GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Deshaun Watson ran for two touchdowns and threw another and No. 3 Clemson crushed No. 2 Ohio State 31-0 on Saturday night in the Fiesta Bowl to set up a rematch with Alabama for the College Football Playoff national championship.
Tigers coach Dabo Swinney had sold his team on making this a redemptive trip to the desert by winning at the site where they lost to Alabama in the national title game last season. With that taken care of, Clemson (13-1) now gets another crack at the top-ranked Crimson Tide in Tampa, Florida, on Jan. 9. The teams that started the season ranked Nos. 1 and 2 will most certainly ended it that way, too.
In what figures to be Watson’s final college game, he will try to lead Clemson to its first national title since 1981. The junior and Heisman Trophy runner-up passed for 259 yards and ran for 57 against the Buckeyes (11-2), who could not keep Clemson’s big and quick defensive line out of their backfield.
Freshman Clelin Ferrell had a sack among his three tackles for loss and Clemson allowed only 215 yards and nine first downs. The Buckeyes were shut out for the first time since 1993 against Michigan and Urban Meyer had one of his teams held scoreless for the first time in 194 games as a head coach.
Watson made it 24-0 with 2:06 left in the third quarter when he faked a pitch, cut through a hole and into the end zone from 7 yards out. He hopped through the back of the end zone and did a little dance in front of the Ohio State section.
The Buckeyes came in averaging 258 yards rushing per game and finished with 88. J.T. Barrett threw for 127 yards and was intercepted twice.
NO. 1 ALABAMA 24, NO. 4 WASHINGTON 7
ATLANTA (AP) - Alabama is heading back to the national championship game.
Bo Scarbrough and another stifling performance by Nick Saban’s defense made sure of that.
The top-ranked Crimson Tide scored 10 points off turnovers, including Ryan Anderson’s interception return for a touchdown late in the first half, and Scarbrough’s 68-yard TD run in the fourth quarter clinched the victory over Washington. Scarbrough finished with 180 yards and two scores.
Alabama (14-0) moves on to Tampa for a shot at its second straight title and fifth in the last eight years under Saban. No. 4 Washington (12-2) will have to settle for a remarkable turnaround season after struggling much of the last two decades.
NO. 19 LSU 29, NO. 15 LOUISVILLE 9
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Sophomore running back Derrius Guice ran for 138 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown, and caught a scoring pass to help LSU beat Louisville.
Stepping in for the departed Leonard Fournette, Guice consistently made explosive plays running, receiving and returning kickoffs for the Tigers (8-4). His performance was eclipsed only by the overpowering performance of the Tigers defense that completely shut down Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals (9-4).
Jackson was sacked eight times, including a safety for an 8-yard loss late in the second quarter. Jackson completed just 10 of 27 passes for 153 yards while leading the rushing attack with 33 yards as the Cardinals (9-4) ended their season with three straight losses.
LSU quarterback Danny Etling threw for 217 yards and two touchdowns. Malachi Dupre led LSU in receiving with seven catches for 139 yards.
GEORGIA TECH 33, KENTUCKY 18
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Dedrick Mills ran for a career-high 169 yards and a touchdown, Justin Thomas scored in his final college game and Georgia Tech beat Kentucky.
The Yellow Jackets (9-4) also got significant contributions from defense and special teams en route to their fourth consecutive victory.
Playing without running back Marcus Marshall, who decided to transfer after the regular-season finale, Tech turned to Mills. And the freshman from nearby Waycross, Georgia, delivered. He carried a career-high 31 times as the Yellow Jackets won back-to-back bowl games for the first time in more than a decade.
Senior P.J. Davis returned a fumble 38 yards for a touchdown on the game’s opening drive, a horrible start for Kentucky (7-6) in its first bowl in six years. Fellow linebacker Terrell Lewis blocked a punt late in the first half that set up a 52-yard field goal.
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