Orange Bowl: Tajh Boyd and Braxton Miller are set to duel in Miami

Sam Cooper

Orange Bowl
Ohio State vs. Clemson
Miami, Fla.
Jan. 3, 2014

The Orange Bowl features two teams who are very similar. Ohio State (12-1) and Clemson (10-2) both have dynamic offenses with tons of speed and bend but don’t break defenses.

The immediate draw is to the quarterback position. Braxton Miller and Tajh Boyd are two of the most athletic quarterbacks in the nation, but their skillsets differ some. Operating out of the read-option offense, Miller uses his legs a ton. With 1,033 rushing yards, Miller ranks fourth among quarterbacks in rushing yards, but he is also an improved passer and threw for 22 touchdowns on the year.

Boyd looked to run much less than he did last year, and with a threat like Sammy Watkins at wideout, it’s hard to blame him. Boyd had a big yea, throwing for 3,473 yards and 29 touchdowns. Watkins, with 85 catches, 1,237 yards and 10 touchdowns, was by far Boyd’s favorite target.

Clemson ranked 12th in the country with an average of 329.3 passing yards per game and will obviously be an extremely tough task for the Buckeyes to contain.

Miller isn’t Ohio State’s only threat for Clemson to deal with. The Buckeyes have a versatile run game with Carlos Hyde teaming up with Miller. The duo gashes defenses consistently with the read-option, but when Miller is under center, there is a high likelihood that he is handing the ball to Hyde (1,408 yards and 14 touchdowns).

Hyde is elusive for his 240-pound frame, but more often than not he’ll run downhill right through the teeth of the defense. And when Miller does look to throw, Philly Brown and Devin Smith, who combined for 18 touchdowns, are the top deep threats for OSU.

Both of these offenses can score from anywhere on the field, so these defenses will need to force turnovers to give their respective offenses extra possessions. Clemson will have to force Braxton Miller to beat them with his arm. Conversely, the Ohio State defense will need to key in on Boyd and Watkins, while limiting big plays from Clemson’s average-at-best running attack that features Roderick McDowell (956 yards, 5 TDs).

MASCOT FIGHT

A Buckeye is nothing more than a tree and from what I can gather, Brutus (OSU’s mascot) is supposed to represent a nut that grows on these trees. So let’s see, a fallen nut from a tree going up against a Tiger… Sorry OSU fans. The obvious pick is Clemson.

PREDICTIONS

Graham: Clemson 42, Ohio State 35. I haven't been impressed by the Ohio State defense all year and I don't have a lot of faith it will suddenly be amazing against one of the nation's best offenses in Clemson. Tajh Boyd will have a great game and end his career with a win over a team that was a game away from playing for the national title.

Nick: Clemson 38, Ohio State 36. This could be one of the most fun games of the bowl season. I like Chad Morris's offense against the Ohio State defense and while Braxton Miller may have a huge game, Tajh Boyd one ups him. And Urban Meyer opts for Pizza Hut this time.

Sam: Ohio State 45, Clemson 41. I have no faith that Ohio State will be able to stop Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins whatsoever, but I think it will be even harder for Clemson to stop Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde. Ohio State wants to prove that they are one of the nation's best teams, so I think they find a way to win.

- - -

Want to join the conversation? Hit us up on Twitter @YahooDrSaturday be sure to "Like" Dr. Saturday on Facebook for football conversations and stuff you won't see on the blog.