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No. 1 Alabama beats No. 4 Oklahoma 45-34 to reach title game

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) This season's Alabama juggernaut has yet to be stopped, and Oklahoma's shaky defense sure wasn't going to get in the way.

Maybe Clemson can.

Tua Tagovailoa threw for 318 yards and four touchdowns and No. 1-ranked Alabama beat No. 4 Oklahoma 45-34 on Saturday night in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Orange Bowl .

The high-scoring Sooners reached the semifinal despite a porous defense that was no match for Alabama's diverse attack, and the defending champion Crimson Tide led 28-0 after only 17 minutes.

Alabama (14-0) advanced to the national championship game for the fourth consecutive season and will play Jan. 7 in Santa Clara, California against familiar foe Clemson, which beat Notre Dame 30-3 in the Cotton Bowl. The Tigers, ranked No. 2, and Alabama will face off in the playoffs for the fourth year in a row, and have split two title games.

''They've got a great program and a great team,'' Alabama coach Nick Saban said. ''I'm sure it'll be a great challenge for us, and I'm sure we'll need to play better than we did today.''

Saban spiked his headset during one of his several sideline tirades. He lobbed oranges during the postgame celebration.

''It was more fun throwing the oranges,'' he said.

Tagovailoa's performance argued for a Florida recount in the Heisman Trophy vote. He finished as the runner-up to Oklahoma's Kyler Murray but won sweet consolation by completing 24 of 27 passes, with scores to four receivers.

''It's always good to see your hard work pay off,'' said Tagovailoa, who played on a sore left ankle. His completion percentage was an Orange Bowl record.

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.

''The slow start got us beat,'' Murray said. ''It's tough to come back from that.''

Murray had one brilliant moment, a perfect deep throw on the move to Charleston Rambo in the end zone for a 49-yard score. He passed for 308 yards and ran for 109 but took several jarring hits, including when All-America nose guard Quinnen Williams dislodged his helmet and forced him from the game for one play in the fourth quarter.

The Sooners (12-2) came up short in a bid for their first national title since the 2000 season.

''Agonizingly close,'' coach Lincoln Riley said.

His team was bowled over, on one play in particular. When Robert Barnes tried to stop Josh Jacobs in the open field, the Alabama running back lowered his head for the collision and continued to the end zone for a 27-yard score while the Sooners safety spun to the turf, dazed and briefly unable to get up.

''When I saw an opportunity to score, I just tried my best to score,'' Jacobs said with a chuckle.

Alabama had the ball for more than 36 minutes and totaled 528 yards.

''Our offense really controlled the tempo of the game,'' Saban said. ''The only time we really got stopped in the game is when we stopped ourselves.''

In a matchup between the two highest-scoring offenses in the country, Oklahoma fell too far behind early.

On the first snap, DeVonta Smith turned Tagovailoa's short pass into a 50-yard gain. The Crimson Tide went on to score an Orange Bowl-record 21 points in the opening quarter.

''It's not the result we wanted or expected,'' Riley said. ''We had a hard time breaking their string of momentum. We dug ourselves too big a hole.''

At one point the disparity in yards was 191-0. The most noise the Sooners mustered in the early going was when linebacker Kenneth Murray talked trash with the Alabama bench - with his team trailing by three touchdowns.

The Sooners rallied and closed to within 11 points three times in the final 18 minutes. But two onside kicks failed, and Alabama ran the final 4:23 off the clock after Oklahoma's last score.

QUICK START

Alabama took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards for a touchdown. Oklahoma was awarded a fumble recovery at the 1, but officials overturned the ruling following a replay review, and Damien Harris scored on the next play.

The Sooners' first three plays lost 6 yards, forcing a punt, and eight plays later Tagovailoa hit Henry Ruggs III with a 10-yard touchdown pass.

Tagovailoa threw deep to Jerry Jeudy for 40 yards to set up the Crimson Tide's third score, and Jacobs' catch and run for a touchdown made it 28-0.

INJURY REPORT

Tide linebacker Christian Miller limped to the locker room in the third quarter with a left hamstring injury. An MRI was planned, and his availability for the title game was uncertain, Saban said.

