Alabama sophomore running back T.J. Yeldon (4) rushes during the Crimson Tide’s first game of the season against Virginia Tech. Below: Alabama’s Jeoffrey Pagan tackles Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. | University of Alabama Athleics photos
Alabama sophomore running back T.J. Yeldon (4) rushes during the Crimson Tide’s first game of the season against Virginia Tech. | University of Alabama Athleics photos

Looking for a win

Published 12:02am Thursday, January 2, 2014

Alabama is looking to have a sweet taste in its mouth during the offseason as the Crimson Tide plays Oklahoma in the 2014 Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes Superdome in New Orleans tonight.

The Crimson Tide had to swallow a bitter pill during the final game of the regular season, in which arch rival Auburn scored a touchdown on a field goal return to win the Iron Bowl 34-28 with one second remaining in the game.

Fortunately for UA, it’s been in big games before.

Alabama has won the last three of four BCS National Championships. The last time the Sooners played for the Coach’s Trophy was in the 2000 title game, when they won over Florida State.

Offensively, this season has been a balanced attack for the Crimson Tide.

Alabama’s passing (2,843 total yards) and rushing (2,544 total yards) stats differential is 299 yards, compared to Oklahoma’s (2,240 passing and 2,830 rushing) 590.

Senior quarterback AJ McCarron has thrown for 2,676 yards and 26 touchdowns this season. His favorite receivers are freshman Amari Cooper (615 yards on 36 receptions) and juniors Kevin Norwood (538 yards on 36 receptions) and DeAndrew White (395 yards on 29 receptions).

Running the ball for Alabama is sophomore sensation T.J. Yeldon. Yeldon has 1,163 yards on 190 carries and scored 13 touchdowns entering tonight’s game.

Additionally, Kenyan Drake has put up good yardage this year, rushing for 694 yards on 27 carries and scored eight touchdowns.

For Oklahoma, quarterback Blake Bell has went 140-for-233 for 1,648 yards and 12 touchdowns this year in the air. Brennan Clay has rushed for 913 yards this season and scored six touchdowns. Teammates Dam. Williams has scored seven touchdowns and rushed for 553 yards.

Jalen Saunders leads the Sooners’ receiving corps with 654 yards on 56 receptions for six touchdowns.

Alabama’s defense has allowed an average of 11 points per game. The highest any team scored against the Crimson Tide was Texas A&M during a 49-42 victory. The Auburn loss was the second-highest.

Defensive leaders for Alabama are C.J. Mosley with 102 tackles (56 solo, 46 assists), Landon Collins with 61 tackles and Trey Depriest with 58 tackles.

Oklahoma’s top tackler is Frank Shannon, who has 85 going into the game. D. Alexander backs him up with 75.

The last time Alabama played in a bowl game other than the BCS National Championship was in 2010, in the Capital One Bowl.

Oklahoma played in the Cotton Bowl last season.

Kick off tonight is at 7:30 on ESPN.

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