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The Latest: Clark the eagle finally lands at Cotton Bowl

December 29, 2018

The Latest on the College Football Playoff semifinals at the Cotton and Orange Bowls (all times EST):

4:25 p.m.

Clark the eagle has finally landed at the Cotton Bowl.

The eagle that flew during the national anthem Saturday before the playoff semifinal between Notre Dame and Clemson never made it to his designated landing spot on the opposite end of AT&T Stadium.

After bypassing his landing platform inside the stadium with the closed retractable roof, Clark returned almost to his takeoff spot. He landed on the shoulder of a Notre Dame fan clad in a green shirt a couple of sections from where he took off.

Clark took off again and flew to the other end of the stadium before doing a U-turn and landing on the outstretched arm of another fan. After a few seconds there, handler Daniel Cone retrieved Clark and got his leash back on him.

The small platform on the field where Clark was supposed to land was disassembled without him having made the scheduled stop.

It was the biggest stadium in which Clark has flown. Two years ago, Challenger the eagle had an uneventful flight before the Cotton Bowl.

— Schuyler Dixon from Arlington, Texas

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3:50 p.m.

Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, suspended by the NCAA for failing a test for performance-enhancing drugs, was on the field Saturday wearing an orange sweat shirt with the familiar tigers paw logo as his teammates warmed up for the Cotton Bowl against Notre Dame.

Lawrence tested positive for a banned substance, along with two teammates who are both reserves for the Tigers.

The school has said it plans to appeal the ruling in the hopes of getting the 340-pound Lawrence back if Clemson advances to the national championship game. The highly touted junior’s college career could be over as he would be eligible to declare for the 2019 NFL draft.

— Ralph Russo, Arlington, Texas

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3:25 p.m.

Outside, it’s dreary and overcast, with real-feel temperatures of near freezing.

Inside, under the bright lights of AT&T Stadium and with the retractable roof closed, conditions are perfect for the Cotton Bowl, the College Football Playoff semifinal between No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Notre Dame.

It is an unseasonably cool day in North Texas, with a forecast high Saturday of 40, about 16 degrees below average.

The Cotton Bowl moved from its namesake outdoor stadium on the grounds of the State Fair of Texas to the then-new $1.3 billion home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys nine years ago.

That move guaranteed no worries about game day weather and pretty much ensured the Cotton Bowl becoming part of the College Football Playoff rotation.

There is still a bowl played at Cotton Bowl Stadium, and on Wednesday a game between No. 23 Boise State and Boston College became what is believed to be the first bowl game called off because of weather. The SERVPRO First Responder Bowl was canceled because of the threat of severe weather after a delay of about 90 minutes. The game was stopped with BC leading 7-0 with 5:08 left in the first quarter.

—Stephen Hawkins, Arlington, Texas

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3:15 a.m.

Oklahoma and Notre Dame are standing in the way of Alabama-Clemson Part IV.

The College Football Playoff semifinals are Saturday, with the top-ranked Crimson Tide facing No. 4 Oklahoma at the Orange Bowl in South Florida and No. 2 Clemson playing No. 3 Notre Dame at the Cotton Bowl in North Texas.

The Tigers (13-0) and Fighting Irish (12-0) meet in the first game of the semifinal doubleheader. The Irish are making their first CFP appearance.

The nightcap will feature Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray of Oklahoma (12-1) against Heisman runner-up Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama (13-0) in a matchup of star quarterbacks.

The winners advance to the national championship game on Jan. 7 in Santa Clara, California. Alabama and Clemson have faced off in the last three playoffs, including splitting two title games.

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