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A Brief History of Clemson vs. Ohio State Matchups

Tigers hold a 4-0 lead in the series
A Brief History of Clemson vs. Ohio State Matchups

A Brief History of Clemson vs. Ohio State Matchups

The Sugar Bowl will mark the fifth meeting between Clemson and Ohio State. While this series has seen close games, it has been one-sided in the Tigers’ favor. Here is a brief history.

Clemson 17, Ohio State 15 (Gator Bowl)

Dec., 29, 1978 – Jacksonville, Fla.

Clemson had recorded its first 10-win season and met 7-3-1 Ohio State in the Gator Bowl. In the fourth quarter, Clemson led 17-15 and was on the verge of putting the game out of reach when quarterback Steve Fuller fumbled the pitchout on Ohio State’s 36-yard line. A few plays later Buckeye quarterback Art Schlichter took the snap, scrambled, and threw a pass that was picked off by nose guard Charlie Bauman. Bauman ran to the Ohio State sideline and was tackled by Schlichter. Head coach Woody Hayes ran to Bauman and then threw a punch at Bauman’s throat. Clemson ran out the clock and Hayes was fired shortly after the game.

Related: 10 Interesting Facts About the 1978 Gator Bowl

Clemson 40, Ohio State 35 (Orange Bowl)

Jan. 3, 2014 – Miami

Both the Buckeyes and Tigers entered the Orange Bowl as the second-best team in their conferences and their high-powered offenses were on full display. The two teams collectively accounted for more than 1,000 yards of offense and Clemson wideout Sammy Watkins set an Orange Bowl record with 227 yards. In a game that saw six lead changes, Clemson pulled ahead for good with a five-yard touchdown pass from Tajh Boyd to Stanton Seckinger to take a 40-35 advantage with six minutes left. The Tigers intercepted Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller with 1:18 remaining and ran out the clock.

Clemson 31, Ohio State 0 (Fiesta Bowl - CFP Semifinal)

Dec. 31, 2016 – Glendale, Ariz.

Clemson entered the Fiesta Bowl and College Football Playoff as the ACC champion at 12-1, having played 11 of 13 bowl teams. Ohio State came in as the first team to make the playoff without winning its conference but was still a 3.5-point favorite. If you bet on the Buckeyes, you lost. Quarterback Deshaun Watson threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as Clemson held Ohio State to nine first downs and gave head coach Urban Meyer the first shutout loss of his career. The Tigers then beat Alabama in the national championship game to win the program’s second national title. When Clemson and Ohio State meet again in the Fiesta Bowl, the two teams will be on more equal footing.

Clemson 29, Ohio State 23 (Fiesta Bowl - CFP Semifinal)

Dec. 28, 2019 – Glendale, Ariz.

Both teams entered the Fiesta Bowl and College Football Playoff at 13-0. The Buckeyes looked as if they were going to finally get a win in the series when they jumped out to a 16-0 second-quarter lead. Then Clemson responded with 21 unanswered points to retake the lead in the third quarter. Ohio State pulled ahead when Justin Fields threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Chris Olave, but Clemson clinched the win with a 34-yard scoring strike from Trevor Lawrence to Travis Etienne with less than two minutes to go. Tigers safety Nolan Turner ended any chances of a last-minute drive when he intercepted Fields' pass. Clemson then lost to LSU in the national championship game.

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.

(Top photo courtesy of Getty Images)