Clemson 40, Ohio State 35
MIAMI — Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins put Clemson’s embarrassment of the 2012 Orange Bowl behind it with record-setting performances at Sun Life Stadium on Friday.
Boyd accounted for six touchdowns and 499 yards of offense and Watkins caught 16 passes for 227 yards and two scores as the 12th-ranked Tigers vanquished No. 7 Ohio State, 40-35, in an Orange Bowl shootout of epic proportions.
In a game that featured over 1,000 yards of offense, it was the defense that provided the difference in the closing sequence, as Clemson forced Braxton Miller into two turnovers in the final 3:12 to secure the program’s first BCS bowl victory.
Two years ago, the Tigers (11-2) were involved in a 70-33 beatdown at the hands of West Virginia on this same field, but a Stephone Anthony interception in Clemson territory with 1:18 remaining put that forgettable memory in the rearview mirror.
Miller suffered through several big hits throughout the game but still accounted for four touchdowns, two through the air and two on the ground. The junior quarterback finished with 246 yards on 18-of-26 passing but threw two interceptions.
The loss was the first for Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer in five BCS bowl appearances and denied Ohio State (12-2), which was one win away from playing in the national title game, from a record-setting sixth BCS victory.
Missouri 41, Oklahoma State 31
ARLINGTON, Texas — The fourth quarter of the Cotton Bowl began with an offensive explosion that featured a game-record 41 points, but the final outcome was decided by a defensive play.
Shane Ray returned a fumble 73 yards for a game-clinching score and No. 9 Missouri defeated No. 13 Oklahoma State, 41-31, in the matchup between former Big 12 rivals.
After Missouri’s Henry Josey ran for a go-ahead 16-yard score with 3:08 left, Clint Chelf moved Oklahoma State to the Missouri 23 on the Cowboys’ ensuing touch.
Faced with a 3rd-and-7, though, SEC Defensive Player of the Year Michael Sam fired off the ball and flew around tackle Chris Grisbhy before strip-sacking Chelf from behind.
Ray then scooped up the loose ball and went the other way to help SEC East- champion Missouri (12-2) match its school record for wins.
The triumph also gave head coach Gary Pinkel his school-record 102nd victory.