THE OTHER BOWL GAMES : Citrus Bowl : Sooners Beaten at Pass by Clemson
Clemson quarterback Rodney Williams completed only 5 of 11 passes against Oklahoma but he was right on target in a fourth-quarter touchdown drive that gave the Tigers a 13-6 victory in the Florida Citrus Bowl.
Williams ran for 2 first downs on option keepers and completed all 3 passes in the 80-yard, 15-play march. He hit tailback Terry Allen for 11 and 6 yards, and later moved the Tigers to the 5-yard line when he found Ricardo Cooper on a 10-yard completion.
Two plays later, Allen scored the winning touchdown from the 4 with 10:28 left. Allen was the game’s most valuable player with 53 yards rushing and 47 yards receiving.
“I think I could have played better, but I didn’t need to play better,” said Williams, whose 32-10-2 record is the best of any starting quarterback in Atlantic Coast Conference history.
“I didn’t have to have the big statistics like I’ve had in the past couple of years,” Williams said.
Oklahoma had a final chance to win the game in the closing seconds, driving from its 20 to the Clemson 14. Three passes by Jamelle Holieway fell incomplete, and time ran out.
No. 13-ranked Clemson (10-2) broke a 16-game losing streak by ACC teams against Oklahoma. The Sooners (9-3) were recently placed on National Collegiate Athletic Assn. probation and are prohibited from going to another bowl game for 2 years.
“It was two good defensive football teams, and we’re not quite as good on offense,” Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer said. “They were the favorite and they should have been. They were the better team.”
Oklahoma came into the game averaging 343 yards rushing a game but wound up running for only 116 and passing for 138.
“We played well. We had a lot to prove today,” Clemson Coach Danny Ford said. “I guess I better brag on (the team) a little bit.”
After Clemson’s go-ahead touchdown, the Sooners moved from their 25 to the Clemson 26 in 3 plays. The drive sputtered, and R.D. Lashar missed a 39-yard field goal.
A little later, Holieway hit Carl Cabbiness on passes of 10 and 35 yards to move Oklahoma to the Clemson 25. A holding penalty cost the Sooners 10 yards, then Holieway made a bad pitch that was recovered by Clemson at midfield.
Clemson, averaging 397 yards a game, finished with 244. All but 57 of those came on the ground.
The game was one of missed opportunities for both teams, particularly in the first half.
Lashar’s 35-yard field goal in the first quarter came after the Sooners squandered a first-and-goal opportunity at the 1-yard line when Holieway was sacked for an 18-yard loss. Lashar also kicked a 30-yard field goal in the third quarter.
Clemson took a 6-3 halftime lead on Chris Gardocki’s field goals of 20 and 46 yards but could have had more as both drives reached inside Oklahoma’s 5-yard-line.