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“We were outplayed badly,” Stoops, Sooners discuss disappointing loss to Clemson

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MIAMI, Fla. - Following a second disappointing loss to Clemson, the Sooners say they are taking the blame.

"We were outplayed badly in the second half," said OU head coach Bob Stoops.

The opening quarter of the Orange Bowl showcased an aggressive Sooner offense that quickly grabbed the lead in the game.

However, an unsportsmanlike conduct call sucked the momentum out of the Sooners  in what appeared to be a drive to the endzone.

"We had to play smart and we didn't," Stoops said.

OU coaches say there were several issues with the Sooners' game that gave away the win.

Stoops cited missed tackles, penalties, an inconsistent offense and turnovers as main causes for concern.

"From the start, we didn't play well," said Ty Darlington.

It's a story that is explained by the numbers

Throughout all four quarters, OU only recorded 67 rushing yards.

Clemson's defense had their sights set on running back Samaje Perine, who only recorded 58 rushing yards.

Throughout the season, Perine averaged about 6 yards per carry. In this matchup, that number dropped to just under four yards a carry.

The running game took a massive hit when Perine was injured in the third quarter. He was treated by trainers before going back into the game, only to twist his ankle a second time when he was tackled.

While he was out, running back Joe Mixon tried to fill his shoes, but was also injured while trying to make a block.

In addition to two of the team's running backs being sidelined with injuries, linebacker Jordan Evans and defensive tackle Charles Walker were also forced to sit out with injuries.

However, Stoops says he doesn't believe injuries were the reason for the loss and most of the players agree.

"We were in the position a lot of times with the running back and just didn't tackle well," said linebacker Eric Striker.

On the other hand, Clemson seemed to have no trouble wracking up rushing yards.

Through all four quarters, the Tigers earned 312 rushing yards behind running back Wayne Gallman and quarterback Deshaun Watson.

"Tonight, they were a better team than us," said Ty Darlington.

In the end, the Sooners lost 37-17 to Clemson, who will now move forward to the national championship.