This story is the last of 10 that comes from the print edition of Buckeye Sports Bulletin, where the staff selected the 10 best plays from the 2020 football season.
In eight games, Justin Fields finished his junior season completing 70.2 percent of his passes for 2,100 yards and 22 touchdowns to six interceptions, but none of his throws may have been more impressive, or more important, than this backbreaker against Clemson to help secure a trip to the national championship.
The Tigers had just cut the deficit to 14 points, 35-21, with a nine-play, 80-yard drive in the third quarter. Although Ohio State still had a two-score lead, the game was far from locked up.
Starting their drive at their own 9-yard line, the Buckeyes earned a pair of first downs up to their 44, and after a rush for no gain by freshman running back Miyan Williams, Fields took a shot downfield.
That shot ended with a 56-yard bomb to junior wide receiver Chris Olave, perfectly in stride over two defenders to give the Buckeyes a 42-21 lead that would not be tested for the rest of the game.
After an offseason thinking about the final offensive play of the 2019 season – the interception by Clemson’s Nolan Turner to seal the 29-23 win thanks to a miscommunication between Fields and Olave – this deep touchdown grab over, of all people, Turner, signified everything the pair had worked on to take down the Tigers in 2020.
“That game didn’t sit well with him, the way he came off that field,” head coach Ryan Day said of Olave. “You know, how many times did he have to watch that play – he and Justin watch that play over and over again, the kid Turner getting the pick at the end of the game? It just made them sick. They’re such great competitors that they were hungry. They wanted to come back and win.”
Fields finished with 385 passing yards and six touchdowns, and Olave, his primary target, finished the game with six catches for 132 yards and two scores, and was a key contributor in taking down Clemson for the first time in program history.
The win over Clemson was the high point of a chaotic 2020 season for Ohio State, and the absolute bomb by Fields to Olave to lock up that win was the top moment, from any game Ohio State played, of the year.
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