Clemson 29, OSU 23: Fiesta Bowl postgame notes

Clemson 29, OSU 23: Fiesta Bowl postgame notes

by -


Clemson overcame a 16-0 first-half deficit to earn the victory. The 16-point comeback was Clemson fifth-largest comeback in school history, trailing a 28-point comeback against Virginia (1992), an 18-point comeback against Maryland (2011), and 17-point comebacks against Virginia (1966) and North Carolina (2000).

The comeback was Clemson's second-largest under Dabo Swinney, trailing the 18-point comeback against Maryland in 2011.

Clemson trailed 16-14 at halftime and earned its first victory when trailing after two quarters since Sept. 29, 2018 vs. Syracuse. That game also represented the most recent time Clemson had won a game after trailing in the fourth quarter.

The victory was Clemson’s second one-possession victory of the season. Clemson is now 26-4 in one-score games since 2011. Clemson (.862) and Ohio State (.735) entered the game as the top two teams in the country in winning percentage in one-score games since 2011. (Note: Winning percentages listed indicate percentages prior to Saturday.)

Clemson won the turnover margin, 2-0, and has now won the turnover margin in nine consecutive games for the first time under Head Coach Dabo Swinney.

Both Clemson takeaways came on interceptions of Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, who entered the game with only one interception on the season.

Clemson won the turnover margin for an 11th time this season, adding to the most such games in a season under Head Coach Dabo Swinney.

Clemson did not turn the ball over and has now turned the ball over zero times in six out of its last seven games, with two three-game giveaway-free streaks on each side of a one-giveaway game against Wake Forest.

The game marked Clemson’s second Fiesta Bowl appearance in program history, joining a 31-0 shutout of Ohio State in a College Football Playoff National Semifinal in 2016.

Clemson’s participation in the game pushed the school’s program-record streak of consecutive seasons with bowl appearances to 15 years. The streak is the eighth-longest in the country and the second-longest in the ACC. Though Clemson did not make a bowl appearance in 2004, Clemson has been bowl eligible in 21 consecutive seasons, dating back to a 1999 appearance in the Peach Bowl.

Both teams entered the game at 13-0. Clemson has been involved in all three showdowns of undefeated teams in College Football Playoff history, including games last year in which 13-0 Clemson faced 12-0 Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl and 14-0 Clemson faced 14-0 Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship.

The game was Clemson’s fourth all-time meeting with Ohio State. Every meeting between the two programs has come with both squads ranked the top 20 in the AP Poll, with the 2019 contest representing the second straight time that the teams met with both squads in the top three.

The game featured a matchup of the teams with the nation’s two longest active winning streaks entering the game (Clemson, 28; Ohio State, 19).

The contest was Head Coach Dabo Swinney’s 15th bowl game as a head coach. This game against Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day snapped a streak of nine consecutive bowl games since 2012 in which Swinney has faced head coaches with at least one national championship at various NCAA levels to their credit (Les Miles, Bob Stoops, Urban Meyer, Nick Saban and Brian Kelly).

With its first first down of the game, Clemson (370) secured the fourth season with 350 first downs in school history (2015, 2016 and 2018).

Clemson (4,091) has now produced the sixth 4,000-yard passing season in school history.

With its 10th completion of the game, Clemson (308) posted the ninth 300-completion season in school history.

By virtue of another multi-touchdown game on the ground, Clemson has now rushed for multiple touchdowns in 15 consecutive games for the first time since the 2016-17 seasons.

Clemson averaged 6.7 yards per play and exceeded 6.0 yards per play for a ninth game in a row, the program's longest since a nine-game streak in 2015.

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed 18-of-33 passes for 259 yards and two passing touchdowns and recorded career highs in rushing attempts (16) and rushing yards (107) with one rushing touchdown. He earned Offensive MVP honors for his performance.

Lawrence recorded career highs in rushing attempts (16) and rushing yards (107) while adding one rushing touchdown.

Lawrence’s 107 rushing yards marked the first 100-yard rushing performance by a Clemson quarterback since Kelly Bryant’s 106-yard rushing game against Boston College in 2016.

