ACC: orange bowl 2013


MIAMI -- The night started appropriately enough: Clemson and Ohio State trading scores behind their terrifically talented dual-threat quarterbacks, almost daring each other with a game of "Anything you can do, I can do better."

It was Tajh Boyd first. Then Braxton Miller. Then Clemson jumped out to a big lead. Ohio State refused to bend. Then Ohio State jumped out to a big lead. Clemson refused to bend. Momentum shifted every few drives Friday night, swinging back and forth like a ticking grandfather clock, counting down to the final thrilling minutes.

Indeed, the Discover Orange Bowl fell right in line with every other BCS game to date, providing high drama with a lot of flair and a bit of the unexpected. Both programs needed a victory in the worst way to validate their performances in 2013, almost standing together like mirror images. No surprise then that Boyd and Miller began the game the way they did, considering they run offenses nearly identical to one another.

But where scheme is similar, players are not. Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins proved that over and over, thoroughly dominating a flummoxed and injury-depleted Buckeyes secondary in a 40-35 victory. Watkins finished with a school- and Orange Bowl-record 227 yards on a school- and Orange Bowl-record 16 receptions, scoring twice to take home game MVP honors.

Boyd had 505 yards of total offense and scored six touchdowns, ending his career with a triumphant victory he needed badly. But Watkins was the most brilliant player on the field throughout the night, showing off his superior speed at every turn.

“The biggest thing going into this game, we were going to win or lose going through No. 10 [Boyd] and No. 2 [Watkins],” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.

[+] EnlargeSammy Watkins
Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesOhio State didn't have an answer for Clemson WR Sammy Watkins, who set an Orange Bowl record with 16 receptions for 227 yards.
Hard as it is to believe considering those dual performances, Clemson could not do enough for most of the night to put the Buckeyes away, thanks mainly to its own mistakes and an unevenly officiated game (Clemson was called for 15 penalties; Ohio State six).

Miller, playing through severe pain, was not perfect. But he kept Ohio State in the contest, getting up after one huge sack followed another huge sack, gutting out a gritty performance. He led consecutive touchdown drives to close the first half, giving Ohio State a 22-20 lead at intermission.

“If you ask me how I felt at halftime, I felt fantastic,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “Like we’re going to be in a great ballgame here.”

The Buckeyes built that lead to 29-20 after Carlos Hyde scored on a 1-yard run in the third quarter. It seemed improbable, quite frankly, that an undermanned Ohio State team held the lead, considering it had yet to find a way to stop Watkins.

You wondered how long that lead would last.

Answer: Not long. But it was not solely because of Watkins.

Ohio State lost its poise.

The Buckeyes closed the game with turnovers on four of their final five possessions. The first two -- a fumbled punt by Philly Brown and a Miller interception -- were converted into touchdowns, giving Clemson the lead back. Miller hung tough, putting the Buckeyes back ahead 35-34 on a 14-yard touchdown pass to Hyde with 11:35 remaining in the fourth.

Even still, Clemson had all the momentum. Boyd led the game-winning drive with ease, throwing a perfectly called pass to tight end Stanton Seckinger with 6:16 remaining for the final margin. Miller fumbled and threw an interception on the final two possessions, and Clemson started throwing oranges all over the field.

In the end, it was Boyd who finished with more carries and more yards than Miller. Swinney admitted afterward that Clemson used more designed rushes for Boyd because he felt it gave the Tigers their best chance to run the ball. “A little bit of what they do,” Swinney said, in a nod to Ohio State.

While nobody on the Clemson side said the game plan was made specifically to take advantage of an Ohio State secondary missing starting cornerback Bradley Roby and starting two freshmen, the results on the field spoke for the Tigers.

“We saw the young cornerback out there and how far he was off us,” Watkins said. “The wide receivers and tight ends did a great job of blocking downfield, and coach did a great job of just coming back to the same thing and giving us success.”

While it is true both teams needed a win in the worst way, one could argue Clemson needed it much more. This is a program that has fought for respect for years now, still trying to erase the horror that was the 2012 Orange Bowl debacle, a game Swinney has repeatedly called a “butt whipping.” Boyd and Watkins were in that game, rendered ineffective because an avalanche of turnovers essentially limited what they could do against West Virginia.

