The Alabama Crimson Tide ended their season on a low note as they were defeated by Oklahoma in Thursday night's Sugar Bowl.
Alabama came out very strong in the opening drive, scoring in just four plays across 75 yards. The second play of the game quarterback A.J. McCarron connected with Amari Cooper for a 53-yard gain. T.J. Yeldon covered the remaining 7 yards in the next two plays, scoring with a 1-yard rush. Cade Foster added the extra point.
Oklahoma's first turn at offense was turned around by the Tide defense when Landon Collins intercepted a Trevor Knight pass at the Alabama 24 yard line. The turnover was short lived since the first play saw Oklahoma get an interception of their own and return it to the Alabama 45 yard line. On the next play, Knight connected with Lacoltan Bester for 45 yards and the touchdown. Michael Hunnicutt's extra point kick was good.
Alabama was able to work their way down the field quickly on their next possession, thanks to a 63 yard gain on a pass reception from DeAndrew White. Unfortunately for the Tide, they came to a halt at Oklahoma 10-yard line. Cade Foster was called in to kick the 27-yard field goal, bringing the score to 10-7.
The Sooners gained the lead following their next drive. The 13-play drive covered 78 yards and saw no large gains in yardage during any play. The drive wrapped up with Knight connecting with Jalen Saunders for an 8-yard pass reception into the endzone. Hunnicutt's extra point was good.
The Tide answered with a touchdown of their own on the next possession. Covering 80 yards in just 5 plays, the big play came when McCarron landed another pass in the arms of DeAndrew White. White gained a whopping 67 yards for the score. Foster tacked on the extra point.
Oklahoma was able to even up the score again after they were held to a field goal. The kickoff saw the Sooners get a 30-yard return by Roy Finch to the Oklahoma 45. In 6 plays, Oklahoma was able to get 25 more yards and was facing 4th and 3 at the 30. Hunnicutt was able to successfully kick the 47-yard field goal to tie the game up at 17.
The remainder of the half was pretty sour for Alabama. An 11-play drive saw the Tide make it down to the Oklahoma 11-yard line when running back T.J. Yeldon fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Sooner Geneo Grissom and returned for 26 yards. The Oklahoma offense seemed like it would be stopped while facing 4th and 1 at the Alabama 45, but a 2-yard gain gave the Sooners the first down and the following play saw Jalen Saunder take a Knight pass 43 yards for another touchdown.
Alabama rallied to try to close the deficit before halftime, but those plans backfired. The Tide moved the ball 35 yards to the Oklahoma 48, but an interception by Oklahoma's Zack Sanchez cut the drive short. Sanchez returned the ball to the Alabama 13 and a rush by Sterling Shepherd gave Oklahoma a two touchdown lead at 31-17.
The Alabama offense hurried to get another chance to put points on the board and was able to get down to the Oklahoma 14 with 4 seconds remaining. Cade Foster took the field for a shot at the 32-yard field goal. The ball swung just to the right of the uprights and was no good.
Alabama was the first team to find the endzone after returning from halftime. On their second possession of the half, the Tide covered 60 yards in 4 plays and brought the game to 31-24. The scoring play saw running back Derrick Henry cut through the Oklahoma defense for a 43-yard touchdown rush. Foster's extra point was good.
Going into the 4th quarter, Oklahoma found their way back to the endzone. The 8-play drive covered 76 yards. Lacoltan Bester made the big single-play gain with 34 yards off of a Knight receptions. Sterling Shepherd gained 49 yards total during the drive in pass receptions, including a 9-yard touchdown. Hunnicutt's extra point was good.
With 8 minutes left to go in the game, Alabama refused to give up. T.J. Yeldon rushed 4 plays in a row and gained about 13 yards, when Derrick Henry took the field. Henry immediately rushed for 61 yards through the Sooner defense to the endzone. Foster's extra point set the score at 38-31.
The Alabama defense was looking for a quick stop against Oklahoma's offense, but the Sooners were able to keep earning first downs. The Tide finally forced them to punt and the offense had only 56 seconds to try to even up the score from their own 18 yard line. On the first play, the ball was stripped from the arm of A.J. McCarron and recovered by Geneo Grissom. Grissom scooped the ball up and was able to dive into the endzone for the touchdown. Hunnicutt's extra point set the score at 45-31, the final score of the game.
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