by CollegeFootballPoll.com Staff
January 4, 2014
Clemson rode four Ohio State second half turnovers to a 40-35 upset win in the Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens on Friday night. With only the National Championship game remaining, every BCS game this bowl season has been won by the underdog team.
Ohio State had rallied from a 20-9 deficit by scoring 20 unanswered points to take a 29-20 lead in the 3rd quarter, and was in complete control of the game, when Clemson recovered a muffed punt return by the Buckeyes that led to a Tajh Boyd 30-yard touchdown pass to Sammy Watkins. Just three plays later, Braxton Miller's pass was intercepted by Jayron Kearse at the Ohio State 38 leading to a 3-yard TD pass from Boyd to Martavis Bryant for a 34-29 Clemson advantage.
The Buckeyes recovered from the staggering blows to recapture the lead on their next series with Miller's 14-yard pass to Carlos Hyde. A 2-point conversion attempt failed, but Ohio State had a 35-34 lead.
All Ohio State needed was a defensive stop. Boyd and Clemson had other ideas and the Tigers went on a 13-play, 75-yard march to pull back in front on a 5-yard pass from Boyd to Stanton Seckinger.
After that, the game appeared to be over when Bashaud Breelan forced a Miller fumble and Clemson took over at the Ohio State 47 with just 3:12 left in the game. Lo and behold, Clemson gifted the ball right back to the Buckeyes just 3 plays later when C.J. Barnett picked-off a Boyd pass and returned it to the Clemson 48.
After Corey Crawford broke up a 1st down pass attempt, Stephone Anthony intercepted Braxton's next throw with 1:18 remaining. Two Boyd rushes gave the Tigers a first down and, with only 2 timeouts remaining, left Ohio State powerless to get the ball back.
Clemson (11-2) completed consecutive 11-win campaigns for the first time in school history and raised its bowl record to 18-18.
Ohio State (12-2) suffered a second straight loss to end the season after winning the first 24 games of the Urban Meyer era. Thanks to probation in 2012 and a loss to Michigan State in the 2013 Big Ten Championship game, that 24-game winning streak failed to produce a national championship opportunity or even a bowl victory.
The Buckeyes dropped to 20-24 all-time in bowl games. Meyer, as a head coach, lost a bowl game for just the second time (7-2) in his career.
The Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com had projected a 4.80-point victory for Ohio State.