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Sports

College Football
Preview
Clemson vs Ohio State
When: 8:30 PM ET, Friday, January 3, 2014
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida

DISCOVER ORANGE BOWL STORYLINES

1. Ohio State was 60 minutes from having the opportunity to play Florida State for the national championship, but will have to settle for another ACC opponent when it faces Clemson in the Discover Orange Bowl on Jan. 3 at Miami's Sun Life Stadium. The seventh-ranked Buckeyes saw their BCS title hopes evaporate with a loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship game, but coach Urban Meyer does not view a matchup with the No. 12 Tigers as a consolation prize. “I think the minute the Orange Bowl selected Ohio State, the mood changed real fast in Columbus, Ohio,” Meyer said. "Every team in America wakes up in August and wants to go play in a BCS bowl game. We're one of the few that gets to do that, so we're honored to be here.”

2. Like offense? The scoreboard operator figures to be working overtime as two of the nation's most explosive attacks square off. Both squads average more than 40 points and are led by elite quarterbacks in Ohio State's Braxton Miller and Clemson's Tajh Boyd. Miller is more of a dual threat as evidenced by his 1,033 yards and 10 touchdowns rushing, while Boyd possesses the ability to run but prefers to utilize a vaunted passing game headed by the dynamic Sammy Watkins. Miller is joined in the backfield by Carlos Hyde, giving Ohio State the nation's third-best rushing offense (317.5 yards) to try and counter an aerial assault that is No. 12 nationally with an average of 329.3 yards.

3. Seeing its unbeaten season and national title chances squelched in its last game, there is an obvious potential for a letdown factor for Ohio State. However, the Buckeyes were not permitted to play in a bowl game last season due to NCAA violations and have been mocked for not being championship-worthy because of the perceived weakness of the Big Ten overall. Clemson, which also lost its season finale to intrastate rival South Carolina, will want to erase the memory of its last game on the national stage - when the Tigers were embarrassed at home by Florida State 51-14 in October. "This is an opportunity for us again to measure up against one of the best teams in the country," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Ohio State -2.5

ABOUT CLEMSON (10-2, 7-1 ACC): Boyd failed to throw a touchdown pass for only the second time this season in the 31-17 loss to South Carolina, but the senior finished with 3,473 yards, 29 scoring passes and a completion percentage of 67.6. Watkins, projected to be the top receiver selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, hauled in 10 TD passes and had seven 100-yard games on the way to his second 1,200-yard season. The duo gets to attack a pass defense that ranked 11th in the Big Ten (259.5 yards) and surrendered over 300 yards to five opponents in a league not known for quarterback play. “Clemson will probably give us the biggest challenge we've had all year," Meyer said. "We've had some struggles on defense.” Clemson's defense ranked 49th nationally against the run (152.6) yards and will be hard-pressed to contain Miller and Hyde.

ABOUT OHIO STATE (12-1, 8-0 Big Ten): Miller had 22 touchdown passes against only five interceptions but a concern for the Buckeyes was a final four-game stretch in which he failed to complete 45 percent of his passes on three occasions, including an 8-for-21 effort for 101 yards against Michigan State. Swinney pointed to only one number when studying Miller. “The biggest thing is he's a winner," Swinney said. "When you can count on one finger how many losses you have, you're pretty good." The 240-pound Hyde sat out the first three games while serving a suspension but still wound up with 1,408 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns while averaging 7.7 yards a pop. Wideouts Philly Brown and Devin Smith are Miller's top targets - each had 655 yards receiving and combined for 18 scoring receptions - whil
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Clemson 10-2 L1 40.2 21.1 6-1 4-1 9-2 0-0 7-1
Ohio State 12-1 L1 46.3 21.3 7-0 5-1 2-0 0-0 8-1
Last Meeting
Clemson Ohio State
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
No previous meeting.
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Clemson N/A
Ohio State N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Clemson N/A
Ohio State N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Clemson N/A
Ohio State N/A
Touchdowns Player TD
Clemson N/A
Ohio State N/A
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Clemson T. Boyd 67.6 3473 29 9
Ohio State B. Miller 63.2 1860 22 5
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Clemson R. McDowell 177 956 5.4 5
Ohio State C. Hyde 183 1408 7.7 14
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Clemson S. Watkins 85 1237 14.6 10
Ohio State P. Brown 55 655 11.9 10
Touchdowns Player TD
Clemson S. Watkins 10
Ohio State C. Hyde 16
Quickchart Matchup
Clemson Off vs  Ohio State Def
502.9 yards
362.2 yards
4.1 yards/rush
3.1 yards/rush
8.7 yards/attempt
6.8 yards/attempt
Ohio State Off vs  Clemson Def
519.2 yards
350.4 yards
7.1 yards/rush
3.7 yards/rush
7.6 yards/attempt
6.7 yards/attempt