Saturday’s Fiesta Bowl College Football Playoff semifinal between the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes and the No. 3 Clemson Tigers had plenty of highlights, including an amazing first-half catch from Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson and then a 67-yard touchdown run from Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. But perhaps the highlight of the night came on the final drive, with the Buckeyes trailing 29-23. Justin Fields drove Ohio State down the field and had them set up for a potential game-winning touchdown, but Clemson’s Nolan Turner came up with a game-sealing interception instead:
— ESPN (@espn) December 29, 2019
As SB Nation’s Alex Kirshner noted, that’s even more remarkable given Turner’s unheralded recruiting status:
Former unranked recruit Nolan Turner gets the interception to win it for Clemson. Peak Clemson. Their no-stars play like four-stars in these moments every. single. year. Idk how they do it
— Alex Kirshner (@alex_kirshner) December 29, 2019
It was certainly a hero moment for Turner, a junior safety from Vestavia Hills, Alabama. And it marked quite the conclusion to a back-and-forth game. Ohio State led this 16-0 with 7:20 left in the second quarter and seemed in control. But that came with good Clemson red zone defense that saw the Buckeyes settling for field goals on three of four drives, and the Tigers soon fought back with touchdowns of their own from Travis Etienne and Lawrence. And while Ohio State led 16-14 at the half, Clemson was stronger in the second half.
There were moments where this still could have swung the Buckeyes’ way, including a fumble recovery for a touchdown that was overturned on review (and ruled an incomplete pass), but it went down to the wire in any case. And now, it will be the defending national champion Clemson Tigers taking on the No. 1 LSU Tigers (who beat the No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners 63-28 in the Peach Bowl semifinal earlier Saturday) for the national championship on January 13.