Following a 2014 offseason inflated by expectations following a Sugar Bowl win, Oklahoma now faces a 2015 offseason attempting to rinse the putrid taste of a disappointing season out of its mouth.
The Sooners were demolished in the Russell Athletic Bowl by Clemson on Monday night, as the Tigers raced out to a 27-0 halftime lead en route to a 40-6 win as the Sooners fell to 8-5.
If Oklahoma needed a sign that things were going to go poorly against the Tigers, there were plenty of them. But we'll focus on the flashing yellow light that was the Tigers' first play of the game. After Oklahoma went three-and-out on its first drive, Clemson QB Cole Stoudt hit WR Artavious Scott on a screen pass that went for a 65-yard touchdown.
On Clemson's second possession, the Tigers missed a field goal. But Oklahoma was offsides on the play. Clemson got to rekick. It was good. The rout was on and it was so bad that it caused the Oklahoma County Sheriff to tweet this as a warning for Oklahoma fans not to drink and drive.
— Oklahoma Co. Sheriff (@OkCountySheriff) December 30, 2014
It was a fantastic ending for Stoudt, who struggled with a shoulder injury and some unimpressive play this season. He threw for 306 yards and three touchdowns and added another score on the ground. Save for a game against FCS team South Carolina State in the second game of the season, it was Stoudt's only 300-yard passing performance of the season as Clemson secured its third-straight 10-win season.
Oklahoma's Trevor Knight, who sparkled in the Sugar Bowl win over Alabama, struggled on Monday. Knight was 17-36 passing for 103 yards and threw three interceptions. It didn't help that in his first game action since returning from a neck injury against Baylor in November his offensive line was instantly sliced through by Clemson's tenacious front four.
Off the heels of that Alabama upset, Oklahoma was considered by many to be a top-five team in 2014 and a serious contender for the College Football Playoff. After losing a tough game to TCU on the road, The Sooners went 4-3 to finish the regular season. All three of the losses were at home.
#OU is going to end the season 8-5 and was favored in every game, including tonight.
— John Shinn (@john_shinn) December 30, 2014
While Monday's loss to Clemson has a lot of similarities to the one that Barry Switzer suffered 26 years ago in his final game at Oklahoma, don't expect coach Bob Stoops to find the same fate. But expectations or no expectations, 8-5 seasons don't sit well in Norman. And based off how the 2014 Big 12 season played out, it'll be harder than ever to get back to the top of the conference.
For more Clemson news, visit TigerIllustrated.com.
For more Oklahoma news, visit SoonerScoop.com.
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