Game analysis: No. 11 Oklahoma 45, No. 3 Alabama 31
by Marq Burnett
mburnett@annistonstar.com
Jan 03, 2014 | 2024 views |  0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alabama running back T. J. Yeldon (4) is taken down by Oklahoma defensive back Gabe Lynn (9) and Oklahoma defensive lineman Chuka Ndulue. The Alabama Crimson Tide played the Oklahoma Sooners in the 80th Annual Sugar Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.  (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
Alabama running back T. J. Yeldon (4) is taken down by Oklahoma defensive back Gabe Lynn (9) and Oklahoma defensive lineman Chuka Ndulue. The Alabama Crimson Tide played the Oklahoma Sooners in the 80th Annual Sugar Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
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Offense

Alabama’s offense came out firing with a quick touchdown on its first possession of the game, but cooled off for much of the first half. The Crimson Tide committed three first half turnovers, including two interceptions and one fumble.

Quarterback AJ McCarron was inconsistent and under constant pressure. The Tide’s offensive line often left McCarron on an island and the Sooners’ pass rush was able to get home on a few occassions. Alabama running back Derrick Henry and wide receivers DeAndrew White and Amari Cooper were the bright spots for this unit.

Defense

Alabama’s defense also started strong. The Tide picked off a Trevor Knight pass which lead to the team’s opening touchdown. But after that the Tide didn’t stop the Sooners again in the first half. Oklahoma scored points on its next five drives to take a 31-17 lead into halftime.

The 31 first half points were the most the Tide has allowed since 2003 against Ole Miss.

The Sooners hurt the Tide threw the air and on the ground and capitalized on every turnover and mistake the Tide made.

Special teams

The special teams unit returned a punt for a touchdown, but it was called back because of two blocks in the back.

Kicker Cade Foster missed a 32-yard field goal wide right after making his first attempt. The Tide’s coverage units were solid as usual.

Coaching

Alabama’s coaching staff had no answers for Oklahoma’s offense. The Tide’s players were out of position on multiple plays and were often beat for chunk yardage. This offseason, Nick Saban and his defensive staff will need to take a long hard look at how to handle situations when teams speed up the tempo.

Overall

Alabama was flat and Oklahoma just outplayed them. There are no excuses as to why the Tide played so poorly considering how much was riding on this game.

A contest like this could fuel the Tide going forward. The jury is still out on if we just witnessed the end of the Tide’s historic run.
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