Clemson Football: Cole Stoudt, Defense Lead Tigers to Rout of Oklahoma Sooners


A dominant defensive performance along with Cole Stoudt‘s best collegiate game led Clemson football to a 40-6 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

Cole Stoudt completed 26-of-36 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns on his way to leading the Clemson Tigers to a 40-6 win over the Oklahoma Sooners and winning the Russell Athletic Bowl Most Valuable Player award.

It’s hard to imagine how Stoudt could have closed out his career at Clemson any better. After dealing with injuries, taking injections before each game just to manage pain, and his struggles on the field (which most likely had a lot to do with those injuries), this game must have been nothing short of cathartic for Stoudt.

Following the game, Stoudt was asked if his MVP performance was redemption for the criticism he has received this year. Stoudt denied it (via TigerNet).

"“I wouldn’t say it was redemption. I just knew that this was my last game here and knew that I had to prepare to be my best,” Stoudt said. “I wanted to do it for the guys around me, because that’s what really mattered, the people I have played with over the years. In my mind, I knew I wanted to be the best I could be for this team and go out and have some fun and just enjoy the last game with everyone and that’s what we did. We had our best bowl practice that I’ve been around. And it was just a ton of fun. We all had a blast.”"

Of course, Stoudt did not do it by himself. Mike Williams and Artavis Scott each recorded over 100 receiving yards and a touchdown.

But the area where Clemson truly dominated was (no surprise) on defense. While the Tigers managed a number of big plays on offense, the defense absolutely stifled Oklahoma all night.

The Sooners scored their only points of the game on a touchdown that came shortly after Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney called a timeout and pulled the seniors from the field so they could get an ovation from the fans. A decent chunk of Oklahoma’s 275 total yards came after that point, as well.

The Tigers also embarrassed Oklahoma QB Trevor Knight–the guy who torched the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl last year–to the tune of a 103-yard, three interception performance on 17-of-37 passing for Knight.

Clemson also forced a total of five turnovers in the game, including a 47-yard pick six by Ben Boulware.

But, of course, that’s more or less what Clemson football fans have come to expect from the Tigers’ defense this year. Oklahoma came into the game with a solid offense on paper but the Tigers had the best defense in the nation.

That’s why Stoudt’s performance really stole the show in this one. After dealing with criticism all year, Stoudt deserves a ton of credit for not only helping to demolish the Sooners, but also for getting Clemson to the Russell Athletic Bowl to begin with.

Swinney said it best, after the game (via TigerNet).

"“The story of the game offensively was Cole Stoudt. We had great preparation getting ready for this game,” Swinney said. “It didn’t start out the way he wanted it to this year, but buddy it’s all about how you finish. Cole Stoudt was 6-2 as a starter for us this year, and played his best game of his career in his last game…“But Cole Stoudt was awesome. He made plays with his legs and made great decisions with the football. He made good checks and checked us into some plays. They brought a house blitz and he checks us into a touchdown to G-Hop. Cole Stoudt was awesome and nobody deserves it more than ole No. 18. He has hung in there and shown class even when things didn’t go the right way and he continued to believe in himself. I couldn’t be more proud.”"

So now we’re left to ponder what might be for next season. Stoudt will move on but Deshaun Watson will return to lead an offense that will be absolutely loaded at the skill positions. The key to the Tigers’ success next year will be replacing the enormous amount of talent that will be departing from the defense.

But that’s something to worry about another day. For now, it’s time to savor one of the best bowl performances in the history of Clemson football.

(Highlight video courtesy of

The ACC Digital Network


Next: Clemson Football: Reviewing the 5 Keys to Beating Oklahoma