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Porous Defense Biggest Hurdle For Oklahoma As They Face Alabama

by Daniel Gerbick on Friday, December 28th, 2018

oklahoma vs miami 2018 orange bowlThe Alabama Crimson Tide (13-0) takes on the Oklahoma Sooners (12-1) in the 2018 Orange Bowl, as two Heisman Trophy finalists square off at Hard Rock Stadium for a place in the CFP Championship.

The Sooners have the Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray leading their very proficient offense, but they have a terrible defense that allows 32.4 points per game and ranks dead last against the pass, allowing 291.4 yards per contest. That explains why they’re a 14-point underdog in this game despite having the best offense in the nation.

The Sooners not only face the second-best offense in the entire country, but Murray is going up against an Alabama defense that ranked fourth in scoring (allowing 14.85 points per game), 13th against the pass (178.38 passing yards allowed per game) and 18th against the run (allowing 117 rushing yards per game).

The Sooners’ main defensive headache is their secondary. Although they have a decent defensive front and capable linebackers their secondary is constantly allowing big plays.

Even though Heisman Trophy finalist Tua Tagovailoa has been dealing with an ankle injury, he’s expected to be ready come game time. Even if he can’t go on Saturday the Tide will probably be all right as they have a proven and capable back up in Jalen Hurts, who led the team to a 35-28 comeback victory against Georgia in the SEC Championship game.

Alabama’s defense has the talent to stop Murray and his offense at least in a couple of drives, but Oklahoma’s defense has been playing so poorly all season long that is highly unlikely they can stop the Tide from scoring at least a field goal on almost every drive.

This season only three teams (LSU, Mississippi St. and Georgia) held Alabama to 35 points or less and all of them had much better defenses than Oklahoma.

The Sooners may have enough firepower to score often, keep the game close, and cover the spread, but they will definitely not win this game unless their defensive staff found a magic way to solve all the issues that ailed them this season in just a matter of weeks.

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