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Orange Bowl: Alabama holds off Oklahoma for another shot at title

By
UPI Staff
Alabama Plays Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl
Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and his wife, Terry, celebrate winning the college football playoff semifinal. Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI

Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Tau Tagovaila played like a quarterback with one national championship and Alabama is getting the chance to play for another because of it.

Tagovailoa completed 24 of 27 passes for 318 yards and four touchdowns as the Crimson Tide held off Oklahoma 45-34 on Saturday night a College Football Playoff semifinal at the Orange Bowl.

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Alabama (14-0) reached the championship game for the fourth straight season and will again meet Clemson, a 30-3 winner over Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl earlier Saturday.

"They've got a great program and a great team," Alabama coach Nick Saban told reporters. "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."

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Tagovailoa completed his first nine passes for 184 yards,as the Crimson Tide rolled to a 28-0 lead. Overall, they racked up 528 yards of total offense.

"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."

Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray passed for 308 yards and ran for 109 -- but didn't throw his first completion until the Sooners were already in a 21-0 hole.

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

Alabama and Clemson have met in the postseason four years in a row. The Crimson Tide won 24-6 in the semifinals last year, and 45-40 in the 2016 championship game. The Tigers topped the Tide for the title by a 35-31 count two years ago.

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