Another 12-win season is in the books, though the second one under Urban Meyer did come with a pair of losses at the end that took a bit of the shine for Ohio State.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The outcome wasn’t what Ohio State was hoping for last weekend as the season ended with a 40-35 loss to Clemson in the Discover Orange Bowl, but the Buckeyes did have a handful of standout performances from freshmen, including what effectively amounted to a debut. Here’s a closer look at a handful of young Buckeyes who figure to be playing crucial roles in 2014 and could ride the momentum from strong Orange Bowl performances. + EnlargeStreeter Lecka/Getty ImagesVonn Bell celebrates with teammates after his interception of Tajh Boyd in the Discover Orange Bowl.S Vonn Bell: The Buckeyes had every intention of taking it slow with perhaps the crown jewel of the 2013 signing class, and they stuck with that plan even after the season-ending loss of Christian Bryant cut down on the talent and experience ahead of Bell in the rotation. But after the two-game defensive skid against Michigan and Michigan State highlighted Ohio State’s suspect defense, the coaching staff took the training wheels off and plugged Bell into the starting lineup at nickelback to really see what he could do. The Buckeyes certainly weren’t disappointed with his willingness to stick his nose in and deliver a hit as Bell finished with seven tackles, and his red-zone interception will ramp up the hype heading into spring practice. The soft throw from Tajh Boyd might have been ill advised, but it might have worked if not for the quick reactions and incredible athleticism of Bell as he jumped, stretched out his right arm and hauled in a crucial turnover. There won’t be any more waiting for playing time for the safety, and he’s headed toward a full-time role on every down, not just in nickel situations. DE Joey Bosa: The ability to disrupt an offense with his mix of speed, size and aggressiveness wasn’t a new development, as he spent most of the season in the starting lineup, but Bosa still found a way to raise the bar for his potential in the final game of the season. Clearly not at full strength and helped off the field because of injuries on two separate occasions, Bosa fought through the pain to chip in five tackles and tacked on another sack to his resume to give him 7.5 during his freshman season, only adding to the buzz about his future as a cornerstone on what could be a scary defensive front. There wasn’t any reason to question his toughness in the first place, but he was given a big stage to show it off in the Orange Bowl and clearly didn’t leave any doubt about his competitiveness, which augments his natural ability.
RB Dontre Wilson: The number of chances to make an impact was relatively small, but it was how Wilson used his opportunities that offered a glimpse at how far he’s already come. The freshman handled the football plenty for a first-year player, and he demonstrated his explosive capabilities several times in averaging 8.8 yards per touch as a hybrid receiver/running back. But there were times when Wilson seemed to either miss holes or spent too much time trying to reach the corner, looking for a home run instead of turning a play upfield and simply taking the yardage available. That made his three carries against the Tigers stand out as an improvement. Wilson was more than willing to put his foot in the ground, square his pads and head down the field in his final game of the season, and while those 24 yards might not look great on the stats sheet, the way he picked them up indicates a maturing skill player who should be poised for a breakout sophomore season.
A look at the last lessons of the season after No. 7 Ohio State came up short in a 40-35 shootout against No. 12 Clemson on Friday night in the Discover Orange Bowl.
The final individual tributes of the season for Ohio State after its 40-35 loss to Clemson on Friday night in the Discover Orange Bowl.
The No. 12 Clemson Tigers bounced back from their season-ending loss to South Carolina in the Discover Orange Bowl, beating the No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes in a 40-35 shootout Friday night. The Tigers handed the Buckeyes their second loss in as many games, capping the worst possible ending for Urban Meyer’s squad after Ohio State set a school record with 24 consecutive wins over the past two seasons. Fueled by a lethal offense, Dabo Swinney’s team could not be stopped as the Clemson Tigers claimed their first victory in a BCS bowl game. Here’s 10 things we learned from Clemson’s five-point victory over the Buckeyes. Begin Slideshow
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Tajh Boyd went out in style. Sammy Watkins probably played his finale as well. And Clemson even got to take a little swipe at rival South Carolina.
