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2019 CFP Semifinal: #3 Clemson vs #2 Ohio State


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43 minutes ago, AF89 said:

You have to like LSU, but I wonder if the "battle tested" moniker now flips to Clemson (ironically given their SoS) given that UGA and Ou didn't give LSU much of a fight

Only way I see Clemson winning is if LSU has 3 or more turnovers.  If both teams play a clean game it’s going to be over by the 4th quarter.

I bet the line is 6 in favor of LSU

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10 hours ago, FalconsIn2012 said:

Still needs to work on decision making.  Threw a bunch of passes up for grabs today

1. The OSU secondary was on point and contesting throws everywhere. Legitimately high level NFL performances from the OSU DBs. Tiny tiny windows to put ball in to have any chance at all. Even Burrows would have had some incompletions against that DB play last night.

2. The Clemson receivers weren’t setting the world on fire last night.

3. TL put the ball where his WRs had a chance to make a play a lot. See #1 above.

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I was right about one thing.  OSU was better on both lines of scrimmage and when that happens, you're supposed to win.  Credit to Clemson for finding a way to even be in the game after being dominated for most of the first half and finding a way to come out on top. 


Some observations...

Lawrence was Clemson's leading rusher and Etienne their leading receiver.

OSU was just a few yards shy of their average on offense but the turnovers will kill.  And they really had 4 turnovers counting the reversal of the fumble and the roughing the kicker.   


Edited by frankly88
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i had to post this.. now understand these are supposed to be professionals who cover ohio state recruiting and the team.. remembrer that when you read this.. the tears are delicious.. 

If you’re like me, you’re absolutely and utterly heartbroken right now, while nursing a grudge the size of the state of Ohio. This might be the most difficult outcome of any sporting event in my entire lifetime for me to accept.

Ohio State’s season is over, despite appearing by all indications to be the better team last night. I can handle getting beat by a better team (remember 2016 in the Fiesta Bowl?) and recognizing that we have a lot of work to do. I imagine that’s how Oklahoma fans are feeling about right now. But did that feel like it to you last night? It sure didn’t for me. It felt like the better team squandered numerous opportunities, ran into some rotten luck and was on the receiving end of two of the most impactfully incorrect calls I can remember in a football game.

A lot to unpack as the 2019 Buckeyes will go down in history with the 2015 and 2005 Buckeyes as the definition of ‘Missed Opportunities’ in our collective Buckeye Nation lexicon…….


We’ll get to the other stuff, don’t you worry. Believe me, that’s going to be a gigantic discussion point. Let’s talk about what we can control here, though. And as infuriating as the game was last night, there’s also zero debate that the Buckeyes had the opportunity to defeat both the officials and the Clemson Tigers and regrettably fell just short.

First of all, the 16-0 lead that was created by the Buckeyes bringing a violent butt-kicking in the trenches simply should have been far, far, far worse.

Let’s count the ways.

The first drive where OSU kicked a field goal to start the game 3-0. Ironically, the biggest regret I have about this drive is that the officials decided to call down for replay at the last possible second to review Garrett Wilson’s insane circus catch, as it appeared that JK Dobbins was about to break a 20 yard touchdown when the play was blown dead.

But from there, the Bucks got the ball on the six yard line and proceeded to run into the short side of the field on consecutive plays before having to kick a field goal to start 3-0. Six yards and the Buckeyes left four points on the board.

After a long JK Dobbins touchdown, Ohio State was in prime position to cash in to go up 17-0, a score that may have been enough based on the course of play to end the game with an early knockout punch. Instead, Dobbins got caught on a long run by the supposedly slow Tanner Muse (#19, who I desperately wanted to see in single coverage) and then dropped a touchdown that was borderline to be overturned after being called a touchdown on the field.

Ohio State followed up that 13-0 lead with yet another failed red zone possession to only creep up to 16-0 instead of 20-0. If you get a touchdown on literally any of those possessions in the red zone versus a field goal, it might have been the straw to break Clemson’s back. That’s the truth.

