SEVERE WX : Wind Advisory View Alerts

Alabama rolls into Championship Game

Tide rolls into fourth straight title game

Posted: Dec 30, 2018 3:55 AM
Updated: Dec 30, 2018 2:40 PM

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — This season’s Alabama juggernaut has yet to be stopped, and Oklahoma’s shaky defense sure wasn’t going to get in the way.

Maybe Clemson can.

Tua Tagovailoa threw for 318 yards and four touchdowns and No. 1-ranked Alabama beat No. 4 Oklahoma 45-34 on Saturday night in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Orange Bowl .

The high-scoring Sooners reached the semifinal despite a porous defense that was no match for Alabama’s diverse attack, and the defending champion Crimson Tide led 28-0 after only 17 minutes.

Alabama (14-0) advanced to the national championship game for the fourth consecutive season and will play Jan. 7 in Santa Clara, California against familiar foe Clemson, which beat Notre Dame 30-3 in the Cotton Bowl. The Tigers, ranked No. 2, and Alabama will face off in the playoffs for the fourth year in a row, and have split two title games.

“They’ve got a great program and a great team,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “I’m sure it’ll be a great challenge for us, and I’m sure we’ll need to play better than we did today.”

Saban spiked his headset during one of his several sideline tirades. He lobbed oranges during the postgame celebration.

“It was more fun throwing the oranges,” he said.

Tagovailoa’s performance argued for a Florida recount in the Heisman Trophy vote. He finished as the runner-up to Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray but won sweet consolation by completing 24 of 27 passes, with scores to four receivers.

“It’s always good to see your hard work pay off,” said Tagovailoa, who played on a sore left ankle. His completion percentage was an Orange Bowl record.

While Tagovailoa connected on his first nine passes for 184 yards, Murray was sacked twice before he threw a pass, and his first completion came with his team already down 21-0.

“The slow start got us beat,” Murray said. “It’s tough to come back from that.”

Murray had one brilliant moment, a perfect deep throw on the move to Charleston Rambo in the end zone for a 49-yard score. He passed for 308 yards and ran for 109 but took several jarring hits, including when All-America nose guard Quinnen Williams dislodged his helmet and forced him from the game for one play in the fourth quarter.

The Sooners (12-2) came up short in a bid for their first national title since the 2000 season.

“Agonizingly close,” coach Lincoln Riley said.

His team was bowled over, on one play in particular. When Robert Barnes tried to stop Josh Jacobs in the open field, the Alabama running back lowered his head for the collision and continued to the end zone for a 27-yard score while the Sooners safety spun to the turf, dazed and briefly unable to get up.

“When I saw an opportunity to score, I just tried my best to score,” Jacobs said with a chuckle.

Alabama had the ball for more than 36 minutes and totaled 528 yards.

“Our offense really controlled the tempo of the game,” Saban said. “The only time we really got stopped in the game is when we stopped ourselves.”

In a matchup between the two highest-scoring offenses in the country, Oklahoma fell too far behind early.

On the first snap, DeVonta Smith turned Tagovailoa’s short pass into a 50-yard gain. The Crimson Tide went on to score an Orange Bowl-record 21 points in the opening quarter.

“It’s not the result we wanted or expected,” Riley said. “We had a hard time breaking their string of momentum. We dug ourselves too big a hole.”

At one point the disparity in yards was 191-0. The most noise the Sooners mustered in the early going was when linebacker Kenneth Murray talked trash with the Alabama bench — with his team trailing by three touchdowns.

The Sooners rallied and closed to within 11 points three times in the final 18 minutes. But two onside kicks failed, and Alabama ran the final 4:23 off the clock after Oklahoma’s last score.

QUICK START

Alabama took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards for a touchdown. Oklahoma was awarded a fumble recovery at the 1, but officials overturned the ruling following a replay review, and Damien Harris scored on the next play.

The Sooners’ first three plays lost 6 yards, forcing a punt, and eight plays later Tagovailoa hit Henry Ruggs III with a 10-yard touchdown pass.

Tagovailoa threw deep to Jerry Jeudy for 40 yards to set up the Crimson Tide’s third score, and Jacobs’ catch and run for a touchdown made it 28-0.

