Cloudy Crystal Ball: Russell Athletic Bowl

Sooners' stars return to face Clemson's dominant defense

Each week of the college football season brings its own set of crazy predictions. Some are out of this world. Some are just lazy and will definitely be achieved. We at Sooners Illustrated have our own set of weekly predictions. See what appears as we gaze into our cloudy crystal ball for Oklahoma’s matchup with Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

Trevor Knight plays his best game of the season . . . At least from an efficiency standpoint. He won’t throw for a ton of yards or touchdowns, but Knight does just enough in his return to show what could have been. He completes almost 80 percent of his passes but finishes with a higher yard-per carry average than yard-per completion. Everything looks great until the fourth quarter.

Oklahoma’s Alex Ross has a kick-off touchdown called back on a penalty . . . It comes at the worst time, too. Clemson had just scored to take a 10-point lead, and Ross answers midway through the second half. Oklahoma’s sideline looks visibly distraught. The weight of failed expectations and now a brutal penalty in a less-than-wanted bowl game is too much for the Sooners. Ross’ run back was a thing of beauty, though.

Despite being an underdog, Clemson wins by two scores . . . The Tigers’ defense is true to form and there aren’t enough answers for Oklahoma’s questions. Knight is solid but not good enough. Shepard still isn’t 100 percent for the whole game, and while he is, Clemson is able to bottle him up. Even running back Samaje Perine can’t get it going, finishing with less than 100 yards for the first time since the Sooners’ loss to Baylor. Meanwhile, Clemson doesn’t do much offensively, but turnovers make the difference early – and a big one late.

What are your predictions?

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