By: Associated Press
January 2, 2018
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The No. 4 Crimson Tide dominated top-ranked Clemson 24-6 in the Sugar Bowl semifinal game Monday night to give coach Nick Saban another shot at his record sixth national title.
The third straight playoff meeting between the college football powerhouses was a dud compared to their previous two meetings, both high-scoring classics with the national championship on the line.
Without Deshaun Watson, Clemson simply had no answer for Saban's latest group of defensive standouts.
Da'Ron Payne, a 308-pound defensive lineman, hauled in a 1-yard touchdown pass to put the Tide ahead 17-6. On Clemson's next play, Kelly Bryant's pass deflected off the hands of his receiver and was picked off by Mack Wilson, who returned it 18 yards for a clinching touchdown.
It will be an all-SEC game for the National Championship in Atlanta next Monday as Alabama and Georgia face off. Third-ranked Georgia outlasted No. 2 Oklahoma to win the Rose Bowl, but the Bulldogs' victory in Pasadena was a little tougher.
Sony Michel ran for 181 yards and three scores for the Bulldogs, who scored 24 straight points to take a 38-31 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Nick Chubb added 145 yards rushing, providing a 50-yard TD in the third quarter and a two-yard burst that tied the game with 55 seconds left in regulation.
Oklahoma quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught a touchdown pass that gave the Sooners a 17-point lead with 6 seconds left in the first half.