Alabama defeats Oklahoma, sets up showdown with Clemson for college football championship

Sherman Parsons
December 31, 2018

The victor of Saturday's game will advance to play the victor of the Cotton Bowl - Clemson or Notre Dame - in the College Football Playoff championship game on Monday, January 7th.

Still, Oklahoma's comeback effort means it avoided repeating a disaster it experienced nearly exactly 14 years ago in the same building, when it fell 55-19 to USC in the 2005 BCS National Championship Game.

No. 1 Alabama (14-0) is angry, and you won't like them when they're angry.

With Alabama leading 31-10 coming out of halftime, Oklahoma started its second half surge with a 26-yard field goal by kicker Austin Seibert, who set college football's all-time scoring record with the kick, with 9:42 left in the third quarter.

"We just kind of picked a bad time".

Murray fought, too, and after the slow start, he did everything he could to get Oklahoma back in the game.

"As you saw, they stopped us the first quarter, we stopped ourselves, but hats off to them", Murray said. "Obviously it wasn't in the air, but I've always felt I could play in the NFL. I just think overall, at the end of the day, we're both competitors - and we're gonna do whatever we can to help our team become successful". He knew the questions about whether he would go play for the Oakland Athletics or enter the National Football League draft would come, the way they have over the past two months, but he said, "I really haven't thought about it right now".

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Or maybe he wanted to say something else entirely about Murray. Under frequent duress from the Tide defense, Murray passed for 308 yards and ran for 109 yards more. "I think it's as simple as that".

The Crimson Tide need one more win for their sixth national title in the past decade. "It was fun. I mean, it was a heavy hitter just like we all expected", he said. But you've got to keep doing that.

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. "Just continue to do what we did all year".

Maybe Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley will leave for the NFL and the Bucs after seeing there was no future in the College Football Playoff, not with Nick Saban and Alabama pulling its first-half velociraptor act (28-0 lead) before coasting on in for a 45-34 national semifinal Orange Bowl win while making Oklahoma Heisman victor and two-sport wonder Kyler Murray long for A's pitchers and catchers reporting.

Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross leans for the end zone and scores against Notre Dame during the first half of Saturday's first national semifinal. He even scrambled for a few hard-fought yards with former Miami Dolphins quarterback and Hall of Famer Dan Marino in attendance. I think he's done a tremendous job with running that offense. Even the day after his surgery to fix the high-ankle sprain he suffered against Georgia, Tagovailoa told Allen, "I have to get back to help our team".

The was little doubt about who was going to win this game after three possessions in the opening quarter. But when you look at it, we're both competitors.

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