What you missed for Dec. 30
The Buckeyes' 2019 season domination came to an end in the most heartbreaking way on Saturday night in the College Football Playoff Semifinal against the Clemson Tigers at the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona. After blowing an early lead, the team rallied to regain it in the fourth quarter. But with about three minutes left, Clemson's Trevor Lawrence led the Tigers on a touchdown drive, leaving the Buckeyes just under two minutes (and two timeouts) to answer. And it looked like they might do just that.
With less than a minute to go, Buckeye QB Justin Fields took a shot at the endzone, aiming for his favorite receiver, Chris Olave. The two players had what seemed to be a telepathic connection all season long, linking up for crucial plays at crucial times. This time, though, a link in the chain between QB and receiver broke. Olave veered left and Fields threw right, where a Clemson defender intercepted the pass, ending the game and the Buckeyes' hopes of a National Championship. It was first-year head coach Ryan Day's only loss.
The other story line of the game: officiating. A controversial targeting call against Ohio State in the first half led to the ejection of cornerback Shaun Wade, and, later, a fumble recovery and touchdown by safety Jordan Fuller was overturned after a replay review (officials said Lawrence's initial pass to receiver Justyn Ross was incomplete). Needless to say, Buckeye fans were not happy with the calls — including AD Gene Smith, who reportedly told a Yahoo Sports reporter he was "pissed" with the Fiesta Bowl officiating.
Replays and overturned calls aside, the mistakes made by the Buckeyes were arguably just as damning, particularly settling for field goals over TDs in the red zone three times in the first quarter, and a roughing-the-punter penalty that led to a Clemson touchdown drive.
But! At least we have the No. 2 men's OSU basketball team! Oh, wait... they lost, too. No. 22 West Virginia beat the Buckeyes 67-59.
Also the Browns lost to the Bengals, which was presumably the nail in the coffin for firing head coach Freddie Kitchens.
In yet another disturbing example of domestic terrorism, a man wielding a machete burst into the home of a rabbi in a Hasidic community in the suburbs of New York on Saturday night, injuring five. This comes just weeks after an anti-Semitic mass shooting at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, New Jersey.
On Sunday morning, a man opened fire with a shotgun in a church near Fort Worth, Texas, killing two. Church security members fatally shot the gunman.