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College Football Playoff: Trey Sermon, Ohio State runs past Clemson

By World Exposure News Services, 01/02/21, 12:00AM CST


Allstate #SugarBowl Photo Recap: Jonathan Bachman

Sermon's strategy was to run right at the Northwestern in the Big Ten Title game and HE DID!!

Graduate transfer RB Trey Sermon broke Eddie George’s 25-year-old single game rushing record of 314 yards vs. Illinois in 1995 with 331 yards in the Big Ten title game win over Northwestern. The yardage total was the most-ever in a conference championship game, and Sermon’s 271 yards in the second half was the most in one half by a Buckeye (Ezekiel Elliott; 243 vs. Indiana in 2015). Sermon was named the game’s MVP.

Once the Sugar Bowl started, Ohio State running back Trey Sermon took the same approach with outstanding results.

Sermon ran for 1 touchdown and 193 yards on 31 carries, the  Ohio State defense largely held Clemson's offense in check, and the Buckeyes earned a trip to the National Championship game by beating the Tigers 49-28 in the Sugar Bowl on Friday night.

The Buckeyes are now 3-2 in Sugar Bowls with losses to Alabama (35-6 in 1978) and Florida State (31-14 in 1998) and wins over Texas A&M (24-14 in 1999) and Alabama in a 2015 CFP semifinal (42-35) and Clemson in 2021. 

Heisman Trophy finalist Trevor Lawrence fell to 34-2 for his career as Clemson’s starting quarterback while throwing for 400 yards on 33-for-48 passing in the losing effort. 

In addition, Travis Etienne, in his last collegiate game, found the end zone on a three-yard rush, and in the process became the ACC’s all-time leading scorer (468) surpassing Florida State kicker Dustin Hopkins’s record of 466 set from 2009-12. 



  • Clemson finished its 2020 campaign at 10-2, its 10th consecutive 10-win season, the third-longest streak in FBS history. It was only Clemson’s second season in the last six years in which it lost multiple games (12-2 in 2017).
  • Quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed 33-of-48 passes for 400 yards with two touchdown passes. It was the third 400-yard passing performance in a bowl game in Clemson history, joining Deshaun Watson’s efforts against Alabama to conclude the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
  • Lawrence concluded his junior season 34-2 (.944) for his career as a starter, the third-best winning percentage by a starting quarterback with at least 30 career starts since Division I split in 1978, trailing only Miami’s Ken Dorsey (.950) and USC’s Matt Leinart (.949), according to ESPN Stats & Info.
  • Lawrence’s 33 completions were a career high, surpassing his previous career high of 29 set twice.
  • Lawrence opened the scoring with a two-yard touchdown run on the game’s opening possession. It was his eighth rushing touchdown of the season and the 18th of his career. His 18 career rushing touchdowns are fifth-most by a Clemson quarterback in the modern era.
  • Lawrence (3,153) posted the ninth 3,000-yard passing season in Clemson history. He joined Tajh Boyd as the only players in Clemson history to accomplish the feat three times.
  • With 400 passing yards on Friday, Lawrence (10,098) became the third Clemson player ever to throw for 10,000 career passing yards. Tajh Boyd (11,904) and Deshaun Watson (10,163) presently rank No. 1 and No. 2 in career passing yards in school history.
  • Lawrence posted his third career 400-yard passing game to tie Tajh Boyd for the second-most in school history.
  • Lawrence posted his 13th career 300-yard passing game to tie Deshaun Watson for second-most in school history. 
  • With performances against Notre Dame and Ohio State, Lawrence recorded 300 passing yards in consecutive games for the first time since College Football Playoff games against Notre Dame and Alabama to conclude the 2018 season.
  • Running back Travis Etienne gained 137 all-purpose yards, including 64 receiving yards, 41 kickoff return yards and 32 rushing yards. 
  • On a three-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, Etienne (468) broke Florida State kicker Dustin Hopkins' ACC record for career points (466 from 2009-12).
  • Etienne (468) tied Travis Prentice (468 from 1996-99) for the seventh-most career points in FBS history.
  • Etienne joined Keenan Reynolds (88), Montee Ball (77), Travis Prentice (73), Ricky Williams (72) and Kenneth Dixon (72) as the only FBS players ever to rush for 70 career touchdowns according to official NCAA records.
  • Etienne concluded his senior season having scored a touchdown of any kind in 46 of his 55 career games, adding to his FBS record for most career games scoring a touchdown. 
  • With two receptions on Clemson’s first drive, Etienne (48) broke the Clemson single-season running back receptions record held by Travis Zachery (45 in 2001).
  • Etienne made his 42nd career start to pull within one of the school record by a running back, held by James Davis (43 from 2005-08).

Credit/Provider Stephen Mally