MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — This season’s Alabama juggernaut has but to be stopped, and Oklahoma’s suspect protection positive wasn’t going to do it.
Perhaps Clemson can.
Tua Tagovailoa threw for 318 yards and 4 touchdowns and No. 1-ranked Alabama beat No. Four Oklahoma 45-34 on Saturday night time within the Faculty Soccer Playoff semifinal on the Orange Bowl.
The high-scoring Sooners reached the semifinal regardless of a porous protection that was no match for Alabama’s various assault, and the defending champion Crimson Tide led 28-Zero after solely 17 minutes.
Alabama (14-0) superior to the nationwide championship sport for the fourth consecutive season and can play Jan. 7 in Santa Clara, California in opposition to acquainted foe Clemson, which beat Notre Dame 30-Three within the Cotton Bowl. The Tigers, ranked No. 2, and Alabama will face off within the playoffs for the fourth yr in a row, and have break up two title video games.
“They’ve obtained an important program and an important group,” Alabama coach Nick Saban mentioned. “I’m positive it’ll be an important problem for us, and I’m positive we’ll have to play higher than we did as we speak.”
Tagovailoa’s efficiency within the semifinal argued for a Florida recount within the Heisman Trophy vote. He completed because the runner-up to Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray however received candy comfort by finishing 24 of 27 passes, with scores to 4 receivers.
“It’s all the time good to see your arduous work repay,” mentioned Tagovailoa, who performed on a sore left ankle.
Whereas Tagovailoa linked on his first 9 passes for 184 yards, Murray was sacked twice earlier than he threw a go, and his first completion got here along with his group already down 21-0.
Murray had one good second, an ideal deep throw on the transfer to Charleston Rambo in the long run zone for a 49-yard rating. He handed for 308 yards and ran for 109 however took a number of jarring hits, together with when All-America nostril guard Quinnen Williams dislodged his helmet and compelled him from the sport for one play within the fourth quarter.
The Sooners (12-2) have been shocked by the Crimson Tide. When Robert Barnes tried to cease Josh Jacobs within the open area, the Alabama working again lowered his head for the collision and continued to the tip zone for a 27-yard rating whereas the Sooners security spun to the turf, dazed and briefly unable to rise up.
Alabama had the ball for greater than 36 minutes and totaled 528 yards.
“Our offense actually managed the tempo of the sport,” Saban mentioned. “The one time we actually obtained stopped within the sport is once we stopped ourselves.”
In a matchup between the 2 highest-scoring offenses within the nation, Oklahoma fell too far behind early.
On the primary snap, DeVonta Smith turned Tagovailoa’s quick go right into a 50-yard acquire. The Crimson Tide went on to attain an Orange Bowl-record 21 factors within the opening quarter.
“It’s not the consequence we wished or anticipated,” Sooners coach Lincoln Riley mentioned. “We had a tough time breaking their string of momentum. We dug ourselves too massive a gap.”
At one level the disparity in yards was 191-0. Essentially the most noise the Sooners mustered within the early going was when linebacker Kenneth Murray talked trash with the Alabama bench — along with his group trailing by three touchdowns.
Saban wasn’t able to chill out, although, spiking his headset throughout one among his a number of sideline tirades. And positive sufficient, the Sooners mounted a rally, closing inside 11 factors 3 times within the last 18 minutes.
However two Oklahoma onside kicks failed, and Alabama ran the ultimate 4:23 off the clock after the Sooners’ final rating.
Alabama took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards for a landing. Oklahoma was awarded a fumble restoration on the 1, however officers overturned the ruling following a replay overview, and Damien Harris scored on the subsequent play.
The Sooners’ first three performs misplaced 6 yards, forcing a punt, and eight performs later Tagovailoa hit Henry Ruggs III with a 10-yard landing go.
Tagovailoa threw deep to Jerry Jeudy for 40 yards to arrange the Crimson Tide’s third rating, and Jacobs’ catch and run for a landing made it 28-0.
Tide linebacker Christian Miller limped to the locker room within the third quarter with a left leg damage.
The Crimson Tide want yet another win for his or her sixth nationwide title previously decade. They’ve an opportunity to complete 15-0, which hasn’t been completed on the prime stage of faculty soccer since Penn went 15-Zero in 1897.
Saban moved nearer to his seventh nationwide title, which might break the document he shares with the Crimson Tide’s Bear Bryant.
Alabama seeks its second consecutive title when it performs Clemson for the fourth postseason in a row. The Crimson Tide received 24-6 within the semifinal a yr in the past, and 45-40 within the title sport for the 2016 season. Clemson beat Alabama for the championship 35-31 two years in the past.
The Sooners will start one other bid for his or her first nationwide title since 2000 once they open the 2019 season at house in opposition to Houston on Aug. 31.
Extra AP faculty soccer: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25