Alabama beats Oklahoma 45-34; to play Clemson for national title

DeVonta Smith #6 of the Alabama Crimson Tide rushes in the first quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Alabama jumped out to a 31-10 lead over Oklahoma at halftime of their College Football Playoff semifinal game at the Orange Bowl.

But the Sooners bounced back in the second half to make a game of it. But it was too little too late. The Crimson Tide have landed in a familiar spot for them: the national-championship game.

Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray’s 10-yard pass to CeeDee Lamb with 8:31 pulled Oklahoma back to within 11 points of the Crimson Tide, 38-27. Alabama scored a touchdown with 6:08 left in the game, though, on a pass from Tua Tagovailoa to Jerry Jeudy, to make it 45-27. And then Kyler Murray scored a TD for Oklahoma on an 8-yard scamper, to draw the Sooners back to within 11 once again, 45-34. That was it for the scoring.

Tagovailoa completed 15 of 17 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, and Damien Harris ran for a pair of touchdowns

The winner of the Alabama/Oklahoma game will play Clemson in the NCAA Division I National Championship Game on January 7, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.  As mentioned, the Tigers beat Notre Dame, 30-3, in the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas.

Murray’s 49-yard touchdown pass to Charleston Rambo with 3:03 left in the third quarter drew the Sooners within 31-20 of Alabama in the CFP semifinals on Saturday night.

It was Rambo’s first touchdown catch of the year, and by far his longest reception. He got behind two Alabama defenders and Murray hit him in stride.

Tua Tagovailoa’s 10-yard touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith with 13:08 left stopped an Oklahoma rally, and gave the Crimson Tide a 38-20 lead in the Orange Bowl.

After a quick-slant pass got Alabama deep into Oklahoma territory, Damien Harris completed a seven-play, 75-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run, as the Crimson Tide jumped out to a 7-0 lead just 3:06 into the game. Harris scored one play after a video replay showed his elbow had touched down just before he fumbled the ball over to the Sooners. The call on the field was overturned after a lengthy review.

Later in the first quarter, Tua Tagovailoa’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Henry Ruggs III expanded the Tide’s lead to 14-0 (after the extra point).

Damien Harris scored his second touchdown of the first quarter on a one-yard rush to give ‘Bama a 21-0 lead – the most first-quarter points ever in an Orange Bowl game. The Crimson Tide scored their fourth touchdown early in the second quarter on a 27-yard pass from Tagovailoa to Josh Jacobs.

Trey Sermon’s two-yard TD run got the Sooners on the board after a four-play, 75-yard drive, making it 28-7 at that point.

The Tide tacked on three points on their final possession before the break. Alabama was going to go for it on fourth-and 1 from the Oklahoma 15 with 29 seconds left in the half, but was flagged for a false start. That meant the Tide sent Joseph Bulovas onto the field for a 38-yard field goal attempt, which he made for the 21-point lead.

 

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