Published: Mon, December 31, 2018
Sport | By Ashley Hunter

Oklahoma Sooners' defense stunned Alabama Crimson Tide's fast start

Oklahoma Sooners' defense stunned Alabama Crimson Tide's fast start

The College Football Playoff was cool and all, but the real story is Kevin Murray, father of Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray.

In the final 2 minutes, Trevor Lawrence connected with Ross on a 42-yard score and with Tee Higgins for a one-handed, 19-yard touchdown reception - again over Vaughn - with 2 seconds left in the second quarter.

Williams and the rest of Alabama's motivated defense repeatedly frustrated and harassed the Sooners' Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback while holding Oklahoma's high-powered offense to 471 total yards Saturday, which is more than 100 yards off its nation-leading average (577.9) coming in.

Throughout much of the 2018 season, the center of focus around Oklahoma Sooners standout quarterback Kyler Murray has been in his interest in entering the NFL. 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. Just all-around, I think it was a night we let the team down. I just kind of feel like some of our guys were pissed off because we knew that was not as good as we can play.

Still, Oklahoma's comeback effort means it avoided repeating a disaster it experienced nearly exactly 14 years ago in the same building, when it fell 55-19 to USC in the 2005 BCS National Championship Game. The last time that we overlooked Murray's ability to overcome obstacles, he finished with a Heisman in his hand.

"Do I think Tua should have won the Heisman? We all understand the level of respect we have for each other", Tagovailoa said Wednesday.

"We're going to - we've still got a bunch of Big 12 trophies", Riley started in his postgame opening comments.

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"Most definitely", junior linebacker Anfernee Jennings said about having a little extra motivation.

That's the edge from a coach who is on the cusp of passing Bear Bryant with a seventh national championship but is always demanding more from a four- and five-star roster that rarely fails to live up to expectations. "Just continue to do what we did all year".

"Well, you know they've got a great program and great team and Dabo has done a great job there, and they've got a great program", Saban said. The answer for me is no, though they'll likely keep it within two touchdowns.

ESPN says Alabama's 45-34 victory against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl on Saturday night drew a 10.4 overnight rating, peaking at 11.8 early in the first quarter when the Crimson Tide jumped out to a 14-point lead.

"I don't see that as a step up, not in this profession", Riley said. "If we could have done anything morning, he caught eight, we probably should have thrown him about 20", Riley said. But when you look at it, we're both competitors.

The Bama defender and future 1st round NFL draft was answering questions from reporters on Thursday, in advance of his team's College Football Playoff Semifinal game against Oklahoma on Saturday.

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