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Fiesta Bowl 2nd Quarter Film Review: Clemson v. Ohio State

A peek at how Clemson shutout the “favorites” and moved on to their second consecutive National Championship game.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Ohio State vs Clemson Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Timeout. Clemson played their second string players in a CFP game. Let that sink in.

But wasn’t that game fun? I don’t know that there’s a team in America that embraces the underdog role better than Clemson. The worst thing someone can do is tell that team that they aren’t as good as someone else. Think about the last two years; Florida State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma (lol), Louisville, Ohio State, and now Alabama twice.

Last year, the National Championship was one of the best football games I’ve ever witnessed. We saw the wit of Nick Saban against the youth and creativity of Dabo Swinney. The game, for the most part, came down to two special teams plays (KR for a TD & the Onside kick). This year looks to be just as good, if not better than last year’s game.

All season, if you’ve watched or listened to an Sports Talk Shows, you’ve heard the same phrases over and over: “Clemson just isn’t that good this year”, “Deshaun Watson is playing too nervous”, “Clemson isn’t a playoff caliber this year”, “There’s no way they’ll beat Louisville”, “They won’t beat Florida State in Tallahassee”, “Ohio State is just too good for Clemson’s defense”... Now, we get something Clemson players and fans are all to familiar with; “Clemson is good, but they can’t beat Alabama”.

I guess we’ll see who brings their own guts Monday, until then here’s a fun film review of how we handed Ohio State their worst loss in years, and Urban Meyer’s first ever shutout as a head coach:


Alley = area between the OT and WR. BCB = Boundary Cornerback, Bullet = ILB A or B gap blitz. C0, C1, C2, C3, C4 (quarters) or C6 = coverage scheme by the secondary. DIME OF DOOM = 3rd down 3-2-6 havoc formation. FCB = Wide side or field cornerback. Fire = S, NB, LB blitz from the outside. Green Dog = man blitz when your man stays in to block or is not in the formation. IV= inverted veer. IZ = Inside Zone or Zone blocked play inside the tackles.Jailbreak = 7 or more blitz. LOS = Line of Scrimmage. Man = man to man coverage.OZ = outside zone run or zone blocked play off-tackle. PA = Play Action. PBU = Pass broken up. Red Dog (overload) = LB and S/NB blitz on the same side. Robber = S or LB moves to take away crossing routes. C3 Sky = SS moves up two yards, takes flat, CBs and FS take deep thirds. Soft= CBs/NB playing well off the WR until he gets to the 1st down line. Stretch= zone blocked run just inside the last offensive player on that side. Stack = the 3 LBs are stacked directly behind DL. Stalk = WR blocks DB in front of him. Sweep = RB/QB run, often FB/ H-B lead play to the D gap. TO = Triple Option. ZR = Zone read option play.


  • Thoughts within a play are separated by a comma. (,)
  • Each play is separated by an ellipsis. (...)
  • First downs are separated by a paragraph.
  • Comments on a drive are in italics.
  • Offensive personnel listed as a 2 digit number: # of RBs, # of TEs, # of WRs; 11 = 1 RB, 1 TE, 3 receivers; 22 = 2 RB, 2 TE, 1 receiver, etc.

Play by Play

Clemson Ball, 14:53, Clem 11

113 Pistol vs. 4-3, bubble screen pass right to Renfrow, gain of 6…104 Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickel, Trips right, bubble screen right to McCloud, gain of 3…113 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, delayed keeper, loss of 1 yard…PUNT

Okay so quick shoutout to Andy Teasdall, my former lacrosse teammate, for playing the game of his life Saturday. Flipping the field is a huge part of what kept Ohio State of the scoreboard…

Ohio State Ball, 13:02, OSU 13

The drive started with an illegal substitution penalty…

5 Flat Shotgun vs. 402 Nickel, pass over the middle for gain of 7…113 Shotgun vs. 4-3, shovel pass to Samuel for a gain of 4 yards…5 Flat Shotgun vs. 3-2 Dime, pass over the middle falls incomplete…PUNT

Clemson ball, 11:38, Clem 26

104 Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickel, read option right, give to Gallman, gain of 7 yards…104 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, Watson keeps right off tackle…

113 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, Scott motions right to left, gain of 7 yards…212 Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickel, handoff to McCloud gain of 6 yards…

113 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, pass right incomplete to Williams…104 Pistol vs. 402 Nickel, zone coverage, pass to the left flats to Gallman, gain of 10…

104 Pistol vs. 4-3, play action pass incomplete to Renfrow…104 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, read option give to Gallman, gain of 3…104 Shotgun vs. 4-3, Watson’s pass intercepted in the endzone…

Ohio State Ball, 8:23, OSU 20

103 Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickel, read option handoff to Webber, gain of 5…103 Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickel, pass knocked away by Watkins…5 Flat Shotgun vs. 3-2 Dime, pass over the middle complete for a gain of 5…

I’m still not quite sure what the referees saw on the replay to make this a first down, but I’m sure there are some Michigan fans that would agree that he was a solid yard short here…it ended up not mattering so I’m not mad about it…

104 Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickel, pass right for a gain of 8 yards…5 Flat Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickel, Barrett sacked by Watkins for loss of 1…5 Flat Shotgun vs. 3-2 Dime, Clemson brings 6, pass falls incomplete…PUNT

Clemson Ball, 6:05, Clem 17

113 Pistol vs. 4-1, sweep right to Gallman, gain of 8…113 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, handoff left to Gallman, no gain on the play…113 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, pass over the middle to Renfrow for gain of 13…

113 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, handoff left to Gallman, loss of two yards on the play…113 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, Watson keeps the ball for gain of 32…

113 Pistol vs. 4-3, pass left to Renfrow for gain of 13 FLAG (Holding)…

5 Flat Shotgun vs. 4-rush Quarter, screen pass left to Williams, gain of 3 yards…113 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, pass complete to CJ Fuller for the TOUCHDOWN …FLAG (Roughing the Passer)

Ohio State Ball, 2:21, OSU 25

5 Flat Shotgun vs. 4-1 Dime, pass right to Samuel, gain of 9 yards…104 Shotgun vs. 3-2 Dime, Barrett rushed by Ferrell, pass incomplete…113 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, Barrett rushes left, gain of 2 yards…FLAG (Holding)…113 Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickel, Barrett shuffle passes to Samuel, gain of 8 yards…PUNT

Clemson Ball, :58, Clem 21

104 Shotgun vs. 4-1 Dime, Watson pass right to Williams for gain of 4 yards…104 Shotgun vs. 3-3 Nickel, Watson pass complete to Fuller, gain of 6 yards…

104 Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickel, Watson pass incomplete to Williams (who fell again)…104 Shotgun vs. 4-1 Dime, Watson pass complete to Scott for gain of 9…5 Flat Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickel, Watson’s pass falls incomplete…PUNT

The half ends with another monster punt from Teasdall and a JT Barrett kneel down…

Clemson leads 17-0