The Orange Bowl may not be shaping up to be the offensive showcase many expected it to be, but Clemson and Oklahoma are delivering a close contest in the first of two College Football Playoff semifinal games. Oklahoma took a 17-16 lead late in the half with Mark Andrews scoring on an 11-yard touchdown pass with 1:34 to play The scoring drive took just 43 seconds after Clemson extended its lead to 16-10 on a field goal. Clemson looked to retake the lead in the final 20 seconds, but Oklahoma’s Zack Sanchez intercepted a pass in the endzone from Deshaun Watson to secure the lead at halftime.
Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson left the game in the first quarter with an apparent knee injury, but his return has not been ruled out. Lawson may be out of action, but the Clemson defensive line has had an impact on the first half with three sacks of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Oklahoma struck first on the opening drive of the game. After Mayfield was sacked on the first play of the game by Carlos Watkins, the Sooners let the running game get going with a nice nine-yard run by Samaje Perine. Perine carried the next two plays for a gain of 18 yards and continued to lead the ground attack the rest of the drive. Perine picked up a short touchdown run from the one-yard line on the 10th play of the drive to give Oklahoma an early 7-0 lead. Oklahoma was forced to punt on their next two possessions though.
Early in the second quarter, Clemson needed a bit of a spark after seeing a third down pass fall incomplete. That spark was generated by punter Andy Teasdall, who you might remember was ripped to shreds on the sideline after a blown fake in the ACC Championship Game. This time Teasdall came through with a 31-yard pass to Christian Wilkins down to the Oklahoma 13-yard line. Deshaun Watson picked up a five-yard touchdown two plays later to give the Tigers their first lead of the game, 10-7.