Oklahom coach Barry Switzer says that not only was No. 13 Clemson the better team in the Citrus Bowl, but the Tigers also had more motivation than his 10th-ranked Sooners.
"We were coming in as a loser. They were coming as a winner. That's obviously a motivating factor," Switzer said after Monday's 13-6 loss.
"When you work two weeks, with one week of two-a-days, you ought to be better prepared than a team that works one week of one-a-days," he said. "They prepared like they were playing for a national championship." Clemson coach Danny Ford wouldn't go that far, although he admitted playing the Sooners guaranteed his team would have no problem getting emotional.
"Just playing Oklahoma is great for our program, but beating them is even more of a plum," Ford said. "Our youngsters played awfully hard against a team that has a football reputation every year, not just every now and then." Clemson, which finished 10-2, earned a berth in the Citrus Bowl by winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title. Oklahoma, 9-3, came to Orlando after losing the Big Eight title game - and the automatic berth in the Orange Bowl - to Nebraska.
The victory represented the first by an ACC team over Oklahoma in 17 tries.
The Sooners had hoped to begin the new year with a victory if for no other reason than the fact they can't go to a bowl game after the 1989 or 1990 seasons, due to NCAA probation for recruiting violations.
A hapless offensive performance kept it from happening.
The Sooners came in averaging 410 yards of offense per game. At halftime, Oklahoma had 56 total yards. After three quarters, the total was 99 yards.
The Sooners finished with 254 yards, but only because Jamelle Holieway threw - that's right, threw - for 138 yards in the fourth quarter.
"I think the only thing we did improperly was give up the big pass," Ford said. "We really didn't think that they had that big a passing game."
Oklahoma was held to only 116 yards rushing, 227 below its average.
Clemson didn't exactly have its way with the Sooners, particularly in the early going. The Tigers' first four series lasted three plays each, and they didn't make a first down until midway through the second quarter.
Both teams wasted scoring chances. Oklahoma moved to the Clemson 1-yard line late in the first quarter before a Holieway scramble resulted in an 18-yard loss, resulting in a 35-yard field goal by R.D. Lashar.
Lashar's other field goal, a 30-yarder late in the third quarter, came after a Sooner drive stalled at Clemson's 14.