Big Ten Championship FootballOhio State running back Trey Sermon (8) runs for the end zone to score past Northwestern defensive back Cameron Mitchell (21) during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Sugar Bowl: No. 2 Clemson (10-1) vs. No. 3 Ohio State (6-0), Jan. 1, 8:45 p.m. Eastern (ESPN)
Line: Clemson by 7
Series record: Clemson leads 4-0
WHAT’S AT STAKE
The winner will advance to the championship game to face the winner of the Alabama-Notre Dame semifinal. Ohio State got in to the playoff despite playing only six games this season because of COVID-19 issues. It is a CFP semifinal rematch: The Tigers beat Ohio State 29-23 in the Fiesta Bowl last year to advance to the championship game.
Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence vs. Ohio State secondary. Lawrence is a Heisman Trophy front-runner who came back hot after missing time with COVID-19. The Buckeyes have been vulnerable to the pass at times, especially in the second half, but picked off Northwestern's Payton Ramsey twice on Saturday in their Big Ten championship game victory.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Clemson: RB Travis Etienne has again been a reliable weapon for the Dabo Sweeney and the Tigers. He rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's 34-10 win over Notre Dame in the ACC championship game.
Ohio State: RB Trey Sermon, a transfer from Oklahoma, had a breakout game in the Big Ten championship, rushing for an Ohio State record 331 yards and two touchdowns vs. Northwestern.
FACTS & FIGURES
The Buckeyes wrapped up their fourth straight Big Ten title with the 22-10 win over Northwestern. ... Ohio State QB Justin Fields had a season-low 114 passing yards on Saturday after a thumb injury hampered his throwing. He also threw two interceptions. He said it's a sprain and he should be OK for the Sugar Bowl ... In last weekend's win over Notre Dame, Lawrence overcame an early interception and completed 25 of 36 passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score. ... Buckeyes' leading receiver Chris Olave missed the Big Ten championship because of COVID-19. Starting LB Baron Browning also was out. ... Ohio State K Blake Haubiel, who was hampered by a groin injury earlier in the season, converted 3 of 4 field-goal attempts Saturday.
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