Clemson’s Orange Bowl showdown with Oklahoma has a ticket to the College Football Playoff championship game on the line.
It’s the second straight year the two meet in a bowl and, obviously, the stakes are much higher than last year’s 40-6 whipping Clemson handed the Sooners at the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando.
FIRST QUARTER (0-0):
Oklahoma receives the first half kickoff. Ten plays and 3:44 later the Sooners scored the first points of the game from a goal-line run by Samaje Perine. The PAT is good.
Deshaun Watson comes up short on 3rd and 8 on a run that ended around the 50 yard line for the first Clemson offensive drive of the game. The tigers are forced to punt.
A big sack on 3rd and 9 by the Clemson defense forces Oklahoma to punt deep in their own territory. A poor Oklahoma punt travels to the 28 yard line, putting the Tigers in scoring position.
After a near-interception in the end zone on 4th and goal, Clemson is forced to kick a short field goal from the left hash. The kick is good and the Tigers trail 3-7.
SECOND QUARTER (3-7):
The Oklahoma drive carrying over into the second quarter does not result in points. Clemson gets the ball back after a Sooner punt that will force the Tigers to start within their own 5 yard line.
An explosive run by Deshaun Watson to start the drive takes the Tigers to the 50 yard line. After three straight stalled plays the Tigers line up in punt formation, but a fake punt pass is successful, keeping the drive alive.
Three plays later Watson takes the ball himself on a 10 yard run to give the Tigers a 10-7 lead after the successful PAT attempt.
The Tigers’ defense gets into the backfield on 3rd and 17 near midfield following a personal foul penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct forcing Oklahoma to punt.
Clemson was not able to get the first down needed in the red zone after driving down the field and are forced to kick a 35 yard field goal from the right hash. The kick is good, extending the Tiger’s lead to 13-7.
A penalty on the Clemson bench during a pass play put the Sooners inside the Clemson 30 yard line. Clemson made a stand near the goal line to keep Oklahoma from getting in the end zone a second time. The Sooner’s kick from the right hash is good, closing Clemson’s lead to three with a 13-10 score.
Clemson tacks on another field goal on the following drive bringing the Tigers back to a six point lead over the Sooners with 2:17 left in the half.
A long pass play by Oklahoma with 1:40 remaining in the half sets the Sooners up with 1st and 10 at the 11 yard line. A quick pass to the left side of the field results in a touchdown for Oklahoma and the PAT gives them a one point lead over the Tigers with 1:34 left in the half.
A couple of long plays by Clemson put them on Oklahoma’s 44 yard line with less than a minute left. A 3rd and 10 run by Deshaun Watson keeps the Clemson drive alive and a pass interference call on a deep pass the ensuing place places the Tigers’ offense inside the 20. On 3rd and 8 from the 15 yard line, Watson’s pass to the end zone is tipped and picked off by Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma offense takes a knee with 13 seconds left in the half to run out the clock.
HALFTIME: Clemson 16 – Oklahoma 17
THIRD QUARTER (16-17):
Clemson gets the second half kickoff and begins to march down the field right away. Running Back Wayne Gallman runs into the end zone from just over a yard out, capping off a 12 play 75 yard drive. The PAT is good and the Tigers take the lead with a score of 23-17.
The Clemson Tigers’ defense holds the Sooners on their first offensive possession of the half. Oklahoma is forced to punt in their own end zone on 4th and 23.
Clemson makes a little headway near the 50 yard line where they received the Sooner’s punt. Tigers’ place kicker Greg Huegel’s 47 yard field goal attempt from the right hash was long enough but did not make it between the uprights.
Oklahoma takes over from the spot of Clemson’s missed field goal try. After completing some plays to gain yardage nearing midfield, both Oklahoma Running Backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon go down with injuries. The Tiger’s defense stops a running play on 4th down at the 30 yard line in their own territory to regain possession.
A 35 yard pass down the right side of the field to Hunter Renfrow, who shakes one defender to coast into the end zone freely, results in a touchdown. The PAT is good and the Tigers now extend their lead to 30-17.
The Oklahoma Sooners take the ball inside Clemson territory but the Tigers’ defense comes up with a tipped ball interception at the 30 yard line.
A quick series for the Clemson offense results in a punt, which will start Oklahoma at their own 15 with just over a minute left in the third quarter.
Three downs and punt is what the Sooners were able to do with their offensive possession as they quickly give the ball back to Clemson.
The Tigers fair catch Oklahoma’s punt and will start their next drive at midfield.
FOURTH QUARTER (30-17):
Clemson’s offensive unit moves the ball effectively into the Oklahoma red zone and finishes the drive with another punch-in touchdown run by Gallman. The PAT is made and that brings the score to 37-17, giving the Tigers a 20 point lead.
Oklahoma put together a long, time-consuming drive that ended in a picked off pass at the 5 yard line by Linebacker Ben Boulware, leaving just over 7 minutes left in the game.
Clemson runs the ball and works the clock down to under three minutes before having to punt away to the Sooners.
Oklahoma takes over on their own 44 after a fair catch on the Clemson punt. The Sooners do not go for the first down on 4th and 3, opting to punt to the Tigers with 2:12 left.
A series of kneels by Watson will seal the victory for Clemson as they will advance to face the winner of tonight’s game between Michigan St. and Alabama in Glendale, AZ January 11, 2016.
FINAL SCORE: Clemson 37 – Oklahoma 17