|2018 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic|
|College Football Playoff Semifinal|
83rd Cotton Bowl Classic
|Date||December 29, 2018|
|MVP||Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)|
Austin Bryant (DE, Clemson)
|Favorite||Clemson by 11.5|
|Referee||Matt Austin (SEC)|
|United States TV coverage|
|Network||ESPN and ESPN Radio|
|Announcers||Sean McDonough (play-by-play) Todd Blackledge (analyst)|
Holly Rowe and Tom Rinaldi (sideline) (ESPN)
Bill Rosinski, David Norrie and Ian Fitzsimmons (ESPN Radio)
|Nielsen ratings||10.3 (16.8 million viewers)|
|International TV coverage|
ESPN Deportes Radio
|Announcers||Lalo Varela and Pablo Viruega|
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. 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.
The game featured second-ranked Clemson of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) against third-ranked Notre Dame, an FBS independent. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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. 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.
|No. 3 Fighting Irish||3||0||0||0||3|
|No. 2 Tigers||3||20||7||0||30|
|Time of possession||27:06||32:54|
|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|