Lawrence became the second Clemson quarterback to post a career high in rushing in a bowl game against Ohio State. Tajh Boyd rushed for a career-high 127 yards against Ohio State in the 2014 Orange Bowl.

Lawrence recorded a career-long 67-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, shattering his career-long rush of 32 yards.

Lawrence’s 67-yard touchdown run was the longest touchdown rush by a Clemson quarterback since Woodrow Dantzler’s 75-yard touchdown run at Virginia in 2000.

The rushing touchdown was Lawrence’s eighth of the season, adding to his single-season career high.

During the game, Lawrence (3,431) broke his single-season career high (3,280) in passing yards set last season.

Lawrence posted the first fourth-quarter comeback of his career, hitting running back Travis Etienne for game-winning 34-yard touchdown pass to culminate a four-play, 94-yard drive with 1:49 remaining. The 94-yard drive was the exact same length of the drive Clemson engineered in its most recent fourth-quarter comeback win against Syracuse in 2018 when Chase Brice led the game-winning drive in Lawrence’s absence.

Lawrence’s game-winning passing touchdown was the 66th of his career, breaking Jameis Winston’s ACC record (65) for career passing touchdowns through a sophomore season.

Lawrence (36) is now tied with Tajh Boyd (36 in 2012) for second on the school leaderboard for touchdown passes in a single season. Deshaun Watson holds the single-season Clemson record with 41 in 2016.

Lawrence has now thrown a touchdown pass in 24 consecutive games. His current 24-game streak is the longest active streak in the country. (Note: UCF's McKenzie Milton had a 24-game streak prior to suffering an injury in November 2018 that precluded him from playing in 2019).

During the contest, Lawrence broke both single-season and multi-season school records for consecutive pass attempts without an interception, a mark that now stands at 202. He broke his own single-season school record of 169 set last season and broke Tajh Boyd's multi-season record of 187 from 2012-13.

With three combined passing and rushing touchdowns, Lawrence (75) joined Tajh Boyd (133) and Deshaun Watson (116) as only the third player in Clemson history to be responsible for 75 career touchdowns.

Lawrence’s ninth completion of the game was his 500th career completion at Clemson. He became the fifth player in school history to complete 500 career passes.

Running back Travis Etienne caught three passes for a career-high and team-leading 98 yards with two touchdowns. He also rushed 10 times for 36 yards with a rushing touchdown.

Etienne became the first Clemson running back with two receiving touchdowns since Jamie Harper on Sept. 18, 2010 at Auburn. His 98 receiving yards were the most by a Clemson running back since C.J. Spiller’s 104-yard performance through the air at Miami (Fla.) on Oct. 24, 2009.

Etienne rushed for a touchdown in an eighth straight game to break his career-long streak set across the first seven games of the 2018 season. It tied Wayne Gallman's eight-game streak in 2016 for the fourth-longest in school history.

Etienne (1,536) passed Wayne Gallman (1,527 in 2015) for second on Clemson's single-season rushing yardage leaderboard.

With his 18th rushing touchdown of the season, Etienne took sole possession of the second-most rushing touchdowns in a season in school history. Lester Brown (1978), James Davis (2006) and Wayne Gallman (2016) all had 17 each, trailing only Etienne's record 24 rushing touchdowns in 2018.

Etienne (22) became the first Clemson player with 20 total touchdowns in multiple seasons. Etienne's 2018 campaign (26) and C.J. Spiller's 2009 season (21) had previously represented the only seasons of 20-plus touchdowns by individuals in school history.

Etienne (22 in 2019, 26 in 2018) is now the only player in ACC history to reach 22 total touchdowns in multiple seasons in a career.

Etienne scored on a 53-yard receiving touchdown from Lawrence in the third quarter.

The 53-yard reception was the longest of Etienne’s career, surpassing a 27-yard catch earlier this season. On that single reception, he recorded more receiving yards than he had totaled in any of his previous 41 career games.

The 53-yard reception by Etienne was the culmination of a school-record-tying 99-yard drive. It marked the third 99-yard drive in school history, joining drives against Florida State in 1988 and against Duke in 1998.

