Sometimes football is pretty simple. A team that can win in the trenches and tackle will usually find themselves on the winning side as the clock hits zero. Well the Sooners were simply outmatched in the trenches and after halftime couldn't tackle to save their lives. So the result shouldn't be surprising. It wasn't pretty but here is the defensive recap of the Sooners painstaking loss to Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
The total number of rushing yards the Sooners gave up on the ground. Both Deshaun Watson and Wayne Gallman cracked the century mark. Honestly it felt like the total was much higher than this.
The total yardage given up by the Sooners defense in the 2nd quarter. I believe this was the straw that broke the camel's back so to speak as the Sooners came out after halftime simply worn down and unable to tackle.
The total number of 1st downs given up by the Sooners. Clemson was 9-19 on 3rd down conversions and seemed to always make the big play when necessary to sustain drives.
The number of tackles the Sooners seemingly missed Thursday, especially in the 2nd half. The Sooners defense had its worst tackling performance since the Cotton Bowl.
97 and 26
Charles Walker and Jordan Evans jersey numbers. While I'm not sure it would have mattered in the end, the Sooners played the entire game without Charles Walker (concussion) and most of the game without Jordan Evans (shoulder). Clemson gashed the Sooners running away from Charles Tapper all night to the side of the line that would usually be occupied by Walker.
19 and 91
We are going to miss Eric Striker and Charles Tapper. Both have had incredible careers at OU and I will hate to see them move on to the next level.
Finally this game shows that the Sooners must continue to recruit at a higher level. They are paying for the sins of poor recruiting. Clemson has far out-recruited the Sooners and it showed tonight in a major way. Jerry Montgomery changed the mindset of the Sooners coaches and the results showed up in the class of 2015 and should show up in the class of 2016. I believe the Sooners need to close the class of 2016 with at least two linebackers and two defensive linemen listed below in order for the depth and talent to continue to build in the front 7 of the defense.