The Latest: Alabama rolls back to national title game
ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on the College Football Playoff Peach Bowl semifinal game between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Washington. All times local.
Alabama is going back to the national championship game.
The top-ranked Crimson Tide scored 10 points off turnovers, including Ryan Anderson’s interception return for a touchdown late in the first half, and Scarbrough’s 68-yard TD run in the fourth quarter clinched a 24-7 victory over Washington in the Peach Bowl semifinal.
Scarbrough finished with 180 yards and two scores.
Alabama will get a chance to defend its national title on Jan. 9 in Tampa, Florida. The Crimson Tide will face either Clemson or Ohio State.
SCORE ALERT: Alabama 24, Washington 7.
Bo Scarbrough busted loose with a tackle-breaking, elusive 68-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter. The backup tailback broke a couple of tackles in the backfield, eluded another and then cut inside for his second touchdown of the Peach Bowl.
Scarbrough has 14 carries for 175 yards and has supplied the bulk of the Tide’s offense. That includes both offensive touchdowns.
Washington didn’t go for it, after all.
The Huskies lined up on fourth down from their own 48 early in the fourth quarter, but quarterback Jake Browning punted. It was a nice one, too. Leading 17-7, Alabama was buried inside its own 5.
The Huskies scored on their opening drive and gained 103 yards in the first quarter. Washington managed just 52 total yards in the next two quarters. Browning passed for 15 yards in the second and third combined, 13 of them on that final drive of the third.
Alabama’s Jalen Hurts hasn’t had much luck, either. He has passed for 41 yards and run for 43 entering the fourth quarter.
Alabama starting defenders Minkah Fitzpatrick and Dalvin Tomlinson are both on the field in the second half after getting shaken up earlier.
They were hurt on the same play. Fitzpatrick is an All-American safety and Tomlinson a defensive lineman who’s also had a strong season opposite national defensive player of the year Jonathan Allen.
Alabama backup tailback Bo Scarbrough was one of the few offensive players producing big plays in a defense-dominated first half. Scarbrough gained 80 yards on nine carries, including an 18-yard touchdown.
The Tide leads 17-7.
Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts, the SEC offensive player of the year, was just 5-of-9 passing for 32 yards for Alabama and didn’t have any success running either.
Washington quarterback Jake Browning passed for 83 yards, completing 12 of 21 passes. But he had an interception returned for a touchdown with 1:13 left in the half.
Star receiver John Ross gained a modest 28 came in on five catches and lost a fumble. That led to a field goal, so turnovers set up 10 of Alabama’s points.
The Huskies didn’t force a turnover after coming in having produced a nation’s best 33 this season.
SCORE ALERT: Alabama 17, Washington 7
Alabama linebacker Ryan Anderson has scored the latest defensive touchdown for the Tide this season.
Anderson picked off a pass from Jake Browning, who was under heavy pressure, and raced 26 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter. It was the Tide’s 11th defensive touchdown of the season, easily leading the nation.
SCORE ALERT: Alabama 10, Washington 7
Alabama converted the game’s first turnover into a 41-yard Adam Griffith field goal one play into the second quarter. The Crimson Tide got the ball after Anthony Averett forced a fumble by John Ross. Jonathan Allen recovered.
It was only the sixth fumble Washington has lost this season.
SCORE ALERT: Washington 7, Alabama 7
That didn’t take long.
After Washington jumped to a 7-0 lead, Alabama answered right back with Bo Scarbrough’s tackle-breaking 18-yard touchdown.
The sophomore also had a big Southeastern Conference championship game against Florida in the Georgia Dome. He ran for 91 yards on 11 carries. The Tide went 78 yards in nine plays, mostly on the ground.
SCORE ALERT: Washington 7, Alabama 0
The two-touchdown underdog Washington Huskies have struck first.
Jake Browning tossed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Dante Pettis, son of former major league outfielder Gary Pettis, with 8:01 in the first quarter.
The Crimson Tide has fallen behind by small margins in three straight games: 7-0 to Florida, 3-0 to Auburn and 3-0 to Chattanooga. All three games ended as comfortable wins for Alabama with the teams managing a combined 18 points after that opening score.
Alabama won the toss and opted to put the nation’s top defense on the field first against quarterback Jake Browning and the Huskies. Ex-Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland of the Buffalo Bills went to midfield with the captains instead of Atlanta receiver Julio Jones.
Alabama fans chanted “Eddie” when injured safety Eddie Jackson went out for the coin toss.
Honorary captains for the Peach Bowl were former Alabama and current Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones and ex-Washington and NFL star Lawyer Milloy, joining the game captains at midfield for the coin toss.
In 2008, Jones became the first freshman receiver to start an opener for the Crimson Tide. He’s a four-time Pro Bowl selection who earned first-team All-Pro honors last season.
Milloy was also a four-time Pro Bowl pick and played a big role in the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl XXXVI Championship. As a sophomore, he became the first defensive back to lead the Huskies in tackles since Tony Bonwell in 1972.
Alabama is seeking a couple of milestones in the Peach Bowl against Washington.
A victory over the Huskies would give the senior class a four-year record of 51-5. Alabama shares the four-year win mark with last year’s Crimson Tide and Ohio State seniors and Chris Petersen’s Boise State group that finished up in 2011.
’Bama is also trying to match Southern California’s record 16-game win streak over ranked teams from 2002-05. The Tide is currently tied with Barry Switzer’s Oklahoma teams from 1973-75
The Tide has won 25 straight games.
The game is some 2,000 miles from Seattle and 200 from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. So it was no surprise that ’Bama players coming out for warmups were greeted by cheers and a few boos rained down on the Huskies, though the stadium was still filling in.
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