- Clemson meets Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday evening (8:00 PM ET, Dec. 28th)
- Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields has been wearing a bulky knee brace in practice and confirmed he will not be 100% for the game
- The Tigers will have tight end Braden Galloway back in the lineup after a one-year suspension for a failed drug test
Clemson and Ohio State will meet in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday night (8:00 PM ET, Dec. 28th) and one question looms large over the game: how healthy is Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields?
The Clemson vs Ohio State odds didn’t move after Fields gave a detailed update over his lingering knee injury. The Tigers continue to sit as two-point favorites across the board, with the game total holding steady at 63.
Clemson vs Ohio State Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Total at Bovada|
|#3 Clemson Tigers||-2 (-115)||-125||O 63 (-110)|
|#2 Ohio State Buckeyes||+2 (-105)||+105||U 63 (-110)|
*Odds as of Dec. 27th.
The fact that the odds haven’t budged doesn’t mean bettors should dismiss the news on Fields.
On the Clemson side, tight end Braden Galloway will be eligible to play. a suspension update from defending champion Clemson
Justin Fields Won’t Be 100% for Fiesta Bowl
Teams usually keep injury updates in house but Fields was fairly detailed, telling reporters this week that his knee is only 80-85% and it’s “probably not where he wants it to be right now”. When pressed further he added, “I just can’t really move like I want it to”.
In addition to his 40 touchdown passes, Fields had 10 more rushing to go with 471 yards. The issue? He ran 12 times for only one yard while wearing a knee brace against Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game.
Justin Fields practicing with his knee brace on. pic.twitter.com/jrBGCccJFN
— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 24, 2019
If Fields isn’t able to scramble and keep the defense honest, can the Buckeyes still upend undefeated Clemson? It’ll certainly be a tougher task but there is a big thing to consider here. The line has not moved at all. An early shift the day the line was posted saw the game go from a pick’em to Clemson -2, and that’s exactly where the number has stayed.
Can J.K. Dobbins Pick Up the Slack?
Part of the reason oddsmakers have been shy to move the line is Doak Walker nominee J.K. Dobbins. He has been electric all year, running for 1,829 yards and 20 touchdowns, and has been particularly great the last three weeks.
The Buckeyes enter the CFP having won three straight games against top-10 opponents. Dobbins ran for 157 yards and two touchdowns against Penn State, followed that up with 211 yards and four touchdowns versus Michigan, and then tacked on 172 yards and another touchdown against Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game.
J.K. Dobbins on his attitude this season:
"Angry. I feel like I was doubted a lot this year and I feel like I have a lot to prove. A lot of people didn’t think I was a good running back and thought I was average. I don’t like being considered average."#GoBucks pic.twitter.com/vdguXsVFPd
— Ohio State Buckeyes (@OhioStAthletics) December 26, 2019
Clemson has a formidable defense but the one (relative) soft spot is against the run. When they were pushed to the brink by North Carolina earlier this year (a 21-20 win in Chapel Hill), the Tar Heels put up 145 yards on the ground at 4.5 yards per carry. Dobbins will need to carry the ball early and often to make up for any limitation with Fields.
Braden Galloway Returns From One-Year Suspension
The return of Braden Galloway may not have altered the 2020 National Championship odds but it’s a boost for Clemson at the tight end position. The sophomore was suspended for one year after failing a drug test last season, meaning he will be making his season debut in the Fiesta Bowl.
Galloway had five catches and a touchdown as a freshman but was expected to have a bigger role this year before the suspension.
Deal with the cards you're dealt & make the best out of them, everything happens for a reason so never question God. I WILL be a better person and player because of my situation. My story is just beginning… #CUinJanuary ✌🏽
— Braden Galloway (@GallowayBraden) July 31, 2019
Galloway is 6’4 and 240 pounds and will give Trevor Lawrence another target in the red zone. He spent the entire year on the scout team so there shouldn’t be any snap-count limit on the big body from Anderson, South Carolina.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.