MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Once again, it’s Alabama leading the charge.

The top-seeded Crimson Tide overpowered No. 4 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl on Saturday night by opening a 28-point lead early in the second quarter, then held off a couple rallies and beat the Sooners 45-34 to advance to the College Football Playoff championship game.

Alabama (14-0) will play No. 2 Clemson (14-0), which dismantled Notre Dame 30-3 in the other semifinal, on Jan. 7.

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw four touchdowns while completing 24 of 27 passes for 318 yards. His counterpart, Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, was 19 of 37 for 302 yards and two TDs.

The Tide scored touchdowns on each of their first four possessions, then sputtered a bit as Oklahoma rallied from 28-0 down. But Tagovailoa’s 10-yard touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith with 13:08 left stopped one Oklahoma rally and gave the Crimson Tide a 38-20 lead.

Murray’s 49-yard touchdown pass to Charleston Rambo with 3:03 left in the third quarter drew the Sooners within 31-20. It was Rambo’s first touchdown catch of the year, and by far his longest reception.

But the Sooners needed to stop the Tide offense but instead just continued to trade touchdowns late in the second half. Tagovailoa pushed the lead to 38-20 on a 6-yard pass to Smith before Murray’s 10-yard pass to CeeDee Lamb with 8:31 pulled the Sooners within 11 points again at 38-27.

Tagovailoa connected with Jerry Juedy for a touchdown, and Murray came right back with an 8-yard scoring run.

But with less than four minutes left, the Sooners still trailed 45-34.

Alabama just started so quickly.

Damien Harris barreled in from the 1-yard line for a 7-0 Crimson Tide lead, scoring one play after nearly fumbling the ball away to the Sooners. A lengthy review determined that Harris’ elbow was down before he lost possession, after officials initially said it was a fumble recovered by Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray and a takeaway for the Sooners.

Tagovailoa connected with Henry Ruggs III with 5:54 left in the opening quarter on a 10-yard touchdown pass for a 14-0 lead, then Harris got his second rushing score of the opening quarter, a 1-yard burst for a 21-0 lead.

Josh Jacobs caught a pass from Tagovailoa in the left flat and rumbled the rest of the way for a 27-yard touchdown with 13:01 left in the first half to gove the Tide a 28-0 edge.

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