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The key to the Ohio State-Clemson game? Pressure.

Our podcast takes a closer look at the Xs and Os of the game.

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Discover Orange Bowl - Clemson v Ohio State Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

One of the biggest question marks for Ohio State coming into the season was its new-look offensive line. With three new starters —including true freshman Michael Jordan— could the Buckeyes front provide the consistency that’s helped define Ohio State’s offense since Urban Meyer’s arrival?

To start with the good, the Buckeyes are proficient as ever on the ground. They rank 2nd nationally in Rushing S&P+, pushing around defensive lines (1st in Adjusted Line Yards and Power Success Rate), giving runners room to work with (2nd in Opportunity Rate), while keeping defenders out of the backfield (3rd in Stuff Rate). Basically, they’ve done everything on the ground you’ve come to expect from each previous iteration of ‘The Slobs.’ The same can’t be said for their work in pass protection.

The group ranks a less than stellar 79th in adjusted sack rate, and against the three best defenses they played this season —Wisconsin, Penn State, and Michigan— gave up a combined 16 sacks. That type of play probably won’t cut it against a Clemson defense that is very good at getting to the quarterback.

On this week’s Hangout in the Holy land, Matt Brown and Colton Denning discuss why keeping Clemson’s talented front seven away from J.T. Barrett holds the key to Ohio State’s offensive success in this year’s Fiesta Bowl, as well as other topics, including:

  • Their thoughts on Championship Weekend, the committee’s playoff picks, and why they think the right four teams are in
  • Whether Penn State fans were right to be upset about being left out
  • Why generating pressure on Deshaun Watson will be just as important as keeping Barrett upright
  • Going over each bowl game involving a Big Ten team, and whether or not you should watch (Hint: Don’t watch Iowa-Florida)

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