Maturing starters should help Ohio State come back in ’17

An Ohio State fan reacts during the second half of the team's Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football playoff semifinal against Clemson, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. Clemson won 31-0 to advance to the BCS championship game against Alabama. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) In the end, the Ohio State Buckeyes’ youth and inexperience was exploited by Clemson in the desert.

On the bright side, most of the team that reached the College Football Playoff with only six returning starters will be back next year, likely including quarterback J.T. Barrett.

Barrett struggled and the play-calling was suspect on Saturday night as Ohio State was routed by Deshaun Watson and Clemson 31-0. The running game was shut down, and the only reason the beating wasn’t worse was because of a tough Buckeyes defense.

Barrett said after the game it would be ”really hard” to walk away after such a loss.

The Buckeyes could be dinged by some players leaving early for the NFL again but likely will be a preseason top 5 pick and make another strong run for the playoff in 2017.

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