2018 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
College Football Playoff Semifinal
83rd Cotton Bowl Classic
1234 Total
Notre Dame 3000 3
Clemson 32070 30
DateDecember 29, 2018
StadiumAT&T Stadium
LocationArlington, Texas
MVPTrevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)
Austin Bryant (DE, Clemson)[1]
FavoriteClemson by 11.5[2]
RefereeMatt Austin (SEC)
United States TV coverage
NetworkESPN and ESPN Radio
AnnouncersSean McDonough (play-by-play) Todd Blackledge (analyst)
Holly Rowe and Tom Rinaldi (sideline) (ESPN)
Bill Rosinski, David Norrie and Ian Fitzsimmons (ESPN Radio)
Nielsen ratings10.3 (16.8 million viewers)[4]
International TV coverage
NetworkESPN Deportes
ESPN Deportes Radio
AnnouncersLalo Varela and Pablo Viruega
Cotton Bowl Classic
 < 2017 (Dec.) 2019
2 vs. 3 Seed CFP Semifinal Game
 < 2018 Rose 2019 Fiesta

The 2018 Cotton Bowl Classic was a college football bowl game played on December 29, 2018, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The 83rd Cotton Bowl Classic was a College Football Playoff semifinal, the game featured two of the four teams selected by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee—Notre Dame from the NCAA FBS independents and Clemson from the ACC. The game started slow on offense with only 2 field goals in the first quarter, the 3 points for Notre Dame were the only points they scored, as Clemson dominated all the way 30-3. They advanced to face the winner of the Orange Bowl (Alabama) to compete in the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship.[5] It was one of the 2018–19 bowl games concluding the 2018 FBS football season. Sponsored by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, the game was officially known as the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.[6]


The game featured second-ranked Clemson of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) against third-ranked Notre Dame, an FBS independent.[7] This was the first time that the two programs met in a bowl game; their more recent regular season meeting had been in 2015, won by Clemson.[7] The only prior Cotton Bowl to feature two undefeated teams had been the 1948 edition, which ended in a 13–13 tie between Penn State and SMU.[7]

Clemson Tigers

Main article: 2018 Clemson Tigers football team

Clemson defeated Pitt in the 2018 ACC Championship Game on December 1, then received their bid to the Cotton Bowl with the release of final CFP rankings on December 2.[7] The Tigers entered the bowl with a 13–0 record (8–0 in conference). On December 27, it was confirmed that three Clemson players, including starting defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, would be suspended from playing in the game by the NCAA, due to drug testing showing "trace amounts of a banned substance", which was identified as ostarine.[8]

This was Clemson's second Cotton Bowl bid in school history, following its appearance in the 1940 edition. It was also the first Cotton Bowl appearance by an active ACC member since Maryland's appearance in the 1977 edition.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Main article: 2018 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

Notre Dame received their bid to the Cotton Bowl with the release of final CFP rankings on December 2.[7] The independent Fighting Irish entered the bowl with a 12–0 record. This was Notre Dame's first Cotton Bowl berth since the 1994 edition and its eighth overall.

Game summary

Scoring summary

Scoring summary
Quarter Time Drive Team Scoring information Score
Plays Yards TOP ND CLEM
1 8:35 9 31 3:15 CLEM 40-yard field goal by Greg Huegel 0 3
1 4:31 10 66 4:04 ND 28-yard field goal by Justin Yoon 3 3
2 12:50 3 65 1:04 CLEM Justyn Ross 52-yard touchdown reception from Trevor Lawrence, Greg Huegel kick blocked 3 9
2 1:44 8 85 3:12 CLEM Justyn Ross 42-yard touchdown reception from Trevor Lawrence, Greg Huegel kick good 3 16
2 0:02 4 80 0:46 CLEM Tee Higgins 19-yard touchdown reception from Trevor Lawrence, Greg Huegel kick good 3 23
3 2:04 3 71 1:01 CLEM Travis Etienne 62-yard touchdown run, Greg Huegel kick good 3 30
"TOP" = time of possession. For other American football terms, see Glossary of American football. 3 30


1 2 3 4 Total
No. 3 Fighting Irish 3 0 0 0 3
No. 2 Tigers 3 20 7 0 30
Statistics ND CLEM
First downs 17 26
Plays–yards 69–248 78–538
Rushes–yards 35–88 37–211
Passing yards 160 327
Passing: comp–att–int 17–34–1 27–41–0
Time of possession 27:06 32:54
Team Category Player Statistics
Notre Dame Passing Ian Book 17/34, 160 yds, 1 INT
Rushing Dexter Williams 16 car, 54 yds
Receiving Miles Boykin 5 rec, 69 yds
Clemson Passing Trevor Lawrence 27/39, 327 yds, 3 TD
Rushing Travis Etienne 14 car, 109 yds, 1 TD
Receiving Justyn Ross 6 rec, 148 yds, 2 TD


  1. ^ @Shalom_Sports (December 29, 2018). "Clemson Tigers derrotó 30-3 a los Notre Dame Fighting Irish" (Tweet). Retrieved December 29, 2018 – via Twitter.
  2. ^ Fawkes, Ben (December 10, 2018). "Odds for every 2018-19 CFB bowl game". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  3. ^ @DarenStoltzfus (December 29, 2018). "72,183 the announced attendance today for the #CottonBowl" (Tweet). Retrieved December 29, 2018 – via Twitter.
  4. ^ Dosh, Kristi (December 31, 2018). "Television Ratings Down For College Football Playoff Semifinals". Forbes. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  5. ^ Stevenson, Stefan (January 2, 2018). "College Football Playoff returning to the Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  6. ^ "2018 Cotton Bowl Classic". Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. Archived from the original on August 31, 2019. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e "News Releases - Cotton Bowl Classic". Archived from the original on 2019-01-01. Retrieved 2018-12-05.
  8. ^ Hale, David M. (December 27, 2018). "Suspensions of three Clemson players upheld after B samples test positive". ESPN. Retrieved December 27, 2018.