MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) – The 2014 Discover Orange Bowl has the potential to be a record-breaking shootout between two of the top offenses in the nation when Clemson plays Ohio State Friday night.
The Tigers and Buckeyes both scored over 40 points per game (Clemson – 40.2 and Ohio State 46.3) and are led by electrifying quarterbacks. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd was an early season Heisman Trophy possibility as was Ohio State’s Braxton Miller.
While Boyd does most of his damage from the pocket; Miller is one of the most dynamic running quarterbacks in the nation. Ohio State’s quarterback ran for more than 1,000 yards in 2013 and averaged 6.75 yards per carry, according to CFBStats.com.
Combining Miller’s running with the punishing, physical running style of senior running back Carlos Hyde gave the Buckeyes an offensive attack that ran for 2,441 yards and 24 touchdowns this season. Nationally, Ohio State’s offense averaged 317.5 yards per game, third best in the nation.
As Ohio State made its opponents pay in the running game, Clemson lit up the scoreboard with a lethal passing attack.
Boyd led the Tigers’ attack to average 329.2 yards per game through the air, 11th best in the nation. Boyd averaged 9.3 yards per attempt in 2013 and threw for 29 touchdowns and just nine interceptions on the season.
But as good as both teams have been on the offensive side of the ball, it will likely be the defense that will put one of the squads over the top in the Discover Orange Bowl.
Clemson allowed 21.1 points per game, 17th best in the nation, while Ohio State allowed just 21.3 points per game, tied for 20th best in the nation.
Ohio State is a bit susceptible to a solid passing offense. The Buckeyes ranked 105th in the nation in passing defense, allowing 259.5 yards per game. However, those numbers can be misleading as most of Ohio State’s opponents spent most of the game throwing the ball to try to catch up with the Buckeyes.
On the flip side, Clemson’s run defense has given up 152.6 yards per game this season, according to CFBStats.com. That ranks the Tigers’ rush defense as 51st best in the nation, which is not a good ranking to be carrying into a game against OSU’s dynamic rushing attack.
Ohio State is coming into the Orange Bowl off of the team’s only loss of the season in the Big Ten Championship game against the Michigan State Spartans. The Buckeyes would have played for the BCS National Championship had it beaten the Spartans last month.
Clemson was ranked as high as number three in the country until it ran into the Florida State Seminoles buzzsaw. The Noles took the Tigers to the woodshed, beating them 51-14 on Clemson’s home field. Clemson also lost its season finale, 31-17, against arch rival South Carolina.
An additional problem has popped up for the Buckeyes as they try to install a game plan for Boyd’s passing attack. Ohio State will likely be without its top cornerback Bradley Roby, who is injured, and sophomore defensive end Noah Spence, who was suspended for three games including the Orange Bowl.
Clemson and Ohio State will play Friday night with a kick-off scheduled for 8:30 p.m.