The receiving touchdown was Etienne’s career-high third of the season and the fifth of his career.

The first receiving touchdown was Etienne’s 60th total touchdown of his career, making him the 24th FBS player since 1970 to score 60 career touchdowns.

Etienne added his career-high second receiving touchdown of the game on his 34-yard touchdown reception with 1:49 remaining to punctuate Clemson’s game-winning 94-yard drive.

With 150 all-purpose yards in the game, Etienne (4,978) passed Derrick Hamilton (4,839) for third on Clemson's leaderboard for career all-purpose yards.

Etienne (2,030) has now posted only the third 2,000-yard all-purpose season in school history (2,680 by C.J. Spiller in 2009, and 2,288 by Sammy Watkins in 2011).

Etienne (366) entered the game as the highest-scoring non-kicker in ACC history and has now entered the Top 10 in conference history for career scoring among all players including kickers.

Etienne’s seventh carry of the game was his 500th career carry at Clemson.

Clemson was held scoreless in the first quarter after having previously scored in 33 consecutive quarters. Prior to the first quarter of the Fiesta Bowl, Clemson was last held without a point in a quarter in the third quarter of its Sept. 28 game at North Carolina. The previous long under Head Coach Dabo Swinney had been 24 straight quarters in games 4-10 of the 2015 season.

Butkus Award winner Isaiah Simmons recorded the game’s first takeaway, intercepting Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields in the third quarter. It was only the second interception thrown by Fields in his first 336 pass attempts of the season and his first in 170 attempts.

With Simmons’ interception, Clemson has produced a takeaway in nine consecutive games and 17 times in its last 18 games, dating to 2018.

Including an interception against Virginia in the ACC Championship Game, Simmons has now recorded an interception in back-to-back games for the first time in his career.

Linebacker James Skalski and defensive end Justin Foster split a sack in the first quarter. Both of them have single-season career highs with 3.5 sacks in 2019.

Linebacker Baylon Spector recorded his first career sack in the third quarter. He later added his second career sack in the fourth quarter.

Safety K’Von Wallace added a sack in the contest, his second of the season and of his career.

Clemson recorded four sacks to Ohio State’s three sacks. Ohio State entered bowl season leading the country with 51.0 sacks this season.

Safety Nolan Turner sealed the victory by recording his career-high second interception of the season — the third interception of his career — on Ohio State’s final drive. It marks the second straight year that Turner has recorded an interception in a College Football Playoff semifinal, joining his interception against Notre Dame in last year’s Cotton Bowl.

Fifth-year linebacker Chad Smith led Clemson with a career-high 12 tackles, earning Defensive MVP honors.

Clemson allowed Ohio State to enter the red zone three times and held the Buckeyes to a field goal on all three red zone drives. Ohio State entered the game having scored touchdowns on 81.94 percent of red zone possessions this season, the third-highest percentage in the country.

Punter Will Spiers punted seven times for an average of 44.9 yards per punt with five punts downed inside the 20 and three punts of 50 yards or more.

Spiers’ tied his career high for 50-yard punts in a game with three, set most recently against Duke in 2018.

Spiers’ five punts downed inside the 20 were a career high, surpassing his four against Auburn in 2017.

With his third PAT of the game, his 77th of the season, kicker B.T. Potter (77) broke the single-season school record held by Greg Huegel, who made 76 PATs in 2018.

Offensive lineman Tremayne Anchrum, offensive lineman Gage Cervenka, safety Tanner Muse, wide receiver Diondre Overton, offensive lineman John Simpson, linebacker Isaiah Simmons and safety K’Von Wallace represented Clemson as the team’s postseason captains.

Wallace and Muse each appeared in their 58th career game to tie offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt and tight end Milan Richard (58 each from 2015-18) for third-most career games in school history.


Clemson improved to 6-2 all-time in College Football Playoff games. Clemson’s six all-time wins in the playoff are tied with Alabama for the most in CFP history. No school other than Clemson and Alabama has more than two.

Clemson won its third consecutive College Football Playoff game, tying the longest CFP winning streak all-time (Alabama, twice, 2015-16 and 2017-18, ended each time by Clemson).

