There were so many questions coming into this game: starting at quarterback with Cole Stoudt and ending with a pair of new play callers in Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott. And every single one of them were answered. Cole Stoudt claimed MVP honors by completing 26-of-36 passes for over 300 yards, three touchdowns and most importantly no interceptions. The play calling was spectacular as well, as everything dialed up by Clemson's young guns worked to near perfection. It was also the Artavis Scott and Mike Williams show as both receivers went over 100 yards and scored a touchdown. The offensive line did yield four sacks in the first half, but even then the score was 27-0 at halftime. What more could you ask for? How about Stoudt's legacy for starters. The senior quarterback played most of the season with an injured left shoulder and didn't have the kind of year he dreamed of back in the summer, but his performance tonight will be one that is celebrated for years to come. He made great decisions, tremendous throws and his overall production was off the charts. Congratulations to Cole Stoudt, Jeff Scott, Tony Elliott and to the entire Clemson offense for a magnificent evening of football.
What a night this must be for Brent Venables. Clemson's defensive play caller downplayed facing his old team for nearly a month, but it had to be a special feeling to put together this kind of performance against his old boss Bob Stoops. Venables had his unit ready to play from the very first snap and there was never any letup. The Sooners were able to muster 275 yards of total offense, but more than 100 of those yards came in the fourth quarter when Dabo Swinney had already pulled his seniors out of the game. Ben Boulware got the party started with a 47 yard interception return for a touchdown while Korrin Wiggins and T.J. Green also brought in two more picks. Vic Beasley was Vic Beasley, recording a first-quarter sack to help set the tone as Oklahoma was out of sync literally all night long. Grady Jarrett destroyed the line of scrimmage like he did his entire career in Tigertown at defensive tackle and will be missed in the years to come, but as expected, he and the rest of Clemson's seniors went out with a bang.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
Ammon Lakip had a field goal blocked and also missed a PAT, but outside of that, Clemson's special teams were solid. Lakip booted a career-long 49 yard field goal and even had a nice pooch punt late in the game as well. Bradley Pinion averaged over 43 yards per punt and routinely made the Sooners drive the length of the field to get into scoring position.
Dabo had 'em ready to play. Jeff Scott and Tony Elliott called a beautiful game on offense and Brent Venables dialed up the pressure early and often on defense. In fact, at times, you almost felt like he was calling plays with the Oklahoma offensive playbook in his hand. Finally, it seems like we've written this a lot in recent years, but this was one of the finer performances of the Swinney era. To have two new play callers running the show, without your star quarterback to work with and put together this kind of beat down on national television... well, it's sensational. This staff did a remarkable job to close the season with two strong wins that will be talked about for a long time.
To add this bowl win in with victories over LSU and Ohio State the last two seasons is special. Very special. For so many years, so many Clemson fans have longed for postseason wins that take them back to the 1980's when this kind of thing was the norm- and now they have it. The job Dabo Swinney has done with this program is nothing short of remarkable. Recruiting is at its highest level in school history. More facilities are on the way. And most importantly, the wins are coming in bunches. The future looks very bright as quarterback Deshaun Watson is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate next season and the schedule is semi-favorable. Sure, there will be some holes to fill on defense but there is enough talent returning there and on offense to keep this team in contention for its first-ever berth in the College Football Playoff. With another 10-win season in the books, the sky is the limit for Dabo's Tigers, and Monday's win over Oklahoma is just another step in the right direction.
GRADES: Clemson bowls over Oklahoma
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