The Clemson defense had no answer for the Ohio State offense and that was by design.
Justin Fields threw six touchdowns and Ohio State racked up more than 600 yards in their 49-28 Sugar Bowl win over Clemson as the Tigers had no answer for the Buckeyes offense.
Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables is one of the best in the nation at his job but the Tigers defense couldn’t slow the Buckeyes passing game and contain Fields and running back Trey Sermon.
One year after beating Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, the Clemson defense didn’t have the same success but as Fields explained in the post-game on ESPN, it’s a simple reason for that.
Justin Fields didn’t let Clemson steal Ohio State’s signs
He didn’t give Clemson a chance to steal their signals.
Earlier in the week, Ryan Day hinted at Clemson’s ability to know what the opponent was running to which social media took as an accusation of stealing signs.
With Ohio State running more tempo and a little bit of a sugar huddle, it was by design to guard against Clemson getting an advantage.
“Yeah, we just didn’t want them stealing our signals,” Fields said on ESPN. “And that’s pretty much why we huddled up a little bit more than we usually do.”
Stealing signs in football is an old practice, which is why you’ll often see coaches holding up towels or elaborate poster board with intricate messaging and coding in an effort to throw the opponent off the scent.
It’s not cheating.
Whatever Ohio State did on Friday in the Sugar Bowl, it certainly worked, and I’d expect that to continue in the National Championship Game vs. Alabama and Nick Saban, a noted defensive genius in his own right.