But that was their first year playing under offensive coordinator Chad Morris. That was their first time playing in a BCS game, youngsters on a team full of them. Thanks in large part to that loss and more recent defeats to Florida State and South Carolina, there might not be a team in the country ridiculed more than Clemson given where this program stands today: back-to-back 11-win seasons for the first time in school history.

All behind a record-setting quarterback and a dynamic receiver destined to become a first-round NFL pick.

“The significance of this game, not for me particularly, not for this team particularly, but for the university, for the fans that support us, has been unbelievable,” Boyd said. “I couldn’t pick a better way to go out as a senior.”

Or for Clemson to close out 2013.

Video: Clemson QB Tajh Boyd

January, 4, 2014
Jan 4
1:03
AM ET

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd talks after Clemson's 40-35 victory over Ohio State in the Discover Orange Bowl.

MIAMI -- Since the moment the pairing was announced, we thought the Discover Orange Bowl could feature a wild and entertaining shootout between No. 7 Ohio State and No. 12 Clemson.

And that's just what we got in Clemson's 40-35 win Friday before an announced crowd of 72,008 at Sun Life Stadium. Here's quick rundown of how this one went down in South Florida:

It was over when: Clemson's Stephone Anthony intercepted a Braxton Miller pass over the middle with 1 minutes, 18 seconds remaining, capping a crazy series of events. Miller had fumbled on Ohio State's previous possession after he was slammed into by Bashaud Breeland with 3:12 left. But the Tigers gave the ball right back when Tajh Boyd threw a pick of his own to C.J. Barnett on a puzzling third-and-13 call. Miller was battered and bruised throughout the game and appeared to be favoring his arm early on. All those hits might have taken their toll in the end.

Game ball goes to: Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins and Boyd. Playing in what was in all likelihood his final college game, Watkins broke the Orange Bowl receiving record before the third quarter was even over. Going up against a young and injury-decimated Ohio State secondary, the junior was just too good to handle as he finished with a career-high 16 catches for 227 yards, plus two touchdowns. His 16 catches also set an Orange Bowl and school record. Boyd completed 31 of 40 passes for 378 yards and five touchdowns while running for 127 yards and another score.

Stat of the game: The two teams combined for more than 1,000 yards of total offense, though Clemson offset some of its major yardage advantage with a whopping 15 penalties for 144 yards. But the stat that mattered in the end was turnovers. The Tigers committed 10 turnovers in their two losses (Florida State and South Carolina) this season, while the Buckeyes have been mostly solid on ball security all year. Yet it was Ohio State that gave the ball away four times, including three in the second half, versus two for Clemson. In a game where every possession loomed large, that made the difference.

Best call: Carlos Hyde wasn't happy that he didn't get the ball on a crucial fourth-and-2 late in the Buckeyes' Big Ten title-game loss to Michigan State. Well, Hyde got his revenge in this one. Ohio State faced a fourth-and-1 from the Clemson 32-yard line in the third quarter and decided to go with their workhorse back this time around. Hyde, who only had 62 yards on 18 carries to that point, ripped off a 31-yard run and punched it in for the touchdown one play later for a 29-20 Buckeyes lead.

Second-guessing: Ohio State led 29-20 and had forced a stop late in the third quarter. But Philly Brown was indecisive on fielding a punt return and opted not to call for a fair catch. He fumbled the return, setting the Tigers up at the Ohio State 33-yard line. Clemson quickly scored on a Boyd pass to Watkins, and it was able to reverse all the momentum the Buckeyes had gained starting late in the second quarter. Brown had a terrific game otherwise, catching eight passes for 116 yards, but that turnover helped turn the tide.

What it means: Clemson finished off an 11-win season for the second consecutive year. That's the first time in school history that Tigers have posted back-to-back 11-win campaigns. Maybe more importantly, they won their first BCS game just before the end of the BCS era and helped redeem themselves from the 2012 Orange Bowl disaster against West Virginia. Losing Boyd and Watkins will be tough to overcome, but this program has established itself as a legitimate national power under Dabo Swinney. Ohio State won its first 24 games under Urban Meyer, but went 0-2 when it really mattered in the Big Ten championship game and on Friday night. Meyer lost for the first time in five tries in BCS games, and Ohio State will have to fix a defense that sprung all kinds of leaks late in the season to be taken seriously as a championship contender in 2014.

