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Sunday, December 30, 2018

No. 1 Alabama 45, No. 4 Oklahoma 34: Tide hold off late Sooners rally



Photo Credit: Michael Reaves- Getty Images


By: Brian Schaible
Twitter: @SBNationReports


Alabama advanced to the National Championship game after defeating Oklahoma, 45-34 and will play Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game for the third time in four years.

If last night was any indication, the talent disparity among the top two teams, and everybody else, is rather significant.

If not for the Flo Rida halftime show, it was rather obvious some Oklahoma fans were ready to shut it down early in the second quarter. However, after falling behind 28-0, Kyler Murray and the Sooners kept battling.

Despite facing heavy pressure all night, Murray managed to throw for 308 yards and ran for another 109. He combined for three total touchdowns. Although, whenever the defense needed to make the big stop, it was always too little, too late.

This game was not without a few real questionable decisions. For our purposes, we will refer to those as head scratchers!


Head Scratcher No. 1- Settling for three:

I thought this was bizarre. Oklahoma twice gets inside the Alabama 10 yard-line and settled for two chip shot field goals. Both attempts occurred when Oklahoma found themselves down 21 points. I’m not sure what the chart says about cutting a deficit to 18 but, I imagine the lack of urgency and aggressiveness rubbed a few fans the wrong way. Fourth-down-and-five to go with the Heisman trophy winner under center doesn’t seem all that daunting.


Head Scratcher No. 2- The fumble reversal:

On Alabama’s first possession, Damien Harris coughed up the ball down near the goal line. I’m not disputing whether his right arm and elbow touched down. The main issue here is that even though some 50 plus cameras were used in the game production, none of them had a clear shot to see the ball and his right arm at the same time. The ruling on the field was a fumble. I can conclusively state that there was inconclusive evidence to overturn….even if it was the proper call.


Head Scratcher No. 3- Flo Rida leaves “My House” off of halftime setlist:

Hard to figure but, at least Shawty did get low….low….low.


Noteworthy:

Nick Saban finally defeats another Heisman winner. After knocking of Jason White in 2003, while serving as Head Coach of LSU, Saban had previously lost four straight to stiff arm trophy recipients.

Sophomore Jerry Jeudy now has the second most receiving yards by an Alabama player in a season with 1176. Still way behind Amari Cooper’s 1727 in 2014.

This was the third game this season where Alabama scored touchdowns on each of their first four possessions.

Tagovailoa extends school record with sixth 300 yard passing game in 2018.

Quoteworthy:

Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley:

“It’s been a hell of a ride. Hate that it ends right now, because you’re sick. It was certainly a game we fully expected to win.”

Saban on the status of star linebacker, Christian Miller. Miller left with an apparent hamstring injury.


“I think Christian Miller May be the guy who is the most difficult (to replace). I think everybody else will be fine.”

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