PHOENIX (WIS) - It wasn’t easy, but Clemson punches their ticket to the Big Easy.
On Ohio State’s final drive, Justin Fields was picked off by Nolan Turner in the end zone with less than a minute to go to seal a 29-23 win over the No. 2 Buckeyes.
The Tigers overcame a 16-0 lead to make their fourth national championship appearance in the last five years.
Ohio State struck first on Saturday. Using the passing attack, Justin Fields led the Buckeyes’ offense down the field 71 yards before the Tigers tightened up in the red zone. Ohio State only came away with a 21-yard field goal making it 3-0.
Clemson didn’t have as much luck on their first drive. After making their way into OSU territory, the Clemson offense stalled and wasn’t able to tie it up after BT Potter missed a 49-yard field goal.
On their second drive, Ohio State extended its lead on the first play. JK Dobbins motored to the end zone for a 68-yard touchdown to push the Buckeyes ahead 10-0 with 8:35 left in the quarter.
Dobbins ended the game with 174 rushing yards on 18 carries and a touchdown.
The second quarter saw Clemson continue to struggle on offense until the 2:45 mark. Travis Etienne capped a 10-play, 75-yard drive with an 8-yard touchdown run to make it a 16-7 game.
Clemson makes it a game on their next drive. Thanks to a 67-yard run by Trevor Lawrence, the Tigers only trailed by two with 1:10 left in the half.
Lawrence finished with 107 rushing yards and a score making him the team’s leading rusher. The Tigers, who had just 77 yards in the first quarter, ended the half with 213 yards.
Clemson took their first lead of the night in the third quarter. The Tigers started the second drive of the half at their own 1 and took the ball 99 yards. Etienne caps the drive with a 53-yard touchdown reception to give the Tigers a 21-16 advantage.
Ohio State wouldn’t fold. Justin Fields put his team back on top in the fourth quarter after completing a 4th-and-2 pass to Chris Olave for 23 yards. With that, OSU took a 23-21 lead with 11:46 left.
However, Clemson battled back with less than two minutes to go. Etienne put the Tigers ahead once again. This time, his second touchdown catch of the night -- a 23-yard reception -- pushed the defending champs ahead. The Tigers also tacked on a 2-point conversion to make it 29-23.
Etienne finished the night with just 36 rushing yards, but he also had three catches for 98 yards and two touchdown catches.
Ohio State marched down the field on their final drive, but Justin Fields’ final pass of the game sailed into the hands of Nolan Turner, who fell in the end zone to put the game away for the Tigers following the turnover.
Fields had just one interception heading into Saturday night’s game. He was picked off twice by the Tigers despite going 30-of-46 for 320 yards.
Clemson now has 29 wins in a row and will now play LSU for the national championship on Jan. 13 in New Orleans at 8 p.m.