Ohio State started the second half with a healthy dose of Carlos Hyde, calling his number for four plays in a row, but when Braxton Miller kept the ball on a read option on 3rd and short, he was swallowed up behind the line, forcing a punt, giving the Tigers the ball back at their own 12.
The Tigers had no trouble moving the football again, with CJ Davidson picking up 16, and Sammy Watkins nearly took a screen all the way to the end zone, but stepped out of bounds after a 12 yard gain. Davidson botched a handoff near midfield, and Boyd was sacked, setting up a huge 3rd and 19. Boyd's bomb fell incomplete, and in a rare sequence, both teams punted back to back.
Ohio State stormed right back, with another healthy diet of Hyde and Miller rushes, to move the chains near midfield, and then a play action strike to Philly Brown drew a pass interference penalty, moving into Clemson territory. Ohio State lined up for a 4th and inches at the Clemson 32, and Hyde burst through the line, taking it all the way inside the two. Hyde jumped over the pile on the next play, pushing Ohio State's margin to 29-20.
The Buckeyes looked to have all the momentum in the world, but a muffed punt by Ohio State receiver Corey Brown, who almost without question should've simply fair caught the punt, gave Clemson new life. With some more controversial officiating (Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was particularly incensed about the absence of a late hit call on Buckeyes LB Ryan Shazier) and Ohio State's D on the verge of containing Boyd and the Clemson O, the QB threw a bomb to Watkins who went up at the peak of the arc and brought the ball down for 6 in a tremendous throw-and-catch.
Ohio State's next drive presented the opportunity for the Buckeyes to answer, but with the offensive line once again experiencing issues, Miller threw an immediately regrettable pass which was intercepted by the Tigers' Jayron Kerse. Clemson immediately got back to business and the shaky OSU defense was immediately on their heals.
With the Tigers on the precipice of scoring, Watkins limped off with an undisclosed ailment. Though that certainly could've taken the steam out of the O, Boyd hurried the team back to the line and after a short gain on a rush, threw a pass to Martavis Bryant who made a circus catch to Clemson back on top.