After a brilliant night, Braxton Miller’s night ended with a sack, a fumble and an interception.
The Ohio State quarterback had passed for two touchdowns and run for two more, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Clemson Tigers.
No. 12 Clemson, with its own prolific quarterback in Tajh Boyd and a dynamic receiver in Sammy Watkins, upset No. 7 Ohio State 40-35 on Friday night in the annual Orange Bowl Classic at Sun Life Stadium.
Clemson improved to 11-2 for the second consecutive season, which is the most wins in any two-year period in school history. Ohio State fell to 12-2.
The winning touchdown was a 5-yard pass from Boyd to tight end Stanton Beckinger with 6:16 left in the fourth quarter. The two-point conversion pass failed.
Ohio State went up 35-34 on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Miller to Carlos Hyde. Miller took a hit on the play and was removed from the game. Backup quarterback Kenny Guiton threw an incomplete pass on the try for a two-point conversion.
Miller later returned and was sacked — with a fumble — and intercepted on Ohio State’s final two drives.
Early on, Ohio State had tied the score at 7 on Miller’s 33-yard touchdown run around the left end. That capped a 13-play, 75-yard drive that took 7:06 off the clock and featured a key penalty and a fake punt.
Clemson had sacked Miller and seemingly forced a punt on fourth-and-23. But defensive end Vic Beasley, who got the sack and made a gesture that appeared to suggest he had a Superman outfit on underneath, was whistled for an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty.
That gave Ohio State a first down. Later in the drive, faced with a fourth-and-2 at the Clemson 49, up-back Jeff Heuerman took the punt snap and ran 6 yards for another first down, which led to Miller’s score.
After trailing 20-9, Ohio State rallied when Miller executed a great fake handoff that created a huge hole downfield for Heuerman. The result was a 57-yard touchdown pass, capping a five-play, 85-yard drive. The extra point was blocked.
The Buckeyes went into halftime leading 22-20 when Miller scored on a 3-yard run up the middle with 12 seconds left in the second quarter. Again, it was a faked handoff that created an opening.
Miller finished with 16 completions in 24 attempts for 234 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran for 35 yards.
Bosa’s big game
Former Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas defensive end Joey Bosa, a freshman starter for Ohio State, had a strong effort.
In the first quarter, Bosa put Boyd on his back. Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, Boyd got rid of the ball in time and delivered a 34-yard touchdown strike to Watkins.
With 2:25 left in the first quarter, Bosa again pressured Boyd and got credit for a safety when the Clemson quarterback was flagged for intentional grounding while in the end zone.
Bosa then left the game for several minutes because of an apparent ankle injury, but returned and got a sack early in the third quarter.