There were certainly plenty of them, whether it was a costly penalty, blown coverage, or a turnover. Clemson had 15 penalties for 144 yards along with two turnovers, and both elements provided great opportunities for the Buckeyes. The first opportunity for them came in the first quarter when Ohio State sacked Tajh Boyd in the end zone for a safety. On the Buckeyes’ ensuing possession, they went three-and-out, unable to capitalize on Clemson’s big mistake. The next chance for the Buckeyes came in the second quarter when Clemson was driving for a touchdown in the red zone only to have Boyd’s pass picked off at the one-yard line by freshman safety Vonn Bell. Yet another three-and-out for the Buckeyes followed, and they had now missed two opportunities.
However, the missed opportunity by the Buckeyes late in the fourth quarter was perhaps the most devastating. Ohio State was down 40-35 and needed to stop Clemson’s offense in order to get the ball back and try for a game-winning touchdown. They got the stop thanks to a pass that was intercepted by C.J. Barnett, and he returned it into Clemson territory to give the Buckeyes a chance to drive for a game-winning touchdown. They lost that chance two plays later when Braxton Miller threw an interception of his own, giving the ball back to Clemson, which inevitably sealed the win for the Tigers.
I blame that last missed opportunity on the fact that Miller was incredibly shaken up and appeared to be injured. He should’ve been taken out and backup Kenny Guiton put in. Guiton has proven that he is perfectly capable of leading the Buckeyes to a win, so why wasn’t he given an opportunity? Who knows, but the coaching staff shot themselves in the foot by not giving Guiton a chance. He has certainly made a case for himself this season as the best backup quarterback in college football.
Because of their inability to capitalize on Clemson’s mistakes, Ohio State lost the game as well as their opportunity to prove themselves to doubters all over the nation. The Buckeyes had much to prove in this game and now it will just have to wait until next season.
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