INJURY REPORT

Tide linebacker Christian Miller limped to the locker room in the third quarter with a left hamstring injury. An MRI was planned, and his availability for the title game was uncertain, Saban said.

TAKEAWAYS

The Crimson Tide need one more win for their sixth national title in the past decade. They have a chance to finish 15-0, which hasn’t been done at the top level of college football since Penn went 15-0 in 1897.

Saban moved closer to his seventh national title, which would break the record he shares with the Crimson Tide’s Bear Bryant.

UP NEXT

Alabama seeks its second consecutive title when it plays Clemson for the fourth postseason in a row. The Crimson Tide won 24-6 in the semifinal a year ago, and 45-40 in the title game for the 2016 season. Clemson beat Alabama for the championship 35-31 two years ago.

Huntsville
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 69°
Florence
Mostly Cloudy
72° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 72°
Fayetteville
Partly Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 69°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 70°
Scottsboro
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 66°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 530744

Reported Deaths: 10978
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson764931522
Mobile40959804
Madison34735503
Tuscaloosa25749452
Montgomery24327589
Shelby23425249
Baldwin21123308
Lee15873171
Calhoun14496314
Morgan14288279
Etowah13826353
Marshall12213223
Houston10561281
Elmore10052205
Limestone9958151
Cullman9659193
St. Clair9652243
Lauderdale9420241
DeKalb8828186
Talladega8220176
Walker7231277
Autauga6918108
Jackson6809112
Blount6656137
Colbert6296134
Coffee5509119
Dale4830111
Russell440738
Chilton4284112
Franklin425682
Covington4118118
Tallapoosa4026152
Escambia393376
Chambers3560123
Dallas3547151
Clarke351061
Marion3116101
Pike310877
Lawrence300298
Winston274272
Bibb260564
Marengo249664
Geneva249477
Pickens234361
Barbour230757
Hale222877
Butler215969
Fayette212262
Henry188744
Cherokee184645
Randolph180141
Monroe177340
Washington167239
Macon158950
Clay156156
Crenshaw152257
Cleburne148941
Lamar142535
Lowndes138753
Wilcox127030
Bullock123041
Conecuh110329
Perry107526
Coosa107228
Sumter104432
Greene92334
Choctaw60624
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 852841

Reported Deaths: 12255
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby956561619
Davidson89355933
Knox50675635
Hamilton44280494
Rutherford43046434
Williamson28015217
Sumner24012349
Montgomery20255225
Wilson18804234
Out of TN1840797
Unassigned16998134
Sullivan16794294
Blount15490193
Bradley15032150
Washington14597245
Maury13499172
Sevier13391175
Putnam11396175
Madison11168242
Robertson9756131
Anderson8760172
Hamblen8610173
Greene7877155
Tipton7359103
Coffee6905121
Dickson6840110
Cumberland6734132
Carter6634158
Gibson6526146
McMinn650898
Bedford6506128
Roane6282105
Jefferson6211124
Loudon613069
Hawkins6077107
Lawrence593887
Monroe584095
Warren554881
Dyer5425106
Franklin515090
Fayette506877
Cheatham455355
Obion454196
Cocke450099
Lincoln435763
Rhea434875
Marshall419058
Campbell415463
Weakley412865
Giles3996100
Henderson378976
White364170
Macon361978
Carroll361683
Hardin357167
Hardeman352664
Lauderdale318944
Henry318576
Claiborne318273
Marion312347
Scott312345
Overton301161
Wayne296334
Hickman284046
McNairy282054
DeKalb279654
Smith277839
Haywood271162
Grainger262850
Morgan250139
Trousdale250122
Fentress241547
Johnson240739
Chester214351
Bledsoe214211
Polk207824
Unicoi203549
Crockett203248
Cannon192031
Union190734
Humphreys179927
Grundy179334
Lake170326
Sequatchie169829
Benton166540
Decatur158639
Lewis158126
Meigs139125
Stewart132528
Jackson132036
Clay110131
Houston109333
Perry106628
Moore101117
Van Buren84723
Pickett76024
Hancock58912

Community Events