Three Things You Need to Know about Alabama’s Sugar Bowl Win over Clemson
For the third consecutive season, Alabama’s football season will conclude with an opportunity to win a national championship.
New Year’s Night saw No. 4 Alabama utilize a suffocating defense while generating enough offense to dispatch No. 1 Clemson 24-6 in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
While the Crimson Tide’s matchup against No. 3 Georgia isn’t until Monday, let’s revisit three things that you need to know about Alabama’s win over Clemson in New Orleans.
Third Down Success
In the prior two losses to Auburn and Clemson, Alabama struggled to move the chains on third downs while seeing opposing offenses advance the sticks.
Going back to November’s loss at Auburn, Alabama’s offense converted only three of 11 opportunities on third down while Auburn converted nine of their 18 third down opportunities.
When Clemson and Alabama played for the national championship in Tampa last year, Clemson advanced the sticks on seven of their 18 third down tries while Alabama was just two of 15 on third down.
The Crimson Tide’s fortunes changed in Monday’s win against Clemson. Although Clemson moved the chains on eight of their 19 third down opportunities, Alabama dramatically improved their third down fortunes by converting eight of their 17 on third down tries.
The first half was especially fruitful for Jalen Hurts and the Alabama offense as they were successful on five of their first nine chances on third down.
Turnovers Key to Alabama’s Win
While Alabama’s defense hasn’t been quite as opportunistic this season in scoring touchdowns as they were last year, two turnovers in the third quarter helped put Clemson away for good.
Da’Ron Payne and Mack Wilson each recorded interceptions in the third quarter which led to both of the Crimson Tide’s second half touchdowns.
Wilson’s pick-six was the first of his career and the second for the defense in the 2017 season.
Since the beginning of the 2015 season, Nick Saban’s defense has recorded at least one turnover in 41 of their last 43 games.
School-Record Scoring Streak Marches Forward
Alabama’s 24 points against Clemson extended the program’s scoring streak to a record 226 games over the course of three coaching tenures.
The last time that the Crimson Tide was shutout in a game was a 9-0 loss to Auburn in Mike Dubose’s last game as Alabama’s head coach in 2000.
Presently, Florida has the longest active streak in the SEC and FBS at 372 games. The Gators were last blanked on the scoreboard by Pat Dye’s Auburn Tigers in 1988.