Join us for Orange Bowl Live (8:30 ET)

January, 4, 2014
Jan 4
12:09
AM ET
Clemson. Ohio State. These two tradition-rich programs are meeting for the first time since Woody Hayes’ finale and we’ll be here chatting about it throughout.

At 8:30 ET, join reporters Brian Bennett, Austin Ward, Andrea Adelson and Matt Fortuna as they discuss the game between the Tigers and Buckeyes. Post your comments and questions and we’ll include as many of them as possible.

ESPN's Ivan Maisel, SEC blogger Chris Low and ACC blogger Heather Dinich look back at Oklahoma's stunning upset of Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl and preview the Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl and the big matchup between Florida State and Auburn in the VIZIO BCS Championship.

You can listen here.

Video: Orange Bowl X-factors

January, 3, 2014
Jan 3
2:30
PM ET


Samantha Ponder, Jesse Palmer and Danny Kanell look at Clemson QB Tajh Boyd and Ohio State QB Braxton Miller and preview the Orange Bowl.

Discover Orange Bowl preview

January, 3, 2014
Jan 3
11:00
AM ET


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The last and only time Clemson and Ohio State played, this happened. We don't expect any sideline high jinks this time, just a potential thrilling shootout between the No. 7 Buckeyes (12-1) and the No. 12 Tigers (10-2) in the Discover Orange Bowl (8:30 p.m., ESPN).

Who to watch: The two quarterbacks. Clemson's Tajh Boyd, a senior, is one of the most accomplished players in school and ACC history, with more than 10,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing in his career. Ohio State junior Braxton Miller has more than 5,000 yards passing and 3,000 yards rushing in his career and has finished in the top 10 of the Heisman Trophy voting the past two years. Although they have similar body types, Boyd is the far better passer, having thrown for 3,473 yards and 29 touchdowns this season. Miller remains most dangerous as an open-field runner. Each has a wingman who is a superstar in his own right -- for Miller, it's running back Carlos Hyde, and Boyd loves throwing to Sammy Watkins because who wouldn't? But the quarterbacks remain the main attraction here, even for the coaches. "That's awesome," Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman said. "I get to sit up there with my hot dogs and popcorn and Diet Coke and get to watch this thing go down, man. These are two of the top five or 10 quarterbacks in college football today and have been for the last couple of years." About the only thing missing on the résumés for Boyd and Miller is a BCS win. That will change for one of them tonight.

What to watch: Can Ohio State's pass defense do anything to slow down Boyd, Watkins and Martavis Bryant? Clemson had the 11th-best passing attack in the country this season, and, in Watkins and Bryant, it boasts arguably the best pair of receivers the Buckeyes have faced all season. Ohio State's pass defense was in tatters by the end of the season, giving up 451 yards through the air to Michigan and allowing Michigan State's Connor Cook to throw for 300 yards in the Big Ten title game loss. Add to that the uncertain status of top cornerback Bradley Roby (bone bruise on his knee) and top pass-rusher Noah Spence (personal reasons) and there could be issues. Defensive coordinator Luke Fickell is putting true freshman Vonn Bell into the lineup at nickelback and moving Tyvis Powell to starting safety in an attempt to shore up the pass defense. But if Ohio State doesn't show major improvement in the secondary and make up for the possible loss of Roby and Spence, it could mean a huge night for the Clemson stars.

Why to watch: Both teams averaged more than 40 points per game in the regular season and are blessed with an abundance of fast future NFL stars (we haven't even mentioned defensive standouts such as Clemson's Vic Beasley and Ohio State's Ryan Shazier, coming to a pro stadium near you soon). This has a chance to be one of the most entertaining games of the bowl season. Urban Meyer is 4-0 in BCS games and has a 24-1 record at Ohio State. Clemson is seeking its first BCS win and wants to redeem itself from its last Orange Bowl appearance, a 70-33 humiliation at the hands of West Virginia in the 2012 game. It's the final non-championship BCS bowl ever. There's no better way to spend your Friday night.

Prediction: Clemson 38, Ohio State 35. The potential loss of Roby and Spence is devastating for a Buckeyes defense that was already going to be under the gun in this game. The Big Ten just can't prepare you for the type of speed and playmaking ability Clemson has at receiver. Ohio State will find lots of success running the ball with Miller and Hyde, but ultimately the Buckeyes will need to match the Tigers score for score because of their spotty defense. And that's a tough way to win a BCS game.

