After a thrilling Rose Bowl that provided as many points as some big-time college basketball games, the Sugar Bowl quickly turned into a defensive battle that didn’t provide the same type of point-scoring drama.
In the middle of the third quarter, fans who had been treated to Georgia 54, Oklahoma 48 in the Rose Bowl, were looking at Alabama 10, Clemson 6 in the Sugar. And apparently social media likes its football high scoring.
For Crimson Tide fans, though, this type of football had to be exactly what they hoped to see.
Alabama, which has played a lot of the season without all of its troops, showed up to the semifinals fairly healthy and looked like a team worthy of the College Football Playoff (sorry, Ohio State). The Crimson Tide dominated the line of scrimmage and eventually started to dominate the game, using two turnovers in the third quarter to bust open a tight game.
Eventually, Alabama beat Clemson 24-6 to force an all-SEC national championship next week with Georgia’s Bulldogs in Atlanta.
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The big man did it
The game turned with Clemson trailing 10-6 and driving in the third quarter for what looked like a go-ahead score. Alabama lineman Da’Ron Payne, a former Under Armour All-American, intercepted a Clemson pass to stop a Tigers drive. On Alabama’s ensuing drive, he reported into the game on offense and caught a short pass and scored for a 17-6 lead.
It had the feeling of former Clemson star William “Refrigerator” Perry scoring for the Chicago Bears in the ‘80s.
And just after Payne’s big plays, Alabama got a Pick 6 that gave the Crimson Tide an 18-point lead -- and with the way Bama’s defense was playing, the game was effectively over.
Late start times
Fans were upset about the late starting time for the Sugar Bowl. The Rose Bowl started at its usual 5 p.m. start time and the Sugar Bowl hadn’t reached the fourth quarter, even when the clock was well past 11 in the East.
There are probably many youngsters who had to go to bed.
The game didn’t end until 12:22 am in the East.