• The Road Warrior Report - December 31, 2015 - Orange Bowl Travelogue #4 - Clemson Review

      MIAMI GARDENS, FL – Say what you want about anything that happened tonight at the Orange Bowl, but in the end, the better team won, simple as that. Doesn’t mean you have to like it – we don’t. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be disappointed – we are. But it’s the truth. Sometimes the other guy is just better than you, at least on that particular day, and that’s what happened today as the Sooners fell 37-17 to Clemson to end their season. No shame in that, and nothing to agonize over. Sometimes the other guy is just better than you.

      Don’t let what happened tonight ruin the season for you. If you’re honest, if we had told you before the season started that it would end up 11-2 with a playoff appearance, you’d have taken it in a second, right before you had us committed to a mental hospital. You didn’t expect this any more than we did. But it was a great season by any measure, and the way it ended shouldn’t take anything away from that.

      After the first two possessions, things looked pretty good. OU scored on its first possession, and Clemson was forced to punt. Unfortunately, that was the last time they would punt until things were fairly bleak for the Sooners. In the meantime, the Clemson defensive front shut down the Sooner running game, and the Sooner defense simply could not stop the Clemson running game. That was really the story of the game.

      The Sooners actually led at the half, 17-16, after Zack Sanchez picked off Deshaun Watson in the end zone in the final minute. The Sooner defense had let Clemson run up and down the field, but had managed to force field goals instead of touchdowns, or it would already have been ugly by halftime.

      The third quarter was where this one was decided. Clemson marched for a 75-yard TD drive on the opening possession of the second half, and never looked back. Another TD before the end of the quarter put the Sooners on the ropes, and a third early in the fourth quarter finished the job.

      By the fourth quarter, there weren’t really enough Sooners left to put up a fight anyway. Charles Walker got a concussion in practice and didn’t play at all. Jordan Evans went out early with an injury, and those two guys’ absences in the middle just killed the Sooners all night. Samaje Perine hurt an ankle, came back in, then hurt it again and was out for the night. Joe Mixon got knocked in the head and concussed. Baker Mayfield got concussed making a tackle on a fourth-quarter pick. It was just not a good night.

      It had nothing to do with the outcome of the game, but the officiating in this one was horrible. Inconsistent calls on pass interference, with borderline calls going to Clemson and not the other way. Sooners getting called for unsportsmanlike penalties and Clemson players doing the same thing and not getting flags. A Sooner defender getting his helmet flat pulled off by a Clemson player – and having to leave the game for a play with no penalty going the other way. We’d almost have rather had Alan Eck’s horrible Big 12 crew than the Big 10 refs that did this game.

      But, in the end, as we said before, the better team won, and we have no problem with that. This team’s potential for 2016 is through the roof, and we can’t wait for them to get back on the field. Indeed, the most disappointing thing about tonight’s loss was that we will not get to see this team play a game a week from Monday. Instead, we will have to wait a very long 247 days until the 2016 Sooners kick off the season against Houston in NRG Stadium. And we will be there for game 314 in a row. And you should, too.

      In the meantime, Lon Kruger’s Sooners are going to make a run at a couple of championships of their own, and we’ll be there for that. And you should, too.

      BOOMER SOONER and HAPPY NEW YEAR from Miami, as we sign off for 2015.
      Comments 1 Comment
      1. rock on sooner's Avatar
        rock on sooner -
        Great wrap up...100% agree about the officiating AND the OUtlook for next year!
        OUr schedule next year is a toughie. Thankfully, Sooners rOUndball is on TV a lot
        so I can follow.....Boomer!
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