No. 12 Clemson takes on No. 7 Ohio State in the Discover Orange Bowl on Friday. Here is a look at 10 reasons the Tigers could beat the Buckeyes.

1. Receiver advantage. Clemson seems to have a clear matchup edge with its receivers, and that could translate into big plays in the pass game. Sammy Watkins has had a terrific season, and he needs nine receptions to break the school career record and two receiving touchdowns to tie the school career record. He has reached 100 yards receiving in seven of 12 games this season and is going to be difficult to stop. Martavis Bryant, at 6-foot-5, gives the Tigers another big-play target. Ohio State has allowed 755 yards passing in its past two games.

2. Ohio State D in flux. Given all the issues the Ohio State defense has had, it is easy to believe the Tigers are in line to take advantage. Defensive end Noah Spence has been suspended for the game, leaving the Buckeyes without their best pass-rusher. Cornerback Bradley Roby is unlikely to play, and there is the possibility three new starters could be in the secondary against the high-powered Tigers.

[+] EnlargeBoyd
AP Photo/Richard ShiroClemson will need QB Tajh Boyd to be at his best against Ohio State.
3. Tajh's time. Tajh Boyd has had one of the best careers in Clemson history, but he did not play his best in losses to Florida State or South Carolina this season, so you have to think he will be extra motivated to finish his career with a win in the Orange Bowl. Boyd is fully capable of winning big games, as he showed against Georgia and LSU. Big-play Boyd needs to show up.

4. Vic Beasley. One of the more intriguing matchups in the game pits Clemson pass-rusher Beasley against All-Big Ten tackle Jake Mewhort. Beasley is tied for third in the nation with 12 sacks, and Mewhort said this week that Beasley presents a "unique challenge." Beasley is built differently from the pass-rushers Mewhort has faced in the Big Ten, using a blend of speed and athleticism to get after the quarterback. If he can disrupt Braxton Miller, Clemson will improve its chances of winning.

5. TFLs. One area where the Tigers have succeeded this season is in tackles for loss. Clemson has 112, which leads the nation, and needs seven more to tie the school record. Clemson must get into the backfield to try to limit the big plays Miller and running back Carlos Hyde can make.

6. Limited Ohio State pass rush? We have seen Boyd get flustered into making mistakes when he is under heavy pressure. But the Buckeyes' pass rush could be severely limited without Spence, who leads the team with eight sacks. Without Spence, more will be placed on the shoulders of freshman Joey Bosa, who has 6.5 sacks on the season.

7. Big plays. Tag this to go along with reasons 1-3. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Boyd leads all AQ quarterbacks in completion percentage on throws of 20 yards or longer (55.9 percent) and has 14 touchdowns and two interceptions on such throws. Since 2011, Watkins has scored 17 touchdowns of 30 yards or more, tied for second most in FBS in that span.

8. Andre Williams effect. Clemson players said Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde reminds them of Boston College back Andre Williams, who won the Doak Walker Award and rushed for 2,000 yards. But the Tigers held Williams to 70 yards rushing -- one of his lowest outputs of the season -- giving them a boost of confidence going into the game.

9. No turnovers. Coach Dabo Swinney has been preaching for a month now -- no more turnovers. In losses to Florida State and South Carolina, Clemson turned the ball over a total of 10 times. Surely the message has sunk in by now.

10. Chick-fil-A Bowl. The 2012 Orange Bowl performance against West Virginia has been brought up every single day in South Florida, but Clemson believes its win over LSU in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl last season is more indicative of what it can do on a big stage in the bowl game. Being able to win a game like that, against a top school from the SEC, has given this team the confidence to know it can do it again Friday against Ohio State.

Video: Clemson safety Robert Smith

January, 2, 2014
Jan 2
4:00
PM ET

Andrea Adelson talks to Clemson safety Robert Smith about the matchup against Ohio State in the Discover Orange Bowl.

Video: Clemson LB Stephone Anthony

January, 2, 2014
Jan 2
1:00
PM ET

Andrea Adelson talks to Clemson linebacker Stephone Anthony about the keys to slowing down Ohio State offensive stars Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde in the Discover Orange Bowl.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has been asked about the debacle that was the 2011 Orange Bowl ever since the Tigers found out they would be making a return trip to South Florida this season.

