Meeting Clemson in the College Football Playoff championship game is becoming routine for Alabama.
The No. 1 Crimson Tide will face the Tigers for the national title on Monday, Jan. 7 after defeating No. 4 Oklahoma 45-34 on Saturday in the Orange Bowl semifinal in Miami Gardens, Florida.
No. 2 Clemson defeated No. 3 Notre Dame 30-3 in the Cotton Bowl earlier Saturday. Alabama defeated Clemson in the 2015 title game and lost to the Tigers the next year in title rematch. The Crimson Tide knocked off Clemson in last season’s CFP semifinal in the Sugar Bowl.
The Crimson Tide, making its fourth straight appearance in the CFP championship game, will play for its 18th overall national title and sixth since 2009. A national championship would give Alabama head coach Nick Saban seven for his career, which would put him ahead of former Crimson Tide coach Paul “Bear” Bryant for the all-time record.
The big concern for the Crimson Tide entering Saturday’s Orange Bowl was how well sophomore Heisman Trophy runner-up Tua Tagovailoa would perform after sustaining an ankle injury on Dec. 1 in the SEC Championship Game.
Tagovailoa answered those concerns with a perfect 8-for-8 passing effort for 158 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter to help Alabama storm out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead.
For the game, Tagovailoa was 24 of 27 passing for 318 yards and four touchdowns.
The other big concern for the Crimson Tide was keeping Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray in check. Alabama did just that in the first half, holding the Sooner quarterback to 6 of 13 passing for 122 yards. For the game, Murray was 19 of 37 for 308 yards and two touchdowns.