But the missed opportunities and mistakes didn’t end there. Let’s talk about how the Tigers got their third touchdown. It was a defensive stop and the Buckeyes had a 2 point lead and Clemson was punting from their goal line. Seems like a great opportunity to get the ball back around midfield, right? Instead, Cam Brown made one of the worst mental errors in recent OSU history by running into the Clemson punter on a play where Chris Olave nearly blocked the punt and still didn’t touch the punter. Sure, Brown literally bumped into the kicker and somehow running into the kicker became roughing the kicker---actually, we all know why but that’s not the topic in this section of this article---but he should have had the sense to bail out of the situation in its entirety. Much like the earlier Shaun Wade garbage call, Clemson took advantage of the extra opportunity and scored a critical long touchdown pass to Travis Etienne to take a 21-16 lead.

There were other spots as well that Ohio State missed out on it’s chance to win the game. The six minute drive in the 4th quarter where the Buckeyes could have sealed the deal bogged down around the Clemson 40 yard line because of some conservative play calls. On 4th and 4 inside the 40, the Buckeyes had to punt and they forced Clemson to have to go 94 yards with less than 3 minutes to play.

The defense failed on that series miserably.

Despite all of that, Ohio State drove the ball down the field with inexorable power on the final drive of the game. Let’s be honest, every single one of us expected that the Buckeyes were going to score and the final outcome was going to be 30-29. On the final play of the game, Justin Fields got greedy, go back and look at the replay…..JK Dobbins was wide open in the middle of the field for a 10-15 yard checkdown and instead Fields fired into the end zone to conclude a vicious ending to the season.

Furthermore, Chris Olave made a mistake on that play. The best receiver on the team this season shifted into scramble mode instead of finishing his route. Had he done so, that is at worst an incompletion and quite possibly turns into a game-winning touchdown.

So before we got all scorched earth (rightfully) on the officiating in this game, let’s not forget that the Buckeyes simply made some egregious mistakes over the course of the evening that came back to haunt them in brutal fashion at the end of the night.

Ohio State could have and should have won this game, officials be damned. They had 516 yards of offense, outgained Clemson by a hundred yards and only managed to score two touchdowns. They left the points on the field to make a trip to the National Championship happen. Really unfortunate ending to an exception season, but they definitely had the opportunities to win the game, even with the obvious adversity.


Seriously, it’s obvious that he’s going to be the #1 pick in the draft next year. I had plenty of expectations about this game, but I never imagined that Lawrence would run for 100 yards and be a far more dangerous running option than Travis Etienne.

Sure, I wanted OSU to deck him all night and his downfield passing game was largely neutralized by the Ohio State defense, but I never ever would have predicted that he would have managed to run as well as he did and then subsequently lead a 94 yard winning drive (on four plays!) against this Buckeye defense.

He’s legit. And next year is going to be all about Lawrence and Fields. Or Fields and Lawrence, depending on your perspective. Either way, #16 for Clemson had one hell of a game. Give him a lot of credit for it.

OK, now that we’ve officially taken responsibility for our own mistakes and credited the victorious team like the classy Buckeyes that we all are, it’s time to get to the real story of the night…..


First of all, I want to know who the hell the SEC replay official was in the booth last night so I can send a flaming bag of poo to his house. That guy directly and unequivocally cost Ohio State a victory and a spot in the national championship game with his garbage decision-making last night.

The name out there is Gerald Hodges, according to Football Zebras, which really doesn’t inspire confidence when the first Google article about him links to a decade-old story of a blatantly missed interception call at a critical moment that propped up the SEC frontrunner from 2009, the sort of institutional garbage we all joke about from the SEC because it has way too much truth in it every single year. If it was this Gerald Hodges who was the replay official in question last night, he’s the villain in this whole story.

By the way, this is the same crew that did Alabama-Auburn last month and randomly decided to stop the clock to give Auburn the free field goal try that spawned a thousand Nick Saban fury gifs online. So glad they somehow got to officiate this game!

I have NEVER been more angry watching a football game in my entire life than I was last night. The replay official (Hodges or someone else) for this SEC crew singlehandedly changed the entire season for Ohio State, Clemson and by extension, LSU. This was pure incompetence and potentially more, having watched how bad these decisions were. At a bare minimum, the replay official deserves to lose his job and I’d be flat-out investigating him after some of those calls.

Call me crazy, but when the Ohio State beat writer universe on Twitter is all tweeting that the game feels fixed, you know something is wrong. There were at least two replays that were completely and utterly indefensible, heck even three. And all of them overturned reasonably called plays on the field to the detriment of the Buckeyes.

Also, how the hell does the SEC draw this assignment when their champion is potentially facing the winner of this game? Doesn’t that create a conflict of interest? Just like the championship game is due to be called by Pac 12 refs---the only league not represented in the Playoff---to avoid any image of impropriety, there should be no other major conference officiating this game. This is the point in the postseason where you lock up the best crew in the AAC or the Mountain West to call these games.

This is also the most ‘off’ the officials have felt since the infamous 2007 loss to Illinois, where the replay booth somehow managed to forget to review a blatant Illinois fumble early in the game. The official in that contest, a sketchy dude named Steven Pamon, was discovered to have significant gambling debts and concluded his Big Ten officiating career with not one, but two ‘flagged’ performances where the officiating on the field was deemed so egregious that the conference felt it undermined the integrity of the game. He got fired, along with his whole crew, after that Illinois-OSU game was the second consecutive game where bad calls benefitted the team with an oddly disproportionate amount of money wagered on them prior to the game.

Yeah, that actually happened twelve years ago. Read the story I linked.

That’s seemingly also what happened last night: The integrity of the game was flat-out impugned by the horrific performance of the replay official. Let’s look at the ways:

• JK Dobbins scored a touchdown on Ohio State’s 3rd drive of the game, appearing to lead the Buckeyes to a 16-0 lead with the impending extra point. Had that score held, it seemed extremely likely that there would be no comeback for a flagging Tigers team. Instead, a 50/50 call went against the Buckeyes, overturning a score. This was the least egregious of the decisions by this replay official, but it was close enough to merit discussion in light of the subsequent decisions he made. It directly changed the outcome of a call on the field, something this official specialized in.

• The targeting call that saw Shaun Wade ejected late in the second quarter when Ohio State led 16-0 and appeared to be facing a punt on 4th and 15. This was the most impactful penalty I’ve seen since the Pass Interference call in overtime against Miami. The difference here is that the official made the wrong damn call. On the field, no one had an issue with the play. Yet the replay booth buzzed down to review a targeting penalty that was the byproduct of Trevor Lawrence ducking his head to brace for contact and the official having too much time on his hands to microanalyze the play as Lawrence laid on the field. This was flat-out not targeting and has been called out as such by far more unbiased people than myself, including numerous former officials. This call flat-out changed the game from a Clemson beatdown to their eventual victory.

• Even despite the insanity of that targeting call, Ohio State persevered. They fought tooth and nail and recovered their edge in the second half, including what appeared to be a game-changing scoop and score in the 3rd quarter that should have given the Buckeyes the lead. Yet once more, despite ruling on the field that the play was a fumble and a touchdown, the replay booth managed to decide that a player who caught the ball and took four steps somehow didn’t have possession and took away a touchdown from the Buckeyes. This is without question the biggest controversy, especially considering that it would have been the margin of victory in the football game for the Buckeyes. Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit both thought it was a clear catch and fumble on the TV broadcast. If Fowler---who has not been kind to OSU this year at times, to say the least---thought it was a fumble, then it was a frickin’ fumble! Even Gene Smith spent much of last night reaching out to the media to express his disdain on this call, as well as famed veteran official Terry McAuley, who panned the call even more than I could dream of doing

Did Ohio State have chances to win the game despite this kind of incompetence from the replay official? Of course they did and had they done so this story would be talking about the adversity that they overcame, beating two different teams on one night.

Go ahead, call me a whiner or a bad loser or whatever other names you want to throw at me. But the truth is that the better team last night was Ohio State and the officials directly impacted the game not once but twice to directly hurt the Buckeyes. And it all came back to the replay official, not the on-field crew who did a pretty reasonable job overall.

But the reality is that the challenge of this game was made far worse by utterly and completely incompetent officiating replay that is so blatantly incorrect that it calls into question the fairness of the official who called down all three reviews. Gerald Hodges has a LOT to answer for, that’s for damn sure.

Ohio State shouldn’t have had to overcome adversity from the replay official. If he’d kept his nose out of overturning reasonable calls on the field, they would have won this game by multiple touchdowns. So if this replay official is Mr. Hodges, I’d love for him to come meet with the media and explain exactly what the hell he was thinking. He just singlehandedly ended the season for the best Buckeye team I can remember watching, after all.

Hard to not nurse a grudge after all that, isn’t it?


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Interesting that the same guy that added the extra second for aubarn against us in Iron Bowl is the same guy as last night.

These guys need to be held accountable.  I don't care who your team is! Calls are missed,  but when they get a chance to make them "right" in the booth and still screw it up, someone needs to be accountable!

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