The beleaguered Sooners couldn’t even put up a fight in the Russell Athletic Bowl this year, going down 40 points to 6 in a disappointing end to the season. The game, which took place on Dec 29, 2014, showed Clemson setting the tone from the beginning. On their very first snap, the Tigers set up a long bomb from substitute QB Cole Stoudt to Artavis Scott for a 65 pass. Touchdown. The game was pretty devastating for the Sooners, as well as fans who took a risk and ended up betting on Oklahoma Sooners football in hopes they would pull off something great. This was not the finest day for Oklahoma college football.
It was all downhill from there. The Sooners got nowhere after getting the ball back following the touchdown, and the Tigers managed a field goal to take their lead to 10-0. To close out the first quarter, OU quarterback Trevor Knight had a pass intercepted by Ben Boulware, who brought it all the way in for another touchdown. That left the score at the end of the first quarter 17-0 in favor of the Tigers.
The rest of the game proceed likewise. The Tigers were up 27-0 at halftime and 40-0 after the end of the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, the Sooners finally eked out a touchdown on a long drive that ended in a scoring run by Alex Ross. However, the Tigers were able to block the extra-point kick, which summed up the whole game in a nutshell.
The performance of the quarterbacks tells the whole story. Despite being a substitute for an injured Deshaun Watson, Tigers QB Cole Stoudt put up 319 passing yards, with 26 completions out of 36 attempts and no interceptions. On the other hand, the OU quarterback Trevor Knight only managed 17 completions on 37 attempts for a total of 103 yards, and he threw three interceptions.
During the entire game, the Sooners were unable to put together a convincing drive on offense and had five turnovers, while only getting two third down conversions. Their defense was unable to stop Stoudt’s passes, although the Tigers did not get much off in the way of running plays. The Tiger defense had little work to do, as the Sooners failed to make a first down on almost all of their possessions.
The flow of the game was that the Tigers would score, then the Sooners would try for a drive but get stopped and have to punt the ball, and then the Tigers would score again, either a touchdown or a field goal. The Sooners were simply incapable of putting up a fight. The game looked more lopsided than a 34-point margin of victory, and it is telling that the bowl nearly ended in a shutout.
The Sooners finished the season with eight wins, during a year when most expected them to win significantly more. After winning their first four, they proceeded to go 4-5 in the rest of the season with the loss at the Russell Athletic Bowl the dismal knockout blow to send them home. Clemson, finishing 10-3, overcame an injury to a star QB to end with a bowl game win in the last game the winning quarterback, Stoudt, will ever play for his school- he graduates in the spring.