[+] EnlargeDabo Swinney
Tyler Smith/Getty ImagesClemson's last trip to the Orange Bowl didn't go very well. Coach Dabo Swinney expects better results on Friday night.
While much has changed since that 70-33 loss to West Virginia, history never allows one to forget. That includes Swinney, who reflected on the defeat one final time during the coaches press conference on Thursday, one day before facing Ohio State in the Discover Orange Bowl.

"One thing I told our team after the game is you grow and learn from everything," Swinney said. "It doesn't always go according to plan for any of us in here, in life or certainly in football. It's how you respond to those things. We spent eight months after that year, I mean, we were the worst team in America. We just played in a BCS bowl, won the ACC for the first time in 20 years, won 10 games for the first time in 20-something years, but we were this bad football team.

"We're 21-4 since that game, and those four losses have been to top-10 teams. We've had our fair share of those top-10 wins along the way as well. So this team has more than responded to a bad night. That's really what you want to see with people, see them pick themselves up."

Players have had to answer for that loss throughout the course of the week, too. Receiver Sammy Watkins admitted the last time around, "From a players' perspective, we didn't take it that serious, we didn't know what it was worth. A lot of guys, myself, were burnt out. We had fun, but we didn't come down here to win."

Watkins and his teammates say the preparations have been different this year. Running back Roderick McDowell said, "I feel our preparation is totally different. I feel like everybody’s on the same page as far as the coaching staff. It’s all about how we handle the trip, the atmosphere. We’re practicing smart, we’re really honing in on what’s more important."

Clemson also is a much more experienced team. Back in the 2012, the Tigers had 42 freshmen and redshirt freshmen on the roster, a first-year starting quarterback and "a lot of puppies in the trenches," Swinney said.

On Friday night, Clemson will say good bye to a senior class that has won 37 games, tied for the fourth-most in Clemson history. There were some serious emotions for the entire team after the final full practice with the seniors on Wednesday. Afterward, Swinney said, "When we left the Orange Bowl two years ago after a tough night against West Virginia, I told that group it had been 30 years since Clemson had played in the Orange Bowl. I told them it would not take another 30 years. This class has been the nucleus that has brought us back just two years later."

Now comes the next step: Winning the actual game.

'Legacy game' for Tajh Boyd

January, 2, 2014
Jan 2
9:00
AM ET


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- How does one define a legacy?

With wins and losses, with records set? With character and stature, with leadership and grace? With setting a standard, with changing a culture?

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd has hit each mark as he closes in on the final game of his career with the Tigers. His legacy at Clemson should be unquestioned. Yet the Discover Orange Bowl against Ohio State on Friday night has been dubbed a “legacy game” for him.

His teammates and his coaches dismiss the thought, pointing to a long résumé that spills onto three pages in the team’s bowl media guide. "Whether he takes another snap or not, for what he's done for this program and for this university has been instrumental," offensive coordinator Chad Morris said.

Here is just a small snapshot: Boyd has led this team to an ACC title, to two BCS games, to 31 victories -- second-most in school history. He holds 16 school career records and 11 ACC records. Six more marks are within reach in his final game.

[+] EnlargeTajh Boyd
AP Photo/ Richard ShiroTajh Boyd has led Clemson to an ACC title, two BCS games and 31 victories, which is second-most in school history. Not a bad legacy.
But there is one more record next to his name that is not as pleasant. Boyd never beat rival South Carolina, going 0-3 as a starter. He only beat Florida State once, going 1-2. He was at the helm the last time Clemson played here, a 70-33 loss to West Virginia that still stings today.

In particular, his performance against Florida State and South Carolina this season has been closely scrutinized. Clemson was the preseason choice to win the ACC -- and Boyd the preseason choice for ACC Player of the Year. Boyd and his teammates had national championship hopes.

But Boyd played one of the worst games of his career in a 51-14 loss to the Seminoles, dashing any shot at either the ACC or the national title. Against South Carolina, the offense imploded in the second half en route to a fifth straight loss in the series.

Clemson turned the ball over 10 times in those games, many of them on Boyd. Yet he has never made one excuse, never shied away from a question. He has answered all of them, admitting the Florida State loss was the toughest of his career because the Tigers never gave themselves a chance to win.

