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

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Dec 29, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney celebrates as the Clemson Tigers beat the Oklahoma Sooners 40-6 in the 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl at Florida Citrus Bowl. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to Clemson football‘s 40-6 drubbing of the Oklahoma Sooners, I wrote about five keys to a Clemson victory over the Sooners in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

Now, I had some hope that Clemson would be able to come away with the victory in this one. However, I will be the first to admit that I never imagined that Clemson would thrash Oklahoma the way they did.

Leading up to the game, everything seemed to be going the Sooners’ way. Not only was Clemson going to be without Deshaun Watson, the Sooners were getting Samaje Perine, Sterling Shepard, and Trevor Knight back from various injuries.

Vegas Insider had the Tigers as a 3.5-point underdog when I wrote that preview and the line was trending up. Using that 3.5-point line, CBS Sports’ Jerry Hinnen called a bet on Oklahoma in the Russell Athletic Bowl his “lock of the week.”

Clearly there was something on paper that favored the Sooners. By game time, Oklahoma’s advantage had grown to 6.5 points.

Of course, the theory that Oklahoma was going to cruise to a Russell Athletic Bowl win turned out to be a myth. Once the two teams got on the field, there was no question about who the better team was.

Clemson dominated in nearly every facet of the game and demonstrated that it takes a much better team than the Sooners to go 9-3 with a schedule like Clemson’s.

Of the five keys I outlined, some were more accurate than others. A couple were dead on but there was also one major key that the Tigers whiffed on completely. If you had told me before the game that Clemson would lose that particular battle, I would have said that the Tigers didn’t have a chance. But some things are much, much more enjoyable than being right and Clemson football’s Russell Athletic Bowl win certainly qualified.

Read on for the full assessment of how Clemson fared with each of the five keys.

Next: Key #5