Alabama Pounds Washington in 24-7 Win to Reach National Title Game


Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough sure is going to miss the Georgia Dome.

Four weeks after his two-touchdown performance here in a win over Florida in the Southeastern Conference championship game, Scarbrough and the No. 1 Crimson Tide returned to the soon-to-be demolished dome on Saturday and defeated No. 4 Washington, 24-7, in the Peach Bowl, one of the College Football Playoff semifinals.

With the win, Alabama (14-0) advanced to the national title game on Jan. 9 in Tampa, Fla., where it will play for its second consecutive championship and its fifth in eight years. The Crimson Tide will face Clemson, which defeated Ohio State, 31-0, in the Fiesta Bowl, the other semifinal, on Saturday night.

On Saturday afternoon, Scarbrough, a sophomore from Northport, Ala., who had struggled with injuries and had been a backup for much of the season, was practically unstoppable, as he swerved past defenders and barreled through those he did not manage to evade. He finished with two touchdowns and 180 yards, a career high. Scarbrough had entered the game ranked fourth on the Alabama roster in rushing yards.

“Bo has really played well for us, especially the second half of the season, when he got healthy,” Alabama Coach Nick Saban said. “We’ve been playing him more and more, and he has certainly delivered in a really positive way.”

Referring to his health, Scarbrough said: “I didn’t let it get to my head. So I just kept working and working, and I overcame the injuries.”

Scarbrough’s scores were more than enough to support Alabama’s top-ranked defense, which intercepted two passes by Washington’s star quarterback, Jake Browning, and limited him to 150 yards passing and one touchdown. The Huskies’ offense, which entered the game averaging 466 yards, managed just 194 in the Peach Bowl, a season low.

“That’s as good of a defense as there is out there in college football,” Washington Coach Chris Petersen said. “And they played like it.”

Early in the game, some Alabama jitters made the Tide’s path to Tampa seem a little less certain.

Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts’s first pass of the game was nearly intercepted, but a Washington defender bobbled the ball, and it hit the ground.

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SOURCE: NY Times, R. J. Rico