|by Nikki Hood|
After a late touchdown drive, No.7 Ohio State has a 22-20 halftime lead over No. 12 Clemson at Sun Life Stadium.
Player of the half: Sammy Watkins is making the most out of what could be his final game in orange and white. Watkins has helped the offense and special teams in every way possible. He has eight receptions for 130 yards, and is now tied with Aaron Kelly for the Clemson career reception lead with 232.
Stat of the half: Coming into the Orange Bowl, Ohio State had only given up 17 sacks. The Tigers sacked Miller three times and recorded five tackles for loss.
What’s working for the Tigers:Speed kills and the Tigers have a lot of it. Watkins and Martavis Bryant consistently got behind a young Buckeye secondary and even when the defenders had Clemson receivers their sights, they couldn’t stop the Clemson speedsters. The only thing stopping the Clemson offense from clicking on all cylinders is Clemson – costly penalties and turnovers. The Clemson defensive line has played out of their minds – D.J. Reader, Vic Beasley, Grady Jarrett, Shaq Lawson, and company have consistently put pressure on Braxton Miller
What’s not working for the Tigers:Costly mistakes have killed defensive and offensive drives.
What the Tigers need to do to win: A Clemson win is definitely not out of the realm of possibility, but the Tigers must quit making the careless mistakes – a taunting penalty that led to a touchdown, not being aware on special teams, intentional grounding in the endzone, and turnovers. Ohio State hasn’t been able to stop Clemson’s speed at the skill positions and the defense has done more than a respectable job against Miller, Carlos Hyde and the Ohio St. defense. Just be smart with the football and keep Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde in check and the Tigers win.
Nikki Hood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org