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Guest Graphs: OSU vs. Clemson in The Fiesta Bowl (CFP semi-final)

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The efficiencies look ... well, like the scores did.

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff Semifinal-Ohio State vs Clemson
The most important running back of the night.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This game became more interesting than I expected, and a close one in general, so for you stats inclined folks, it’ll be worth taking a look at the numbers. I don’t have much commentary for a non-Alabama playoff game, but I’ve left a few thoughts on the more notable areas.

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Team Success Rates (cumulative)

Success and Explosiveness by Quarter

I was surprised that these efficiencies ended up so similar: I was expecting that Ohio State was more efficient for most of the game, and that Clemson had a few lucky breaks to get the win. In part, that isn’t a terrible assessment—close calls seem to go for teams with Orange in their color schemes more often than not—but it looks like OSU’s dominance was truly just a 1st-quarter thing, nothing more.

Play Map: Yards and Result by Play

Yep, those last 4 Clemson plays—2 explosive, 2 successful—made a perfect drive and the game-sealer. Too bad (for them) that the Buckeyes punted on the drive prior rather than going for it.

Success and Explosiveness by Play Type

Well well, against a real defense, Trevor Lawrence and co. didn’t really put up great passing numbers. These two QBs will likely match up again next year in the Heisman race.

Success and Explosiveness by Down

For once, Clemson wasn’t the team with great 3rd down percentages: though apparently they were mining all that efficiency on 1st down for this game. Maybe that’s why they appeared to be doing so much losing in a game that they ended up winning.

Success and Explosiveness in the Red Zone

Ah, now THERE is the game: that OSU red zone percentage is the worst I’ve seen running this particular chart. Meanwhile, Clemson’s usual move of overachieving in the Red Zone prevails.

Rushing rate (cumulative), Clemson

Rushing and Passing Success (cumulative), Clemson

Clemson kept trying to pass, but was much more successful in their limited rushing attempts. Read on to find out why!

Rushing rate (cumulative), Ohio State

Rushing and Passing Success (cumulative), Ohio State

Top Runners, Clemson

Uh, well that’s a weird one: Trevor Lawrence was the most important running back on Saturday on either team... this contribution was also more critical than his passing game.

Top Passers, Clemson

Confirmed: they got their usual “big receivers pushing hard” explosive plays, but otherwise this isn’t a great passing line. Plus, two of those explosive plays, and another successful one, were actually to Travis Etienne.

Top Receivers, Clemson

Top Tacklers, Clemson

Top Runners, Ohio State

J.K. Dobbins didn’t have a great game. Justin Fields was efficient on the ground, though.

Top Passers, Ohio State

This is a pretty efficient passing line! Justin Fields seems to have been the better quarterback in this game. Gasp!

Top Receivers, Ohio State

Top Tacklers, Ohio State

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Whatever. Roll Tide!