TAKEAWAYS

The Crimson Tide need one more win for their sixth national title in the past decade. They have a chance to finish 15-0, which hasn't been done at the top level of college football since Penn went 15-0 in 1897.

Saban moved closer to his seventh national title, which would break the record he shares with the Crimson Tide's Bear Bryant.

UP NEXT

Alabama seeks its second consecutive title when it plays Clemson for the fourth postseason in a row. The Crimson Tide won 24-6 in the semifinal a year ago, and 45-40 in the title game for the 2016 season. Clemson beat Alabama for the championship 35-31 two years ago.

The Sooners will begin another bid for their first national title since 2000 when they open the 2019 season at home against Houston on Aug. 31.

----

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Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 4:23
43-A.Seibert extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
34
45
Touchdown 4:23
1-K.Murray scrambles runs 8 yards for a touchdown.
8
plays
80
yds
01:45
pos
33
45
Point After TD 6:08
97-J.Bulovas extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
27
45
Touchdown 6:12
13-T.Tagovailoa complete to 4-J.Jeudy. 4-J.Jeudy runs 13 yards for a touchdown.
6
plays
65
yds
02:19
pos
27
44
Point After TD 8:31
43-A.Seibert extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
27
38
Touchdown 8:36
1-K.Murray complete to 2-C.Lamb. 2-C.Lamb runs 10 yards for a touchdown.
16
plays
60
yds
04:32
pos
26
38
Point After TD 13:08
97-J.Bulovas extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
20
38
Touchdown 13:13
13-T.Tagovailoa complete to 6-D.Smith. 6-D.Smith runs 10 yards for a touchdown.
10
plays
129
yds
02:29
pos
20
37
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 3:03
43-A.Seibert extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
20
31
Touchdown 3:13
1-K.Murray complete to 14-C.Rambo. 14-C.Rambo runs 49 yards for a touchdown.
6
plays
75
yds
02:01
pos
19
31
Field Goal 9:55
43-A.Seibert 26 yards Field Goal is Good.
17
plays
116
yds
00:00
pos
13
31
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 0:29
97-J.Bulovas 38 yards Field Goal is Good.
16
plays
69
yds
07:05
pos
10
31
Field Goal 7:39
43-A.Seibert 26 yards Field Goal is Good.
9
plays
41
yds
03:14
pos
10
28
Point After TD 11:48
43-A.Seibert extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
7
28
Touchdown 11:48
4-T.Sermon runs 2 yards for a touchdown.
7
plays
65
yds
01:13
pos
6
28
Point After TD 13:01
97-J.Bulovas extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
0
28
Touchdown 13:10
13-T.Tagovailoa complete to 8-J.Jacobs. 8-J.Jacobs runs 27 yards for a touchdown.
5
plays
48
yds
00:05
pos
0
27
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 1:33
97-J.Bulovas extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
0
21
Touchdown 1:38
34-D.Harris runs 1 yard for a touchdown.
5
plays
61
yds
02:39
pos
0
20
Point After TD 5:54
97-J.Bulovas extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
0
14
Touchdown 6:00
13-T.Tagovailoa complete to 11-H.Ruggs. 11-H.Ruggs runs 10 yards for a touchdown.
8
plays
55
yds
04:03
pos
0
13
Point After TD 11:54
97-J.Bulovas extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
0
7
Touchdown 11:58
34-D.Harris runs 1 yard for a touchdown.
9
plays
-33
yds
03:02
pos
0
6
Team Stats
1st Downs 26 28
Rushing 9 12
Passing 15 16
Penalty 2 0
3rd Down Conv 6-13 7-10
4th Down Conv 2-3 0-0
Total Net Yards 452 528
Total Plays 69 70
Avg Gain 6.6 7.5
Net Yards Rushing 163 200
Rush Attempts 32 42
Avg Rush Yards 5.1 4.8
Net Yards Passing 289 328
Comp. - Att. 19-37 25-28
Yards Per Pass 7.8 11.7
Sacked - Yards Lost 3-19 0-0
Penalties - Yards 7-55 9-86
Touchdowns 4 6
Rushing TDs 2 2
Passing TDs 2 4
Other 0 0
Turnovers 0 0
Fumbles - Lost 0-0 0-0
Int. Thrown 0 0
Punts - Avg 2-37.5 2-28.0
Return Yards 97 0
Punts - Returns 1-5 0-0
Kickoffs - Returns 5-92 0-0
Int. - Returns 0-0 0-0
Kicking 6/6 7/7
Extra Points 4/4 6/6
Field Goals 2/2 1/1
Safeties 0 0
1234T
4 Oklahoma 12-2 010101434
1 Alabama 14-0 211001445
289 PASS YDS 328
163 RUSH YDS 200
452 TOTAL YDS 528
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
Ky. Murray 1 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
51.4% 308 2 0 139.1
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
69% 4361 42 7 199.2
Ky. Murray 19/37 308 2 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
Ky. Murray 1 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
17 109 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
140 1001 12
Ky. Murray 17 109 1 23
K. Brooks 26 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
