the no. 1 alabama crimson tide punched their ticket to the college football playoff national championship game for the second straight season on Saturday as they defeated world no. 4 washington huskies, 24/7, in the peach bowl at the georgia dome in atlanta.
bama improved his undefeated record to 14-0 due in large part to his dominant defense, which forced three turnovers and limited the Huskies’ potent offense to just 194 total yards.
Reading: Alabama and washington football game
Sophomore running back Bo Scarbrough was the offensive star of the Tide, as he rushed for 180 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, and wore down Washington’s defense over the course of the contest. p>
according to statistics from espn & info, it was an unprecedented performance for scarbrough in alabama bowling history :
Tensions were high before the game when the Alabama captains opted not to shake hands with Washington after the coin toss, which could possibly have contributed to the huskies’ strong start.
after a pair of 3-pointers and outs, washington moved down the field in alabama to the beat of an eight-play, 64-yard drive that culminated in quarterback jake browning finding wide receiver dante pettis for a 16-touchdown yards to help take a 7-0 lead, as seen in this video courtesy of espn collegefootball:
that score continued the trend of bama falling behind early in games, but as espn’s brett mcmurphy pointed out, it hadn’t stemmed the tide in previous instances:
Delaying seemed to wake Alabama up, which was evident when the Crimson Tide Offensive made its way to Washington on the ensuing trip.
bama made a 78-yard foray down the field look easy, as rugged running back damien harris and rookie quarterback jalen hurts primarily moved the ball along the ground.
The bruise scar is an opposing tackler’s worst nightmare, and that was on full display when he blasted his way through several huskies en route to the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown to help tie the contest, as seen in this gif. from the sec network:
washington entered the game knowing it needed to play error-free football, but failed to do so on its next possession as wide receiver john ross was stripped of the ball in his own territory. he was recovered by potential no. 1 overall pick in the 2017 nfl draft in bama defensive lineman jonathan allen.
That gave the Crimson Tide a short field, and while Washington struggled to avoid a touchdown, kicker Adam Griffith gave Alabama its first lead at 10-7 with a 41-yard field goal.
The Huskies continued to struggle on offense for the rest of the first half, but their defense kept them going by keeping Alabama from increasing their three-point lead.
washington took the ball from its own 4-yard line with just two minutes remaining in the second quarter, and while it had a chance to tie the game or take the lead with a big drive, excessive aggressiveness may have been its downfall.
browning threw a weak pass to the outside while under pressure, and alabama’s lauded defense took advantage, as senior linebacker ryan anderson intercepted it and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown with 1:13 remaining to the half weather, via espn collegefootball :
according to statistics from espn & information, which added to Alabama’s reputation as one of the most prolific teams in recent history in terms of scoring non-offensive touchdowns:
That grueling play put the Huskies down 17-7 going into the locker room, which has often proved an insurmountable deficit against the Crimson Tide.
according to sportscenter, a double-digit lead through two quarters had essentially meant an automatic win for alabama during the course of head coach nick saban’s tenure with the team:
Despite having momentum on their side, Alabama couldn’t get out of their own way offensively in the third quarter.
The tide cleared on all three pitches, he committed several penalties and almost lost the ball on an error by the injured, although they were able to recover.
According to yahoo sports’ pat forde, multiple factors contributed to alabama’s inability to make anything work offensively:
While the Huskies defense was in good shape, their offense was also stagnant as they totaled just 10 yards in the fourth.
washington pinned alabama deep on their own 2-yard line to start the fourth quarter and seemed poised to win the ball back in excellent field position, but the tide turned to what worked best in the first half by handing him the ball to scarbrough .
after coming forward for a 12-yard gain on third down to keep the going, scarbrough went the distance on a 68-yard run that showcased the speed and dodgeability he possesses in addition to his sheer power, through the sec network :
Based on scarbrough’s effectiveness, greg biggins of fox sports suggested alabama should have given washington an even bigger dose of the beastly back:
That scoreline left Washington in dire straits trailing 24-7, and it couldn’t find an offensive rhythm for the rest of the game as Alabama shut it down in dominant fashion.
alabama now has more than a week to prepare for the national title game, where it will face the party bowl winner of world no. 2 clemsons and no. 3 state of ohio.
The Crimson Tide has been widely regarded as the best team in college football all season, and while they got the job done against a strong Washington team on Saturday, there’s a lot to clean up before the championship game.
Alabama’s offense struggled to move the ball consistently under Florida Atlantic offensive coordinator and new head coach Lane Kiffin, while discipline was also an issue with 11 team penalties from saban.
bama proved once again that they are the most dominant defensive team in the nation, and that is the main reason why they are the favorite to win it all.
alabama vs. Washington looked like a mismatch on paper, and it played out that way on Saturday. few teams are capable of riding the tide, but allen suggested after the game that the huskies were nowhere near bama level, according to mcmurphy:
however, after mcmurphy’s tweet was published, allen insisted that he never called washington “soft”:
saban was diplomatic in his postgame comments, choosing to focus on his team’s success rather than washington’s problems.
He was especially complimentary of scarbrough and his performance, and spoke about the concerted effort to get the gifted back to become more involved, according to kevin cunningham of saturdaydownsouth.com:
bo has been playing pretty well for us the last three or four games. we wanted to play it more. it is difficult to approach. it is big and powerful. he’s playing with a lot of confidence and he did a great job for us today. we have to prepare for another game and take advantage of the opportunities we have.
arguably the biggest play of the game occurred late in the first half when anderson intercepted browning and returned him for a touchdown, and the washington quarterback took full responsibility for the error by addressing the media , according to christian caple of tacoma news. Tribune:
Washington head coach chris petersen knew what his team was up against going into the game and wasn’t surprised the alabama defense performed so well, according to 247sports’ charlie potter:
Although the result was disappointing for the Huskies, 2016 represented a step forward with a pac-12 title and a berth in the college football playoff.
according to adam jude of the seattle times, petersen believes expectations will be higher for washington moving forward after making so much progress as a program:
I mean, but I think when you step back and look at the big picture, the bar has moved up, it’s moved forward. the children know it. I think we’re back to square one, square one, square zero in a few weeks when we start training again.
That’s what we noticed last year with these guys: They had a chip on their shoulder and there was a mindset that didn’t go away for the entire season in a year.
And I think I hope they’ve gained a lot of confidence this season, but I think there are also some lessons to be learned in this game, you know, what we have to do to really compete at this elite level.
washington couldn’t do anything offensively outside of their second drive of the game and was completely outmatched against bama’s defense, but petersen has seemingly put the huskies in position to be in the national conversation on a regular basis in the future.
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