NEW ORLEANS — Justin Fields threw six touchdown passes to outshine Trevor Lawrence and No. 3 Ohio State avenged last season's painful College Football Playoff loss to Clemson with a 49-28 victory in the Sugar Bowl semifinal.
The Buckeyes (7-0) head to the College Football Playoff National Championship game for the first time since the inaugural playoff to face No. 1 Alabama on Jan. 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in South Florida.
Ohio State beat the Crimson Tide in the semifinals on the way to the 2014 national championship and will now have to go through mighty 'Bama.
Lawrence is the presumptive No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, but Fields outplayed him on Friday night, going 22 for 28 for 385 yards and setting a Sugar Bowl record for touchdown passes.
Clemson starting middle linebacker James Skalski was ejected for a tackle that knocked Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields out of the game for one play.
Officials concluded that Skalski committed targeting by leading with the crown of his helmet when he hit Fields in the ribs in the second quarter.
Fields remained down for a couple minutes before walking to the sideline.
The personal foul put the Buckeyes on the Clemson 9-yard line. Fields returned two plays later to hit Chris Olave for a 9-yard touchdown to give the Buckeyes a 28-14 lead.
A stellar Clemson career for Lawrence likely has ended with a loss in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for a second straight season.
The Heisman Trophy finalist has lost just twice in 36 career starts. The first came in last season's national championship game against LSU in New Orleans.
Lawrence passed for two touchdowns and ran for a score. But he also turned the ball over on a fumble and interception.