If you didn’t catch Ohio State and Clemson’s College Football Playoff game on Saturday, you didn’t miss much. Clemson completely dominated Ohio State on both sides of the football and won comfortably 31-0. It was the second of two pretty disappointing CFP matchups, with Alabama winning the first one 24-7 over Washington to set up a rematch of last year’s CFP championship game.
There was one pretty bizarre incident during the Ohio State/Clemson game that caught a lot of people off guard, though, and it took place at the end of an otherwise meaningless play in the game. After a short run by Ohio State running back Curtis Samuel in the first quarter, Clemson defensive lineman Christian Wilkins reached down while Samuel was face-down on the ground, put his hand in between his legs, and appeared to grab Samuel's butt/groin/crotch region. You can see it here:
The moment started trending on social media a few minutes later, and there were quite a few fans who took umbrage with what Wilkins did. Many called it a dirty play, while some went as far as to accuse Wilkins of sexual assault:
Wilkins apologized after the game and said he was "just being silly" on the play. His head coach Dabo Swinney also reportedly spoke with him about the incident and, while he didn’t elaborate on what he said to him, he made it seem as though he wasn’t happy with what he did. But it sounds like at least one of his teammates was just fine with it.
Clemson star linebacker Ben Boulware was asked about Wilkins’ grab while fielding questions from reporters about the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl on Wednesday, and he said that touching opposing players the way Wilkins did is something Clemson players have done "all year." He admitted that "no one has done it as aggressive as Christian did," but he also downplayed the sexual assault suggestions made by some fans and criticized anyone who was upset as a result of the play.
Here was his entire quote about the incident, as told to Sports Illustrated reporter Brian Hamilton:
We would imagine that weird stuff like this happens more often than anyone realizes at the bottom of piles on the football field. But Wilkins’ grab did seem a little excessive, regardless of what his teammate thinks. And Boulware probably, er, definitely took things one or two steps (or four fingers?!) too far in trying to explain why Wilkins did it.
At any rate, we wouldn’t expect to see Wilkins try it again. At least, not out in the open like during the Ohio State game.