Everything was going Urban Meyer’s way to start his career at Ohio State. He was 24-0, and it appeared that no one could beat his Buckeyes from the Big Ten. Two games later and two Top 15 teams have now come out victorious over his Buckeyes, as Clemson beat OSU, 40-35, in the Orange Bowl on Friday night. Meyer is now on a two-game losing streak after seemingly doing no wrong during the Buckeyes’ 24-game win streak. How the last two losses have happened—questionable play-calling on offense and a lack of taking advantage of opportunities—have some questioning if the magic of Meyer in big games is gone. For as much as the past two games matter, it’s not just those losses that give us clues that Meyer’s big-game edge may have slipped. If you go in the way-back machine and enter 2010, you see the big-game edge crumbling in his final season at the University of Florida. That team went 8-5 on the year and just 4-4 in SEC play. More importantly, Meyer’s Gators went 0-4 against Top 25 teams that season, and a negative trend was being set. Perhaps that was the beginning of the end for the legend of Meyer as nearly invincible, especially coming off a loss in the 2009 SEC Championship Game. Yet, there was no questioning Meyer’s Buckeyes during the 24-game win streak, as they went 5-0 against Top 25 teams. However, those were just regular-season games, and when championships and BCS games were on the line for the first time,…
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Clemson junior defensive end Vic Beasley might have tipped his hand regarding his NFL plans following Friday night’s 40-35 victory over Ohio State in the Orange Bowl.”It’s a great achievement, being able to put on a good show and leave Clemson University on a good note,” Beasley said.When asked if the comment meant he had decided to turn pro, Beasley said no. But when asked if his remark should be taken as a clue, he couldn’t resist a sheepish grin.Beasley had a sack and four tackles for losses against the Buckeyes. He led Clemson this season with 13 sacks.Two Tigers receivers who might skip their senior season in 2014 to turn pro were noncommittal about their plans. Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant said they remained undecided.”I’m definitely going to sit down and talk to the coaches and my parents when I head back to Clemson,” Watkins said.”It will be a short conversation,” coach Dabo Swinney responded with a laugh.Watkins had an Orange Bowl-record 227 yards receiving on 16 catches and scored twice. Bryant also had two touchdown receptions.Ohio State junior quarterback Braxton Miller said he was also undecided about whether to turn pro, and would look to coach Urban Meyer for guidance.”I have to sit down with Coach Meyer and just think it out throughout the whole process with how it goes. I don’t want to make a decision that I really didn’t do my research on,” Miller said.Sports & RecreationAmerican FootballClemson University
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins couldn’t be stopped. Quarterback Braxton Miller, after a strong start, was stopped when it mattered most. That, in essence was the story of the Orange Bowl game, a wild 40-35 upset win for the No. 12 Clemson Tigers over the No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes Friday night at Sun Life Stadium. A senior playing his final college game, Boyd completed 30 of 39 passes for 370 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran 20 times for 127 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown run up the middle that was the longest of his career. Watkins, a junior from near-by Fort Myers, Fla., was named the game’s MVP after he caught 16 passes and set an Orange Bowl receiving record with 227 yards. He also scored two touchdowns. “When you have a guy that has that much vertical speed, he is tough to defend,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said of Watkins. “I don’t know all the receivers in the country, but I would doubt there are any better than him.” Watkins said Friday night’s performance was easily explained. “Tajh and I have been together for three years,” he said. “We have great chemistry.” Clemson improved to 11-2 for the second straight season, which is the most wins in any two-year period in school history. Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said he was proud of his team, especially after they took a 70-33 loss to West Virginia three years ago in the Orange Bowl. “You don’t luck up and get to BCS games — you earn your way there,” he said. “Two years ago, it was probably unthinkable for most people after that butt-whipping we took (against West Virginia) that we would be 22-4 since that night. “Five years ago (when he took the Clemson job), I didn’t have much of a resume, and it wasn’t very sexy to come to Clemson. These guys believed in me, starting with Tajh Boyd. I sat at his kitchen table in Virginia. I told him if you believe in me, we will change Clemson. All these seniors changed Clemson.” Friday’s winning touchdown was a five-yard toss from Boyd to tight end Stanton Beckinger with 6:16 left in the fourth quarter. The two-point conversion pass failed. Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller was sacked — with a lost fumble — and intercepted on the Buckeyes’ final two possessions. OSU (12-2) and Clemson traded touchdowns early in the third quarter. The Buckeyes converted a fourth-and-one play with a 31-yard gain by running back Carlos Hyde. On the next play, Hyde ran one yard for a touchdown. Clemson capitalized on a fumble by punt returner Philly Brown, which was recovered by safety Robert Smith at the OSU 33. …
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins led an explosive offense as the No. 12 Clemson Tigers defeated the No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes 40-35 on Friday night at the Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium. Playing before a crowd of 72,080, Boyd passed for 370 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 127 yards and one score. Watkins caught 16 passes and set an Orange Bowl receiving record with 227 yards. He scored two touchdowns. Clemson improved to 11-2 for the second straight season, which is the most wins in any two-year period in school history. Ohio State fell to 12-2. The winning touchdown was a 5-yard toss from Boyd to tight end Stanton Beckinger with 6:16 left in the fourth quarter. The two-point conversion pass failed. Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller was sacked — with a lost fumble — and intercepted on the Buckeyes’ final two possessions. OSU and Clemson traded touchdowns early in the third quarter. The Buckeyes converted a fourth-and-1 with a 31-yard gain by running back Carlos Hyde. On the next play, Hyde ran 1 yard for a touchdown. Clemson capitalized on a fumble by punt returner Philly Brown that was recovered by safety Robert Smith at the OSU 33. Three plays later, Watkins went up and grabbed a 30-yard touchdown pass. Another Ohio State turnover — this time an interception by safety Jayron Kearse — paved the way for Clemson to take a 34-29 third-quarter lead on a sensational 3-yard touchdown grab by Martavis Bryant. The Clemson wide receiver overcame pass interference against Ohio State cornerback Armani Reeves and still made the juggling catch. Ohio State went up 35-34 on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Miller to Hyde. Miller took a hit on the play and was removed from the game. Backup quarterback Kenny Guiton threw an incomplete pass on the try for a two-point conversion. Clemson scored on the game’s first possession, traveling 75 yards in six plays capped by a 48-yard touchdown run by Boyd, who faked a handoff before taking off. It was the longest run of Boyd’s career. Ohio State tied the score 7-7 on Miller’s 33-yard touchdown run around left end. …