Sugar Bowl 2014 Oklahoma vs. Alabama: Live Game Grades, Analysis for the Tide

Sanjay KirpalaniNational Recruiting AnalystJanuary 2, 2014

Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide will face Oklahoma in the 2014 Sugar Bowl, which is the first meeting between these two schools since 2003.
Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide will face Oklahoma in the 2014 Sugar Bowl, which is the first meeting between these two schools since 2003.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

No. 11 Oklahoma defeated No. 3 Alabama 45-31 in the 2014 Sugar Bowl. Check out the analysis and final grades here. 

Oklahoma 45, Alabama 31, Final

For the full box score, check out

Alabama Crimson Tide Game Grades
Positional UnitFirst-Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass OffenseBC
Rush OffenseCC
Pass DefenseDF
Rush DefenseCC
Special TeamsCC
vs. Oklahoma, 2014 Sugar Bowl

First half analysis for the Alabama Crimson Tide

Pass Offense: The theme of the night has been big plays. Amari Cooper and DeAndrew White are having a field day against Oklahoma’s secondary. AJ McCarron has thrown for 301 yards and a score, but his two picks loom large in the Tide’s two score deficit.

Run Offense: Offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier favored the pass early, and the Tide struggled to get a rhythm going on the ground. T.J. Yeldon’s red zone fumble punctuated a mostly lethargic half for the Tide’s rushing attack.

Pass Defense: The Tide’s secondary issues are still evident after allowing Trevor Knight, a quarterback known more for his running ability, to carve them up to the tune of 206 yards and three scores.

Run Defense: Oklahoma hasn’t put up gaudy numbers on the ground, but they have been effective getting chunks of yards when they do run. The Sooners have netted 64 yards on 14 carries.

Special Teams: Alabama’s kickoff coverage units held Roy Finch in check. Christion Jones had a nice kickoff return near the end of the half. Cade Foster split his two field goal attempts.

Coaching: Nick Saban’s defense clearly is on its heels against an aggressive and motivated Oklahoma offense. The Tide will have to make adjustments to counter the Sooners’ hurry-up, no huddle attack.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 02:  Jarrick Williams #20 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after being called for a foul against the Oklahoma Sooners during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 2, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Final analysis for the Alabama Crimson Tide

Pass Offense: Alabama struggled to continue its success through the air in the second half. Oklahoma recorded seven sacks of McCarron, with five coming in the second half and the last resulting in a forced fumble that Oklahoma returned for a score.

Run Offense: True freshman Derrick Henry announced his presence in a major way with a 43-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter. Still, Henry’s play was the lone bright spot in an otherwise inept showing by Alabama’s rushing standards.

Pass Defense: The Tide’s pass defense had their worst showing since Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M lit them up in September. Trevor Knight consistently found open receivers who won their individual battles against Alabama’s defensive backs in a decisive manner.

Run Defense: Oklahoma didn’t come close to its season average of 235 yards rushing. However, they were able to effectively move the ball in spurts enough to keep the Tide’s defense honest. Knight’s mobility was also huge in extending plays.

Special Teams: A penalty negated a huge punt return by Christion Jones, who still enjoyed an otherwise solid game. Punter Cody Mandell had a nice effort averaging nearly 44 yards per punt.

Coaching: Oklahoma’s tempo offense and five turnovers doomed the Tide’s chances to avoid a second straight defeat. Overall, it was another atypical performance from a Nick Saban-coached outfit.