late in the game.

Special Teams: After a flawless first half, disaster struck in the third quarter when Corey Brown muffed a Clemson punt near midfield. The Buckeyes were up nine, but Clemson stole the momentum by taking the ensuing drive 33 yards for a touchdown.

Coaching: Nothing Luke Fickell and the defensive staff called could stop this Clemson offense. The Buckeyes tried to pressure Tajh Boyd with an array of blitzes, but nothing came through as the Tigers ripped the Buckeyes with 577 total yards.

Chris Trotman/Getty Images
It was a tough night for Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes.

First-half analysis for the Ohio State Buckeyes

Pass Offense: Braxton Miller spent the majority of the first half running for his life. The Buckeyes quarterback was sacked three times and completed just three passes midway through the second quarter, but a fast finish to the half gave Ohio State a huge lift.

Run Offense: Ohio State’s third-ranked rushing offense was shut down by Clemson’s active defensive front. Outside of a 33-yard touchdown run from Miller, the Buckeyes had no explosive plays on the ground and rushed for just 85 yards.

Run Defense: Ohio State has been good against the run this season, but Clemson found a lot of success against the Buckeyes. Tajh Boyd cut right through Ohio State’s defense on a 48-yard touchdown run to open the game, as Clemson piled up 139 rushing yards on just 18 carries.

Pass Defense: As expected, Boyd and the Clemson receivers took what they wanted against Ohio State’s beleaguered secondary. Ohio State gave up 224 yards and two touchdowns through the air, although Vonn Bell did snag a pivotal interception inside Ohio State's 5-yard line.

Special Teams: Two huge special teams plays lifted the Buckeyes early. On Ohio State’s first drive, Meyer called for a fake punt that tight end Jeff Heuerman executed perfectly. Later, punter Cameron Johnston pinned Clemson’s offense at the 1-yard line, which led to a safety for the Ohio State defense.

Coaching: Without that fake punt call and the final two offensive drives, the first half would have been a complete disaster for Urban Meyer and the coaching staff. Ohio State consistently tried to pound the ball inside despite Clemson stuffing the run, but the Buckeyes adjusted and went to the air to close out the half. 

 

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