“I had goals: I want to go to the national championship, I want to win the Heisman, beat South Carolina,” a reflective Boyd said this week. “Looking at it from the outside, well did you really improve? I can honestly say yeah, just from my growth, my maturation and looking at the season as a whole.

“Now there are some things, some obstacles we didn’t clear but all these things shaped me. It’s how you respond to adversity. I took one of those losses and essentially I thought it ruined some of the thoughts and plans I had but you can’t look at it from that angle. It’s not about you. It’s about this program, you being a leader regardless. We still won 10 games, and we have an opportunity to go out here and finish on a strong note.”

In a strange twist, Boyd almost ended up playing for the team he will face Friday night. Boyd grew up a huge Troy Smith fan and seriously considered playing for Ohio State after decommitting from Tennessee. On a recruiting visit, coach Jim Tressel promised Boyd he could wear No. 10, the same number Smith wore.

Boyd knew nothing about Clemson until current running back Roderick McDowell started pushing the Tigers during a high school All-America game they were playing in. The two were on the bus on the way to practice when McDowell asked Boyd what schools he was considering. McDowell asked, ‘Why not Clemson?’ He got then-Clemson assistant coach Andre Powell on the phone, and handed it to Boyd.

“They had my phone forever,” McDowell said.

Boyd visited Clemson last, to its good fortune. Because that is where Boyd decided to go to school, becoming a part of Dabo Swinney’s first recruiting class in 2009. The senior class has 37 victories, the most since 1991. That includes three straight 10-win seasons, the first time that has happened since 1987-90. They did all that with Boyd, his talent, his leadership and his infectious personality.

“With me, you should not judge a man on his wins and his losses,” McDowell said. “You should judge him on his character and how he handles success and how he handles losing and winning. You look at Tajh, the losses we had -- the next day Tajh is in the film room, studying and correcting himself. When we win, Tajh doesn’t sit there and boast. Tajh is a person who sits there and says take the good with the bad. That’s how I judge a man.”

Boyd nearly left school early last year for the NFL but decided to return, believing more championships were in sight. He wanted to get better; but he also wanted to be there for his teammates, to take them where Clemson had only been once before.

That never happened. But Boyd says he has no regrets. Rather than dwell on what could have been, Boyd has opted to look ahead. His legacy seems secure, no matter what happens with Ohio State, but that remains a hard question for Boyd to answer.

Legacies, he says, are for somebody else to define.

Video: Orange Bowl wrap

January, 1, 2014
Jan 1
9:24
PM ET


Andrea Adelson and Brian Bennett discuss all the news from the Discover Orange Bowl, including the Buckeyes losing a key player for the game against Clemson.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Ohio State announced Wednesday morning that it wouldn't have defensive end Noah Spence for the Discover Orange Bowl (or the first two games next season). This afternoon, head coach Urban Meyer said the defense would likely be without another star: cornerback Bradley Roby.

[+] EnlargeBradley Roby
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesBradley Roby's career at Ohio State is likely over. The redshirt junior cornerback has already declared for the NFL draft.
Roby has been dealing with a bone bruise on his knee that he suffered in the Big Ten championship game, and he has practiced on a limited basis this week. Meyer said Wednesday that he didn't think Roby would be able to play vs. Clemson on Friday night.

Roby's loss is even bigger than Spence's, because he was the one player in the secondary who was playing at an extremely high level. Now Ohio State could have new starters in three spots when they go to the nickel package against the Tigers' high-scoring passing attack. And Roby would have been the guy to try and stop Clemson star receiver Sammy Watkins.

Instead, Ohio State finds itself playing shorthanded on defense.

"That''s tough," Meyer said. "What's my confidence level? We recruited a lot of them and we coached a lot of them. I have a lot of respect for our players. I'm anxious to see Tyvis Powell and Vonn Bell at the safety positions. Josh Perry is one of the most improved players on our team. We've got [Ryan] Shazier. So we've got some very good players."

They just won't have two very important starters on defense.

Video: Clemson DE Vic Beasley

January, 1, 2014
Jan 1
3:00
PM ET

Andrea Adelson talks to Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley about the upcoming matchup against Ohio State in the Discover Orange Bowl.

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