Lincoln Riley 'Hungrier' to Stay at Oklahoma After CFP Loss to Alabama

Alabama defeats Sooners 45-34 in the Orange Bowl

Alabama defeats Sooners 45-34 in the Orange Bowl

Now, the Crimson Tide must turn their sights to a familiar foe in the College Football Playoff National Championship: Clemson.

In a matchup between the two highest-scoring offenses in the country, Oklahoma fell too far behind early. After one half of play, the Tide held a 31-10 lead and it easily could have been a larger lead if not for a few late penalties against Alabama. When Robert Barnes tried to stop Josh Jacobs in the open field, the Alabama running back lowered his head for the collision and continued to the end zone for a 27-yard score while the Sooners safety spun to the turf, dazed and briefly unable to get up. "I'm just thankful that we got back and has a better result", Swinney said. "Obviously it wasn't in the air, but I've always felt I could play in the NFL. I feel like [our quarterback] had a chip on his should because of the Heisman".

"I really haven't thought about it right now", said Murray, when asked of his future plans. "That's what we've been doing all year", Wilkins said.

Oklahoma's Kyler Murray and Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa have struck up a friendship over the past several weeks, which shouldn't be surprising considering how much time the quarterbacks have spent alongside one another in that span. You are practicing a lot with the scout team, but that's not Alabama. "It was fun. I mean, it was a heavy hitter just like we all expected", he said.

But if it was the last time he put on a helmet and shoulder pads, he left little doubt about why his decision between baseball and football became increasingly hard as the season went on. "But for me, I'm not a satisfied guy, so for me, the highlight would be winning a national championship".

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Sooners sophomore receiver CeeDee Lamb had a game-high eight receptions for 109 yards and one touchdown while seldom-used redshirt freshman Charleston Rambo had three receptions for 74 yards, including a 49-yard touchdown catch (sixth longest in OU bowl history).

"We're still on the rest of y'all (bus)", he said. In the four semifinals since, the Crimson Tide has outscored Michigan State, Washington, Clemson and Oklahoma by a combined score of 131-47.

ESPN says Alabama's 45-34 victory against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl on Saturday night drew a 10.4 overnight rating, peaking at 11.8 early in the first quarter when the Crimson Tide jumped out to a 14-point lead. Lawrence was 13 for 15 for 229 yards in the quarter. And the last thing a bowl game called the First Responder Bowl needs is to jeopardize the safety of the players, coaches, staff and fans who did make the trip to the game.

"I think the biggest key is you just can't get stagnant", said Riley. We just looked at each other in the eyes and knew that we wanted to go accomplish something, and luckily we did. Even the day after his surgery to fix the high-ankle sprain he suffered against Georgia, Tagovailoa told Allen, "I have to get back to help our team".

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