6 35 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
119 1056 12
K. Brooks 6 35 0 9
T. Sermon 4 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
9 19 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
164 947 13
T. Sermon 9 19 1 7
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
C. Lamb 2 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
8 109 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
65 1158 11
C. Lamb 8 109 1 32
C. Rambo 14 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 74 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
8 125 1
C. Rambo 3 74 1 49
C. Meier 45 FB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 51 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
19 327 4
C. Meier 3 51 0 39
N. Basquine 83 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 35 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
7 134 0
N. Basquine 1 35 0 35
K. Brooks 26 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 21 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
10 57 0
K. Brooks 3 21 0 11
G. Calcaterra 80 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 18 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
26 396 6
G. Calcaterra 1 18 0 18
M. Tease 87 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
10 104 1
M. Tease 0 0 0 0
M. Brown 5 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
75 1318 10
M. Brown 0 0 0 0
L. Morris 84 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
21 457 8
L. Morris 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT
Ke. Murray 9 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
13-2 0 0.5
SEASON T-A INT SACK
13-2 0 0.5
Ke. Murray 13-2 0.5 0
P. Fields 10 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
8-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
8-0 0 0.0
P. Fields 8-0 0.0 0
T. Brown 6 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-0 0 0.0
T. Brown 7-0 0.0 0
C. Kelly 19 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-0 0 0.0
C. Kelly 7-0 0.0 0
C. Bolton 18 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
6-3 0 0.5
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-3 0 0.5
C. Bolton 6-3 0.5 0
P. Motley 11 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-1 3 0.0
P. Motley 4-1 0.0 0
T. Norwood 13 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-3 1 0.0
T. Norwood 2-3 0.0 0
R. Barnes 20 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 1 0.0
R. Barnes 2-1 0.0 0
K. Mann 55 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-2 1 0.0
K. Mann 2-2 0.0 0
N. Gallimore 90 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
N. Gallimore 2-2 0.0 0
A. Bledsoe 72 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-4 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-4 0 0.0
A. Bledsoe 1-4 0.0 0
R. Perkins 7 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
R. Perkins 1-1 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
A. Seibert 43 K
IN-GAME FG XP
2/2 4/4
SEASON FG XP
17/19 87/88
A. Seibert 2/2 26 4/4 10
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
A. Seibert 43 K
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
2 37.5 0
SEASON NO AVG IN20
31 40.9 0
A. Seibert 2 37.5 0 40
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
T. Brown 6 CB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
3 21.3 23 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
30 23.7 23 0
T. Brown 3 21.3 23 0
T. Pledger 22 RB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 14.0 23 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
2 14.0 23 0
T. Pledger 2 14.0 23 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
C. Lamb 2 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 5.0 5 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
17 12.8 5 0
C. Lamb 1 5.0 5 0
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
T. Tagovailoa 13 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
88.9% 318 4 0 236.7
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
69.5% 3671 41 4 205.2
T. Tagovailoa 24/27 318 4 0
J. Hurts 2 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
100% 10 0 0 184.0
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
75% 765 8 2 202.4
J. Hurts 1/1 10 0 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
J. Jacobs 8 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
15 98 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
109 593 11
J. Jacobs 15 98 0 19
D. Harris 34 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
13 48 2
SEASON ATT YDS TD
139 819 9
D. Harris 13 48 2 11
