College football analyst Booger McFarland believes he has identified the key to Clemson defeating Ohio State in the Rose Bowl next month.

Stopping Trey Sermon and the Ohio State running game will be the most important factor, according to McFarland.

“I think if you’re Clemson you first have to understand how are we gonna deal with this rushing game,” McFarland said on ESPN on Saturday, via 247Sports.


Sports Betting in Big Ten Country

Sports betting in Ohio is officially launching on January 1, 2023.

Pre-registration is now open at FanDuel Ohio for an extra $100 bonus. Go pre-register now.

21+ and present in OH. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.

ESPN BET is now live in Ohio

Bet $1 on Ohio State-Minnesota, Get $250 in Bonuses. Must use promo code SATURDAY to get your $250 bonus.


That would be a good place to start given what happened in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Sermon broke Ohio State’s single-game rushing record — which was held by Eddie George — in a 22-10 victory over Northwestern. He rushed the ball 29 times for 331 yards and two touchdowns.

Sermon’s breakout game was well-timed. Quarterback Justin Fields turned in arguably the worst performance of his career, completing just 12-of-27 passes for 114 yards and two interceptions.

McFarland also questioned Fields’ health in the same segment on ESPN.

“We know Brent Venables wants to blitz, wants to bring a lot of pressure,” he said. “But if you’re Oho State and Justin Fields — the thumb might not be healthy — you’re gonna turn around and run the football. And how [is Clemson] gonna handle that?”

If Fields isn’t any better than he was vs. Northwestern, it could be a long night for the Buckeyes.

These two sides are very familiar with each other. Clemson and Ohio State met in the semifinals last year as well, with the Tigers taking home the victory after Fields threw an interception in the game’s final minutes.

Kick off for the Rose Bowl is at 8 p.m. ET on Jan. 1, 2021.