The 12-1 Ohio State Buckeyes (No. 7 BCS) will take on the 10-2 Clemson Tigers (No. 12), from the Atlantic Coast Conference, Jan. 3 in Miami in the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl. Game time is 8:30 p.m. EST with ESPN carrying the broadcast from Sun Life Stadium (72,230).
This will be only the second appearance for Ohio State in the Discover Orange Bowl; the last coming 37 years ago and following the 1976 season when Woody Hayes' Big Ten champion Buckeyes defeated the Big Eight champion Colorado Buffalos, 27-10, after falling behind early, 10-0. Ron Springs (98 rushing yards), Rod Gerald (81) and Jeff Logan (79) keyed the offense, which netted 271 rushing yards.
Ohio State and Clemson have met just once: on Dec. 29, 1978, in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. Clemson prevailed, 17-15, when Charlie Bauman intercepted an Art Schlichter pass in the waning seconds of the game. Thanks for the infamous punch he delivered to Bauman following the interception, head coach Woody Hayes was fired the next morning after 28 years, 205 wins, 5 national championships and 13 Big Ten titles.
Ohio State is led offensively by Big Ten offensive player of the year and quarterback of the Year (1,860 passing yards and 22 touchdowns with just five interceptions; 1,033 rushing yards with 10 touchdowns) and Big Ten running back of the year (1,408 yards, 7.7 per carry average and 14 touchdowns). Clemson will counter with quarterback Taj Boyd (3,473 passing yards with 29 touchdowns and only five interceptions), receiver Sammy Watkins (85 receptions, 1,237 yards and 10 touchdowns) and running back Roderick McDowell (956 rushing yards).
Three Buckeye offensive linemen - LT Jack Mewhort, LG Andrew Norwell, and C Corey Linsley - were named first-team all-Big Ten Conference this season.
Defensively, DE Vic Beasley leads the Tigers with 19.0 TFLs, including 12.5 sacks while LB Spencer Shuey leads with 89 tackles. Ryan Shazier leads Ohio State and the Big Ten Conference with 134 tackles and 22.5 TFLs. Noah Spence and Michael Bennett have 8.0 and 7.0 sacks, respectively, while Bradley Roby leads the secondary with 13 pass break-ups and three interceptions.
Ohio State and Clemson each boast high-octane offenses. The Buckeyes boast the nation's No. 3 rushing attack (317.5 ypg) and No. 4 scoring unit (46.3 ppg) while also being virtually unstoppable in the red zone with the nation's No. 4 pct. (.950; 57-60) and with a Top 10 passing efficiency rating of 158.78. In terms of total offense, Ohio State is No. 7 nationally at 518.5 yards per game.
Clemson counters behind the nation's No. 12 passing attack (329.3 ypg) that is the spark behind 502.0 yards per game (No. 13) and 40.2 points per game (No. 11).
Ohio State and Clemson boast similar rankings on the defensive side of the ball. The Buckeyes are 29th nationally in total defense (362.2 ypg) and 21st in scoring defense at 21.3 ppg while Clemson is 23rd in total defense (351.1 ypg) and 17th in scoring defenses (21.1). Ohio State is second nationally in total sacks (40) and sack yardage (282) plus has 14 interceptions. The Tigers have 33 sacks and 16 interceptions.
The Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com give Ohio State a 4.80-point edge.