Clemson (13-0) vs. Oklahoma (11-1)
4 p.m., Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.
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The Tigers are the last Football Bowl Subdivision team still undefeated and they have been tested. A two-point home victory over then top-10 Notre Dame started the rise to the top ranking and they held off a one-loss North Carolina team 45-37 in the ACC championship team in Charlotte.
The Sooners suffered a shocking 24-17 loss to a Texas team that ended up 5-7. But they recovered to finish the Big 12 season with three consecutive victories over ranked opponents: Then fourth-ranked Baylor, then 11th-ranked Texas Christian and then ninth-ranked Oklahoma State.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson versus Oklahoma offensive tackle Orlando Brown: Brown, a redshirt freshman, is gigantic at 6-foot-8 and 342 pounds. Lawson, who will turn pro after the season, has 9 1/2 sacks and 22 1/2 tackles for loss this season.
▪ Clemson blew out Oklahoma 40-6 at the Russell Athletic Bowl last season. The Tigers say that result is immaterial to this game. The Sooners say they’ve watched snippets of that game for motivational purposes.
▪ Similar to Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, the Sooners have a mobile, multi-threat quarterback in Baker Mayfield. Watson finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting and Mayfield was fourth.
▪ Mayfield went to Texas Tech as a walk-on, then transferred to Oklahoma. He had a spectacular season with 35 touchdown passes and five touchdowns.
▪ Oklahoma wide receiver Sterling Shepard had six touchdown catches in his last five games. In that span he averaged 130 receiving yards and nine catches per game.
▪ Deon Cain, Clemson’s gifted freshman wide receiver, was sent home Tuesday after reportedly failing a drug test, along with two other players.
▪ The Sooners have gone to a bowl in each of coach Bob Stoops’ 17 seasons in Norman. That’s the third-longest streak in the country behind Virginia Tech (23) and Georgia (19).
▪ Clemson hasn’t had great ball-security this season. They have a negative takeaway-to-giveaway ratio at 23-to-25.
▪ Senior offensive guard Eric Mac Lain is Clemson’s all-time winningest football player, having participated in 45 career victories and counting.
▪ Oklahoma has dramatically improved its pass defense, jumping from 117th in FBS last season to 34th this season. On average, the Sooners allowed 75 fewer passing yards this season.
▪ Former Carolina Panthers play-by-play announcer Bill Rosinski will call this game on ESPN radio.
BY THE NUMBERS
12: Oklahoma’s all-time Orange Bowl victories in 19 appearances.
4: Consecutive bowl victories for Clemson should they beat the Sooners.
45-7: The record of Clemson’s current senior class.
55-27: The Sooners’ record against Associated Press Top-25 opponents with Stoops as coach.
2-2: The all-time football series between Clemson and Oklahoma (Clemson won the past two meetings).
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell