Clemson, Bama Win Semi-Finals [VIDEO]
No. 2 Alabama was in championship form in the Cotton Bowl, shutting out No. 3 Michigan State, 38-0, and punching its ticket into the national title game. Quarterback Jake Coker completed 25-of-30 passes for a career-high 286 yards, including two long touchdowns to freshman receiver Calvin Ridley. With the Spartans bent on stopping the Alabama running game, Heisman winner Derrick Henry rushed for just 75 yards but found the end zone twice.
But Alabama’s dominant defense was the story of the night. The Crimson Tide limited Michigan State to just 239 total yards and held the Spartan running game to just 1.1 yards per carry. Quarterback Connor Cook was harassed all night and held to just 19-of-39 for 210 yards and two interceptions. Alabama cornerback Cyrus Jones notched one of those picks and later returned a punt for a score, making him the first player in 20 years to have an interception and a punt return touchdown in a bowl game.
The Crimson Tide will face off with No. 1 Clemson in the national championship game in Glendale, AZ on Jan. 11.
No. 1 Clemson’s undefeated season continued as the Tigers locked up a spot in the national championship game with a 37-17 win over No. 4 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.
Heisman runner-up Deshaun Watson accounted for 332 total yards and two touchdowns while Clemson rolled up a school bowl record 312 rushing yards. Watson (145 yards) and running back Wayne Gallman (150) are just the third duo in Orange Bowl history to each top the 100-yard mark.
While Clemson was running successfully, the Sooners were never able to get their ground game untracked. In its last seven games, Oklahoma had been averaging over 300 yards per game on the ground. But Clemson’s defense kept the Sooners bottled up all night, knocking both Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon out of the game at various points, and holding OU to just 67 rushing yards.
After Clemson’s All-American defensive end Shaq Lawson was sidelined on the first series with a knee injury, ends Kevin Dodd and true freshman Austin Bryant stepped up in a big way, racking up 1 ½ sacks and 4 ½ tackles for loss. Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for 311 yards but never really found a groove and was picked off twice.
Oklahoma led at halftime, 17-16. But Clemson’s stifling defense and pounding run game took over the second half and rolled off 21 unanswered points. With the win, the Tigers are still in a position to become the first 15-0 team in college football history and win the school’s first national title since 1981.
The Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide will face off in the national championship game in Glendale, Arizona on Jan. 11. You can hear the game live on Sports Radio 92.9 The Ticket.