Justin Fields was having an incredible season for the Ohio State Buckeyes in 2019. It looked like the Buckeyes were going to be LSU’s toughest competition in the national championship game. This was especially the case when Ohio State jumped out to a 16-0 lead in the College Football Playoff semifinal against the Clemson Tigers. However, Clemson ultimately forced Fields and the Buckeyes into some mistakes, which led to the Tigers winning 29-23 to reach the national championship game. Now, a little more than 365 days later, Fields can potentially get his revenge.
Justin Fields and Ohio State had an incredible 2019 season
For anyone who watched the Ohio State Buckeyes in 2019, it was pretty hard to imagine them losing a game. They didn’t just have an incredible quarterback, they had elite athletes at pretty much every position.
The Buckeyes had No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft Chase Young on defense, and he had a record-setting season that saw him record 16.5 sacks. They also had some of the best defensive backs in the country in Jeffrey Okudah, who went No. 3 overall in the same draft, as well as Jordan Fuller, Damon Arnette, and Shaun Wade.
Offensively, Ohio State had a ton of stars surrounding arguably the most talented quarterback in program history. Justin Fields threw for a remarkable 3,273 yards, 41 touchdowns, and three interceptions in 2019. He also ran for 484 yards and 10 touchdowns. In addition to Fields, Ohio State also had running backs J.K. Dobbins and Master Teague. Dobbins ran for 2,003 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2019 and Teague gained 789 rushing yards. OSU also had some great wide receivers in Chris Olave, K.J. Hill, Binjimen Victor, and Garrett Wilson.
The incredible amount of talent that the Buckeyes had led to them starting the season 13-0 and reaching the College Football Playoff. They then faced the Clemson Tigers in a CFP semifinal.
Clemson rallied to beat Ohio State in the CFP semifinal
It appeared that the Buckeyes were going to dominate the Tigers in the 2019 Fiesta Bowl. They marched down the field several times in the first half, but they could only get one touchdown, as they settled for three field goals, and took a 16-0 lead in the second quarter.
That lead was ultimately small enough for Clemson to come back. Some questionable calls made by the officials, and the play of Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, helped the Tigers rally and take a 21-16 lead in the third quarter.
The Buckeyes then retook the lead, 23-21, in the fourth quarter, but Lawrence found Travis Etienne for a touchdown with 1:49 left to take a 29-23 lead.
Ohio State still had a chance at the end and ultimately marched down the field to Clemson’s 23-yard line. However, Fields, who had already thrown an interception in the game, which was only his second interception of the season, threw another pick with 37 seconds left. The game was over. The interception was a result of a miscommunication between Fields and Olave.
Just like that, Ohio State’s magical season was also over.
Now, though, Justin Fields can finally get his revenge.
Justin Fields can finally get his revenge on Clemson
The 2020 season has been a weird one due to COVID-19. But, despite Ohio State only playing six games, they find themselves back in a CFP semifinal against Clemson, as the two teams play on Jan. 1.
This means that Fields now has a chance to get revenge for last year’s heartbreaking loss.
“It is pretty self-explanatory that that game hurt us a lot last year,” Fields recently said, according to USA Today’s Buckeyes Wire. “So, that’s kind of been our whole motivation this whole offseason. Just getting a chance to play those guys again and getting this opportunity. Of course, we know Clemson’s a great team. They have a great coaching staff, great players. So, we’re just excited to be on this stage with them and just get another chance to play those guys.”
Fields hasn’t played as well this season compared to last season. In six games, he has thrown for 1,521 yards, 15 touchdowns, and five interceptions. He has also run for 274 yards and five touchdowns. Not playing his best, though, might actually be some divine intervention.
“For this game, I have been preparing my butt off,” Fields said, according to Buckeyes Wire “I haven’t prepared like this the whole season so maybe I played the way I did because God was just trying to tell me, for this game, that ‘You need to lock in this game, you need to prepare for the game.’”
Whether Ohio State wins or not, at least Fields has a chance to get revenge for one of the most heartbreaking losses in program history. It should be a fun game to watch.
Stats courtesy of Sports Reference