Clemson Starts Slow, Finishes Strong in 29-23 Win Over Ohio St. in CFP Semifinal


Clemson running back Travis Etienne scores a touchdown against Ohio State during the second half of the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football playoff semifinal Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE, Ariz. (Clemson SID) — Trevor Lawrence connected with Travis Etienne with 1:49 left in the fourth quarter to give No. 3 Clemson the lead and Nolan Turner intercepted Ohio State’s Justin Fields in the endzone with 37 seconds remaining, as the Tigers (14-0) erased a 16-point first half deficit to defeat No. 2 Ohio State 29-23 in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl- College Football Playoff Semi-Final in Glendale, Ariz. 

Clemson will now head to New Orleans, La. for a chance at its third College Football Playoff Championship. The Tigers will face off against No. 1 LSU on Monday, Jan. 13 on ESPN. It will be the Tigers’ fourth championship game appearance in five years. 

The win extends Clemson’s nation’s best 29 game win streak. The Tigers trailed 16-0 in the first half, before two touchdowns in the second quarter cut into the Buckeye lead, 16-14. Clemson scored a touchdown in the third quarter to take a 21-16 lead into the fourth quarter. Ohio State retook the lead with 11:46 remaining, 23-21. With 1:49 remaining, Lawrence found Etienne for a 34-yard touchdown to reclaim the lead. Nolan Turner recorded Clemson’s second interception of the contest, picking off Fields in the endzone to seal the 29-23 victory for the Tigers. 

Trevor Lawrence completed 18-of-33 passes for 259 yards and two passing touchdowns. The sophomore ran for a career best 107 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown rush in the second quarter, the longest rush of his career. Lawrence threw a touchdown pass in a 24th consecutive game, which is the longest active streak in the nation.

Travis Etienne recorded his third and fourth receiving touchdown of the season, taking a pass from Lawrence 53 yards to the endzone in the second quarter, and a 34-yard touchdown in the final minutes of the game to put the Tigers ahead. Etienne lead Clemson in receiving with three receptions for 98 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions.  Etienne finished with 36 rushing yards, and one rushing touchdown. 

The Clemson defense intercepted Ohio State’s Fields two times, one by Butkus Award winner Isaiah Simmons and one to seal the game by Nolan Turner. Prior to the game, Fields had only thrown one interception on the season.

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