There were several factors leading into Oklahoma's bowl appearance in Orlando that gave Oklahoma fans a sense of false hope. Thinking that their team stood a fighting chance against the nation's top ranked defense, residents of the Sooner Nation went to bed in a state of complete disbelief at just how bad OU looked on the field. With hindsight being 20/20 and all, here are a few pregame myths about the game that we can now look back on and completely debunk.
The return of quarterback Trevor Knight will have an impact on Oklahoma's offense. I guess this wasn't totally false as Knight's three interceptions (one of them a pick 6) had a tremendous impact on the offense but it was in a negative way. Knight was horrendous in completing just 17 of 37 passing attempts for a measly 103 yards.
"Offensively our inability to throw the football hurt," Bob Stoops said after the game. "You can't play one-handed. I thought overall we did a really nice job of running the football, but lack of execution in the passing game was a major factor."
Given several weeks to get ready, Bob Stoops and company could scheme against anyone in the country. Nope! Not true at all. Stoops and company suffered losses to TCU and Oklahoma State coming off bye weeks during the regular season and then were blown out after a 23-day layoff leading up to the bowl game.
Things were so bad in Orlando on Monday evening that I'm not sure that anyone can definitively layout exactly what the Sooners schemed to do against the Tigers. What we do know is that Dabo Swinney had his boys ready to play and they showed up Oklahoma in every single facet of the game.
"We had great preparation," Swinney said. "We were ready from the opening kick." I sincerely do not believe that there is a single person out there that truly feels the same way about OU.
Having Cole Stoudt at quarterback for the Tigers will stall their offense. We couldn't have been more wrong here. Stoudt joins the growing list of backup quarterbacks to torch a Mike Stoops coached defense (Yes, there seriously is a pattern here and please don't make me rehash it). Stoudt was exceptional in earning game MVP honors by passing for 319 yards and three touchdowns while also running for another.
"I wouldn't say it was my redemption," Stoudt said in the postgame. "I just knew that this was my last game here and knew that I prepared to do my best. I just wanted to do it for the guys around me. That's all that really mattered was the people I played with these years."
After the fourth quarter collapse in Bedlam the Sooners would be playing for pride and with a chip on their shoulder. These guys played with the same sense of pride as a panhandler standing on the street corner just to get his beer money. Eight penalties, five turnovers, and 2-for-12 on third downs were all indicators that this team had no edge, no fight, and no motivation. All of those are products of playing without any pride and that was the sad reality of Oklahoma football on Monday night.
It didn't take long, a minute and thirty-four seconds to be exact, to see that OU was in serious trouble on Monday night. Every single factor that Oklahoma fans had held on to as a glimmer of hope and confidence was gone when Artavis Scott took a swing pass from Stoudt and outran the Sooner defense for a 65-yard score. At that point it was abundantly clear that the guys in crimson and cream were nothing more than bodies on the field and wouldn't resemble anything of an opponent to the Clemson Tigers.
Kudos to you, Clemson, for doing it the right way. Showing up ready to play, respecting your fanbase enough to give effort in allowing them to have something to cheer about.