Each and every game comes down to a few key plays. The benefactors often ride the momentum to a victory while the other simply cannot overcome a mistake. That will likely be the case once again as the Oklahoma Sooners take on the Clemson Tigers during the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando. Here are three Sooners' keys to victory
Keys To Victory
Run The Ball Successfully
All year long, Oklahoma Sooner fans have talked about the size and experience along the offense line. Heading into the Russell Athletic Bowl, time has once again come for this group to put up a dominant performance. With a talent like Samaje Perine in the backfield, the potential for success remains a constant. Against a Clemson Tiger defense surrendering 97.67 yards per game on the ground, the entire rushing attack hinges up great execution. Oklahoma looks to hit their average of 268.58 rushing yards per contest in order to chew up clock and control the pace of game. Hopefully, early successes turn into confidence allowing the Sooners to pick up the tough yardage to keep the chains moving...which brings me to the second key to victory.
Convert 3rd Down
Throughout the season, OU has struggled to convert crucial third down opportunities to sustain lasting drives. Instead, fans witnessed punt after punt, handing the opposing squad yet another opportunity to even the score or take the lead late in the game. Possessing one of the nation's best statistical defenses, Clemson has recorded 44 sacks and 122 tackles for loss. Not only will Oklahoma need to focus on keeping the quarterback upright, the offensive line will be expected to hold their own to opening up running lanes and passing lanes. If the Crimson & Cream fails to win on first and second down, the Tigers could create havoc and turnovers with their speed and athleticism by putting OU in third and long situations. Needless to say, as the game clock winds down the Sooner coaching staff must find a way to run the clock out and it starts with converting those crucial third downs...assuming they have the lead.
Win The Turnover Battle
A quick look at the stat sheets says Oklahoma's turnover margin currently sits at 0 (19 turnovers created and 19 turnovers lost) not that Clemson has fared much better with a margin of +1 (19 turnovers created and 18 turnovers lost). However, a defensive score could legitimately swing an entire portion of momentum one way of the other for the remainder of play. Unfortunately, the Sooners seem to turn the ball over at the least ideal time...on or near the goal line. On Monday evening, OU needs to hold their own hoping to find a way to create turnovers and while protecting the ball if the hope is to hoist a trophy when it's all said and done.
There you have it folks! Of course, some of you may have far better ideas than what I have list. If that's the case, please leave your keys to game in the comments section below.