Ohio St. vs


at New Orleans
Fri, Jan 1
5:00 PM Pacific
Rotation: 333
Odds: Clemson -7, Total: 66.5

Game Analysis

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Clemson (-7.5)  40   Ohio State  31

Lean – Over (66.5)

Ohio State’s offense rates as the second-best attack in the nation behind Alabama, as the Buckeyes have been consistently great – averaging 7.0 yards per play or more in all 6 of their games and 7.5 yppl overall (against teams that would allow 5.0 yppl to an average FBS offense). The Buckeyes even managed to gain 520 yards at 7.3 yppl against an elite Northwestern defense in the Big 10 Championship game with quarterback Justin Fields playing with an injured thumb (he averaged only 2.8 yards per pass play). The rushing attack was unstoppable with Trey Sermon taking over the lead running back spot and rushing for 331 yards on 29 carries after starter Master Teague left the game early with an undisclosed injury. Sermon has averaged 8.0 ypr this season and 6.5 ypr for his career (formerly at Oklahoma before this season) and he’s certainly an upgrade over Teague, who averaged a mediocre 5.0 ypr this season. I don’t expect Sermon to continue to average 8.0 ypr but I also raised Fields’ passing numbers to account for his extremely negative outlier with the injured thumb, which he says is not going to hinder him in this game (although he could be lying).

Clemson’s defense was 1.2 yards per play better than average for the season but they were also missing key players for a stretch of games and the Tigers have shown how good they can be when fully healthy, as they have allowed an average of just 12.3 points in their last 3 games against Pitt, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame. I rate the Tigers’ defense at 1.6 yppl better than average with LB Skalski, DT Davis, and LB Jones all back healthy and project Ohio State with 468 yards at 6.9 yppl in perfect dome conditions.

Clemson’s offense was 1.5 yppl better than average with starters in the game this season (including the two starts by QB Uiagalelei), but the Tigers are better than that in competitive games, as star Travis Etienne gets all the running back carries until the game is decided and quarterback Trevor Lawrence runs the ball more in games in which he needs to run the ball more. We saw that against Notre Dame, when he ran for 96 yards on 12 runs and he ran for 192 yards on 21 runs in last year’s two playoff games (after averaging just 5 runs per game prior to that). With Lawrence averaging 7.0 yards per run and running more, and Etienne taking carries away from Clemson’s sub-par group of backup running backs, the Tigers’ rushing numbers should be about 0.5 yprp better than their season rating and Lawrence (2.4 yards per pass play better than average) playing the entire game adds to Clemson’s pass rating, as the backup quarterbacks combined for just 224 yards on 63 pass plays – excluding Uiagalelei’s two starts when he was playing with the first team receivers.

I rate Clemson’s offense at 1.9 yppl better than average and that unit should have their way with an Ohio State defense that has allowed 5.6 yppl and rates at just 0.3 yppl better than average. I project 532 yards at 7.7 yppl for Clemson in this game.

Clemson has a clear advantage from the line of scrimmage and the Tigers have better special teams, which is an area in which the Buckeyes have struggled this season (the difference in place-kicking alone is 1.5 points per game). I realize that Ohio State is 7-1 straight up in their last 8 games as an underdog and 15-3 ATS in their last 18 games when getting points, but the Buckeyes’ most recent game as an underdog was a spread loss to this Clemson team in last year’s playoffs and the Tigers are now 15-3 ATS in post-season games since the 2012 season. There’s not enough value to play the side in this game but I will lean with the Over at 68 or less.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Ohio St.
  • Clemson


  • Run Plays 41.5 25.3
  • Run Yards 284.3 102.2
  • YPRP 7.3 4.7


  • Pass Comp 19.8 23.3
  • Pass Att 27.3 37.2
  • Comp % 72.6% 62.8%
  • Pass Yards 253.2 263.5
  • Sacks 3.0 2.8
  • Sack Yards 19.3 17.2
  • Sack % 9.9% 7.1%
  • Pass Plays 30.3 40.0
  • Net Pass Yards 233.8 246.3
  • YPPP 7.7 6.2


  • Total Plays 71.8 65.3
  • Total Yards 537.5 365.7
  • YPPL 7.5 5.6


  • Int 0.8 1.0
  • Int % 3.0% 2.7%
  • Fumbles 0.5 1.7
  • Turnovers 1.3 2.7
  • Points 42.5 21.0
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