Urban Meyer: ‘Ohio State is not used to this’

Clemson players dump Gatorade on coach Dabo Swinney after beating Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. David Jablonski/Staff

caption arrowCaption
Clemson players dump Gatorade on coach Dabo Swinney after beating Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. David Jablonski/Staff

Five reasons Ohio State lost 31-0 to Clemson

Blue, purple and white confetti shot into the sky and then fell to the turf at University of Phoenix Stadium. Most of the Ohio State Buckeyes split as fast as they could for the locker room after a 31-0 loss to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl.

A few Buckeyes, notably cornerback Marshon Lattimore, signed autographs for fans before heading to the tunnel. Even on one of the disappointing days in Ohio State history — they hadn’t been blanked in a bowl game since 1921 — Lattimore was able to forget the sadness for a few moments and thank the thousands of fans who turned the game into a home game, or would have if they had found any reason to cheer.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer suffered his sixth loss in five seasons at the helm. This one was 14 points worse than any of the previous defeats and the only one in which Ohio State didn’t score. The Buckeyes finished the season 11-2.

“Ohio State is not used to this,” Meyer said. “I’m not used to this, and we will not get used to this. That’s not going to happen again. So we’ll get things worked out.”

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

caption arrowCaption
The Buckeyes lost 31-0 to Clemson on Dec. 31, 2016.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Here are five reasons Ohio State lost:

1. No passing game: Ohio State compiled 86 yards in the air against Michigan State and 123 a week later against Michigan. It won both those games but not by much. It knew it had to demonstrate some ability to throw to beat Clemson and couldn't. J.T. Barrett threw for 127 yards.

“Our goal was to be balanced, and we certainly weren’t,” Meyer said. “We just didn’t execute very well on offense.”

2. No running game: Mike Weber had only one carry in the first half. He finished with 24 yards on five carries.

“I don’t call the plays,” Weber said. “That’s not up to me. All I can do is play my hardest.”

Curtis Samuel gained 67 yards on six carries. One rush accounted for 64 yards. Negative plays killed the Buckeyes. Samuel lost two yards on the first drive. Barrett lost six on the second. Samuel lost eight on the third drive. Weber lost three yards on a pass from Barrett on the fourth drive. The list goes on.

3. Watson stars: Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson led the No. 2 Tigers (13-1) back to the national championship game and a rematch with No. 1 Alabama (14-0) on Jan. 9 in Tampa., Fla., by running for two scores and throwing for another. He completed 23 of 36 passes for 259 yards and rushed for 57 yards on 15 carries.

Ohio State intercepted Watson twice in the first half but failed to take advantage of the turnovers.

“I hear a lot of questions about the offense,” linebacker Chris Worley said, “but the defense didn’t execute as well as we could either. It comes down to complementary football, and we didn’t play that today and we lost. That’s what happens when you don’t play nine strong and everyone don’t complement each other.”

4. Field goal misses: Tyler Durbin missed his first two field goals against Michigan before making the game-tying kick in the final seconds. He missed his first two against Clemson, each from 47 yards, but didn't get another chance to make amends.

The misses helped Clemson set the early tone. Their kicker, Greg Huegel, put the Tigers on the board with a 45-yard kick. Clemson stretched the lead to 17-0 late in the second quarter.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

caption arrowCaption
Former Wayne high school star reflects on 31-0 loss to Clemson.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

5. Big plays: Watson completed a 36-yard pass on Clemson's second drive to set up the first field goal. Watson had a 26-yard pass on Clemson's first touchdown drive. He threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Fuller on Clemson's second-to-last drive of the first half to give Clemson a 17-0 lead.

Ohio State’s defense played well at times but not well enough to win, even if it had gotten any help from the offense.

“It wasn’t so much what they did offensively that caused us problems,” said Ohio State defensive tackle and Wayne grad Robert Landers. “We made mistakes, and they capitalized on mistakes and took them for six. They didn’t do anything spectacular, but we beat ourselves at times.”

About the Author