The rematch is set.
No. 2 Clemson easily handled No. 3 Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl 31-0 to set up another showdown with No. 1 Alabama in the College Football Playoff national title game Jan. 9.
Clemson (13-1) quarterback Deshaun Waston overcame two interceptions to complete 23 of 36 passes for 259 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 57 yards and a pair of scores.
"We got the best player in the country in No. 4," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said after the game. "He showed that again tonight."
The Tigers defense held the Buckeyes (11-2) to just 215 yards of total offense, sacked J.T. Barrett three times and forced two turnovers.
Ohio State’s offense simply couldn't stay on the field as it converted just three of 14 third-downs and held possession for 24 minutes.
Play of the game
Clemson running back C.J. Fuller sprinted out of the backfield on the wheel route and made a spectacular catch through contact for a 30-yard touchdown.
The Clemson defense harassed Barrett from start to finish, but Carlos Watkins was the only Tiger to get to him twice. His second sack of the night gave him 10.5 on the year to set a new school record for a defensive tackle.
"It was a total team effort," Swinney said. "When you get to this stage it’s talent, plus teamwork, plus intelligence. Outside of a couple spots we played smart all night. We were physical in the trenches and played unbelievable defense."
What it means
Now the Tigers have eight days to prepare for the top-ranked, undefeated Crimson Tide.
The Clemson offense is largely in tact from the team that gave Alabama everything it could handle in a tense 45-40 Tide win last season.
Much of the talk leading up to the rematch will center around how well Watson can manage the historically dominant front seven of the Alabama defense, but judging from how both teams played Saturday, Alabama freshman Jalen Hurts may have a tougher task in taking on a Clemson defense that blanked the Buckeyes.
"We’re excited. This is how we ended last year and how it’s going to end this year," said Swinney, a former Alabama player and assistant coach. "Obviously I have a lot of respect for Alabama — I spent a lot of time there. They are who they are because they’ve been the best. They’ve been the standard...
"We know the challenge we have. Eventually, if you’re going to be the best you gotta beat them. We’re glad to have a shot — that’s all you can ask for."
College football fans are likely in for another classic.