Alabama heads back to title game

Tua leads Tide past Sooners

By CODY ESTREMERA, For the Eagle
Posted 12/30/18

MIAMI GARDENS Fla.— After driving 74 yards on the first five plays of the game, Alabama was at the Oklahoma one-yard line. Damien Harris took the handoff and was hit before the goal line. Just after his forearm hit the ground, the ball popped loose.

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Alabama heads back to title game

Tua leads Tide past Sooners

Posted

MIAMI GARDENS Fla.— After driving 74 yards on the first five plays of the game, Alabama was at the Oklahoma one-yard line. Damien Harris took the handoff and was hit before the goal line. Just after his forearm hit the ground, the ball popped loose.

A review proved that he was down, and on the very next snap, Harris plowed through for the first touchdown of the game. For the rest of the 11:54 left in the quarter, Alabama was in complete control, leading to a 45-34 win in the Orange Bowl.

The Tide outgained the Sooners by 176 yards (200-24) and held quarterback Kyler Murray to just 17 yards in the quarter.

But the Heisman Trophy winner woke up in the second quarter, while Alabama’s offense slowed down. Murray gained 163 yards in the second quarter, including five plays that went longer than 11 yards.

“It’s very hard (defending) a guy like him because he can throw the ball and run it,” defensive back Shyheim Carter said. “You got to stay on your man and hope the defensive line can do what they do.”

In the middle two quarters, Alabama struggled to finish drives. It scored just 10 points in those quarters. The lone touchdown was scored on the first drive of the second quarter. The best example was the Tide’s last drive of the first half.

Alabama drove from its own 25 to the Oklahoma 15. It was backed up on a false start, followed by an illegal procedure. Then after Tagovailoa ran for nine yards to make it a fourth and one, a false start pushed coach Nick Saban to throwing his headset down to the grass, breaking it.

“We were shooting ourselves in the foot with the flags,” receiver Henry Ruggs said. “That’s something we need to clean up, so we can be more efficient.”

Alabama settled for a field goal on that drive.

The Tide got back on track at the end of the third quarter and stayed hot throughout the end of the game, as it scored on two of its final three possessions.

Defensively, the Tide took start receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown out of the game. He finished with five targets but no catches.

“We knew that he was Kyler’s main target, so we tried to double team him. Make sure we took him out of the game,” linebacker Dylan Moses said.

Alabama did have outside linebacker Christian Miller go down with a hamstring injury with about nine minutes left in the third quarter. Saban said that he doesn’t know the extent of the injury just yet because the team hasn’t done an MRI yet.