The 2014 Discover Orange Bowl takes place on Friday, January 3rd and we will see the Clemson Tigers take on the Ohio State Buckeyes at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The game has a start time of 8:30 pm (Eastern) and be will televised on ESPN. Current odds have Ohio State listed as 2.5 point favorites, while the total sits at 67.5.
Analysis: The Tigers started the season with six straight wins, opening things up with a 38-35 win against then No.5-ranked Georgia. Their first loss of the year came vs Florida State and after that game they won 4 more in a row before a season ending loss to South Carolina. Clemson finished the year at 10-2, scoring 45.1 ppg in their wins, but just 15.5 ppg in their 2 losses. This high powered offense is led by Tahj Boyd, who has completed 67.9% of his passes for 3473 yards, with 29 TDs and just 9 INTs on the year. Tajh has plenty of weapons to throw to, but his favorite target is Sammy Watkins, who caught 85 passes for 1237 yards and 10 TD's this year. Overall the Clemson offense is 12th in the nation in total yards and 12th in passing and 11th in scoring, putting up 40.2 ppg. On the defensive side this team has been solid, allowing just 350.4 ypg and 21.1 ppg, but they did allow 86 combined points in their losses vs FSU and South Carolina.
Ohio State was cruising right along with a 12-0 record and a #2 ranking in the BCS poll, but then disaster hit in the Big 10 Title game and they lost to Michigan State 34-24. That loss knocked them out of the BCS Title picture and landed them in the Orange Bowl. Just like Clemson, Ohio State is led by a dynamic QB, but Braxton Miller is more of a runner than a thrower. Miller comes in with just 1860 passing yards on the year, but he has run for 1033 yards with 10 TDs for the year. Carlos Hyde leads the Buckeyes 3rd ranked rushing offense with 1408 yards and 14 TDs this year, while Philly Brown is the leading WR for the Buckeyes with 655 yards and 10 TDs. The defense has been a problem for the Buckeyes at times this year and they have really struggled vs passing offenses, allowing 259.5 ypg through the air, which is 105th in the nation and that could be a problem vs the Tigers today.
Pick: I love the over in this game. The Clemson Tigers come in with the 12th ranked passing offense in the nation, behind QB Tahj Boyd and WR Sammy Watkins. Now they take on a Buckeye defense that has been horrendous vs the pass, ranking 105th in the nation. The Buckeye offense has been explosive and they will be going up against the weakness of the Clemson defense. The Clemson Tigers are a solid 14th vs the pass this year, but 50th vs the run and will be facing the Buckeyes 3rd ranked rushing offense. Both teams will come out firing in this game and when faced vs strong offenses both defenses have struggled this year. I see it happening again as we get at least 72 points in this one.
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