Clemson won its 29th consecutive game, dating to the start of the 2018 season, to extend the longest winning streak in school history and tie the ACC record of 29 consecutive wins, set by the 2012-14 Florida State Seminoles.

Clemson’s 29-game winning streak has now matched 2012-14 Florida State, 1990-93 Miami and 1901-03 Michigan for the 12th-longest streak in FBS history.

Clemson added to the longest winning streak in school history in any sport. The next closest streaks in the history of Clemson Athletics were 26-game/match streaks posted by baseball (1977) and men's tennis (1968-70).

Clemson improved to 22-0 against undefeated opponents since the start of the 2015 season.

The victory represented Clemson’s 12th all-time against a team that entered the game with 10 or more wins. The victory was Clemson's third all-time against an Ohio State squad with 10 or more wins entering the game, joining the 2014 Orange Bowl and 2016 Fiesta Bowl.

Clemson improved to 25-20 all-time in bowl contests.

Clemson won its third consecutive bowl game to produce the fourth bowl winning streak of three games or more in program history (five from 1986-90, four from 2012-15, three from 1939-50).

Clemson improved to 2-0 all-time in the Fiesta Bowl, including a 31-0 win against Ohio State in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl.

Clemson improved to 4-0 all-time against Ohio State, which entered the contest with the second-most wins all-time in FBS history (924).

Clemson improved to 5-1 all-time against Big Ten opponents, with every matchup coming in postseason play. Dabo Swinney moved to 3-0 against the Big Ten, with all three games coming against Ohio State.

Clemson improved to 14-0 for only the third time in school history, joining the 2015 and 2018 squads that both went on to play for national championships.

Clemson tied Alabama (three) for the most 14-0 starts to a season since 2000.

The 2019 Tigers won their 14th game of the season to move into a tie for second place for the most wins in a season in school history, trailing only a 15-win season in 2018 and tying 14-win seasons in 2015 and 2016.

The 2019 Clemson seniors won their 55th game to tie the 2018 Clemson and Alabama seniors for most victories in a four-year span in FBS history.

Clemson improved its record in night games to 32-3 since 2015.

Clemson is now the only team in the country with 12 wins against Power Five opponents this season.

Clemson earned its 22nd victory in its last 24 games against top-25 teams since the start of the 2015 season. Clemson is now 10-2 against AP Top 10 opponents since 2015, including victories in seven of the last eight games against AP Top 10 teams.

Clemson won its fifth consecutive neutral site contest to push Clemson to 9-1 at neutral sites since 2016.

Clemson earned its 39th victory in its last 42 games away from home.

Clemson is now 100-2 since 2011 when leading after three quarters.

Clemson now holds a 100-2 record when totaling more first downs than its opponent since 2011.

Clemson is now 58-3 when winning the turnover margin since 2011.

Clemson has now won 12 games in a row in December.

With the victory at State Farm Stadium, home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, Head Coach Dabo Swinney improved to 17-6 in games played in NFL stadiums.

Clemson pushed its winning streak in Saturday games to 43 to extend the longest Saturday winning streak in school history. Clemson's current 43-game run of consecutive Saturday victories is the longest active streak in the country.

Clemson improved to 46-1 since 2015 when outscoring opponents in the "Middle Eight," defined as the final four minutes of the first half and the first four minutes of the second half. Clemson outscored Ohio State 14-0 in that time window in the game.

Ultimate Level LogoUpgrade Your Account

Unlock premium boards and exclusive features (e.g. ad-free) by upgrading your account today.

Upgrade Now
Comment on this story
Clemson pro signs with Jacksonville Jaguars
Clemson pro signs with Jacksonville Jaguars
NCAA announces approval of football rule changes on communications, timing
NCAA announces approval of football rule changes on communications, timing
Clemson-Pitt baseball schedule changes
Clemson-Pitt baseball schedule changes
'2 Right Turns' podcast says Clemson football has the drip, best facility in country
'2 Right Turns' podcast says Clemson football has the drip, best facility in country
Post your comments!