N. Harris 22 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
6 45 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
108 724 4
N. Harris 6 45 0 16
T. Tagovailoa 13 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
5 9 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
53 199 5
T. Tagovailoa 5 9 0 9
J. Hurts 2 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 4 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
35 171 2
J. Hurts 1 4 0 4
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
D. Smith 6 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
6 104 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
36 628 6
D. Smith 6 104 1 50
J. Jeudy 4 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 73 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
63 1176 13
J. Jeudy 4 73 1 40
J. Jacobs 8 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 60 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
19 231 3
J. Jacobs 4 60 1 27
D. Harris 34 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 25 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
20 201 0
D. Harris 2 25 0 15
J. Waddle 17 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 20 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 20 0
J. Waddle 2 20 0 11
I. Smith Jr. 82 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 19 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
40 667 7
I. Smith Jr. 2 19 0 13
H. Ruggs III 11 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 14 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
45 738 11
H. Ruggs III 3 14 1 10
J. Hurts 2 QB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 9 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 16 0
J. Hurts 1 9 0 9
N. Harris 22 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 4 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
4 7 0
N. Harris 1 4 0 4
Defense T-A SACK INT
D. Moses 32 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
D. Moses 5-1 0.0 0
I. Buggs 49 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
I. Buggs 4-0 0.0 0
D. Thompson 14 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-0 2 0.0
D. Thompson 4-0 0.0 0
P. Surtain II 2 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 1 0.0
P. Surtain II 3-0 0.0 0
A. Jennings 33 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 1 1.0
A. Jennings 3-0 1.0 0
J. Mayden 21 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
J. Mayden 3-1 0.0 0
S. Smith 4 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 3 0.0
S. Smith 2-0 0.0 0
X. McKinney 15 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-2 2 0.0
X. McKinney 2-2 0.0 0
C. Miller 47 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
C. Miller 1-0 1.0 0
P. Mathis 48 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
P. Mathis 1-0 0.0 0
J. Jeudy 4 WR
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
J. Jeudy 1-0 0.0 0
M. Wilson 30 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-1 2 0.0
M. Wilson 1-1 0.0 0
R. Davis 99 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
R. Davis 1-0 1.0 0
Q. Williams 92 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
Q. Williams 1-0 0.0 0
L. Ray 89 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
L. Ray 1-0 0.0 0
N. Knott 13 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
N. Knott 0-1 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
J. Bulovas 97 K
IN-GAME FG XP
1/1 6/6
SEASON FG XP
13/17 74/79
J. Bulovas 1/1 38 6/6 9
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
M. Bernier 98 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
2 28.0 0
SEASON NO AVG IN20
23 37.0 0
M. Bernier 2 28.0 0 34
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
11:54 BAMA 35 1:11 4 4 Punt
5:54 BAMA 35 1:29 7 6 Punt
1:33 BAMA 35 1:16 6 13 Downs
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:01 BAMA 35 1:13 7 75 TD
10:53 BAMA 50 3:14 9 41 FG
0:29 BAMA 35 0:17 5 41 Halftime
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
0:04 BAMA 35 0:00 17 66 FG
5:14 OKLA 25 2:01 6 75 TD
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:08 BAMA 35 4:32 16 80 TD
6:08 BAMA 35 1:45 8 74 TD
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 OKLA 35 3:02 9 -33 TD
10:03 BAMA 45 4:03 8 55 TD
4:17 BAMA 39 2:39 5 61 TD
0:10 OKLA 48 0:05 5 48 TD
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
11:48 OKLA 10 0:48 4 10 Punt
7:34 OKLA 35 7:05 16 55 FG
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
9:48 OKLA 35 4:01 10 48 Punt
3:03 OKLA 35 2:29 10 87 TD
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
8:31 OKLA 35 2:19 6 65 TD
4:23 OKLA 50 3:33 10 51