When Clemson and Ohio State faced off in the 2019 Fiesta Bowl, it was a matchup of two fairly even teams.
Both had explosive, high powered offenses that were led by two of the best quarterbacks in the nation and both had two of the better defenses in the country. It made for what was arguably the most entertaining college football game of the entire season.
The two teams are set to face off again this season, and as hard as the talking heads will try to convince you that this is once again a game between two evenly matched teams, it isn’t.
That Ohio State defense from 2019 was legit. The 2020 version, not so much. Only one of these teams had an elite-level defense, and that is Clemson. And the numbers bare that out.
Ohio State also gives up 261.3 passing yards per game, which makes them 104th in the country when it comes to pass defense. And it isn’t as if they played a bunch of high-powered passing offenses in their six games.
The highest ranked passing offense the Buckeyes faced all season was ranked No. 39 in the country. They also faced teams ranked No. 40, No. 72, No. 98, No. 102, and No. 106, while Clemson comes into the Sugar Bowl with the No. 7 passing offense in the country.
The way the Buckeyes defense is structured, it leaves them vulnerable to the quarterback run. Add in a secondary that just hasn’t covered well this season and this could be an area in which Clemson really has a significant advantage.