Five of the Most Frightening Sooner Football Games Under Bob Stoops

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Dec 29, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Germone Hopper (5) catches a touchdown pass in front of Oklahoma Sooners safety Quentin Hayes (10) as the Tigers beat the Sooners in the 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl at Florida Citrus Bowl. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

December 29, 2014 – Clemson 40, Oklahoma 6

OU head coach Bob Stoops has won four times as many games as he has lost while at Oklahoma. The winningest coach in the program’s illustrious football history has only lost 45 times in 219 outings as head of the Sooner football program. On Dec. 29 last season, he suffered perhaps the worst loss in his 17 seasons at Oklahoma and, on top of that, it occurred on a national stage in the postseason for millions of others to witness first hand. An unranked OU team, something that has been extremely rare since Stoops has been in Norman, was paired with 18th-ranked Clemson in the 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl. The OU offense had been sputtering the last half of the season with starting quarterback Trevor Knight out for the last three games of the regular season with a neck injury suffered late in the game against Baylor. Many now question whether the Sooner quarterback was healthy enough to return to action as the starter in the bowl game, but he did, and the six-week layoff was apparent practically from the opening snap he took.

The Clemson defense, led by former Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables, had the Sooners number the entire game, forcing five OU turnovers, including three early in the contest that led to a 27-0 Clemson advantage at the half. The Sooners were sloppy and sluggish in all phases of the game – a nightmare of which Oklahoma fans had seldom witnessed from a Bob Stoops-coached team. Knight completed fewer than 50 percent of his 37 pass attempts and had three picked off by the aggressive Tiger defense. The Sooners loan tally of the game came in garbage time (with a number of Clemson reserves in the game)on a 6-play, 57-yard scoring drive midway through the final quarter. One of the few positive aspects in the game, from an OU perspective, was the 158 rushing yards by Samaje Perine, and even those were hard earned.

It wasn’t so much that Oklahoma lost this game that made it such a frightening result, but rather the way the Sooners lost, with very little heart and obviously a lot of the ill effects left over from the stunning home loss to Oklahoma State in the regular-season finale.

The manner in which Clemson totally had its way the Sooners cast a wide shadow of doubt about OU’s football future and whether the disappointing 2014 season was a mere aberration or more a sign of things to come.