No. 1 Alabama Football Wins 2016 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl over
No. 4 Washington, 24-7
December 31, 2016
ATLANTA, Ga. – Led by a Crimson Tide bowl-record 180 yards on
the ground from running back Bo Scarbrough and an opportunistic
and often stifling defense, the No. 1-ranked University of
Alabama football team won the College Football Playoff Semifinal
at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, 24-7, over No. 4 Washington
Saturday afternoon in front of a record crowd of 75,996 at the
Photo Credit - Kent Gidley
Alabama is now 14-0 on the season and extended its 26-game win
streak, the longest active streak in college football. With the
win, Alabama earned its 36th bowl victory, the most in collegiate
Scarbrough, the Peach Bowl Offensive Most Valuable Player,
opened and closed the Tide's scoring. He bulled his way 18 yards
into the end zone in the first quarter to tie things up with
Washington and then powered 68 yards early in the fourth quarter
to make it 24-7. In between he added nearly 100 yards rushing.
Senior linebacker Ryan Anderson, the Peach Bowl Defensive MVP,
scored Alabama's 11th defensive touchdown of the season in the
waning moments of the first half, intercepting a pass and
returning it 26 yards for a score.
Defensively, Alabama tallied five sacks of Washington quarterback
Jake Browning for losses totaling 38 yards, nabbed two
interceptions returned for 54 yards and one touchdown and had
seven tackles for losses totaling 48 yards. Junior cornerback
Anthony Averett led the Tide with six solo tackles, including a
13-yard sack and a forced fumble. Senior linebacker Reuben Foster
had nine total tackles with a team-best six assists.
Alabama won the toss and deferred its option to the second half.
Washington chose to receive the opening kickoff. The two teams
traded three-and-outs to start the game before the Huskies took
over on their own 36-yard line for their second possession of the
game. Washington marched 64 yards in eight plays to a touchdown,
scoring on a 16-yard pass from Browning to wide receiver Dante
Pettis. Place kicker Cameron Van Winkle tacked on the
point-after, putting Washington ahead, 7-0, with 7:56 left in
the first quarter.
Alabama answered Washington with a touchdown drive of its own
on the next possession. After starting with a two-yard run by
running back Damien Harris, quarterback Jalen Hurts threw a
sideline pass to tight end O.J. Howard for a first-down pickup
of 16 yards. Harris then rushed twice for a total of 11 yards
and another first down. Hurts then picked up another first down
with an 11-yard rush followed by a 12-yard, first-down rush by
Scarbrough that put the ball on the Washington 26. Hurts ran for
five more yards before Scarbrough closed out the possession with
a run of three yards, followed by a punishing 18-yard rush,
bulling his way into the end zone. Place kicker Adam Griffith's
point-after attempt was good and Alabama knotted the score at 7-7.
Washington was driving the ball on its next possession, picking
up 33 yards and two first downs before Alabama's Averett stripped
the ball from receiver John Ross following a seven-yard
completion, forcing a fumble that defensive end Jonathan Allen
recovered at the 50. Following the turnover, Alabama drove to the
Washington 23-yard line as the first quarter expired. Coming out
of the quarter break, Griffith came on for a 41-yard field goal
attempt, driving the ball through the uprights to put Alabama
ahead, 10-7 with 14:55 left in the first half. During the drive,
Hurts connected with wide receiver Calvin Ridley for a six-yard
reception. Hurts also ran the ball for five yards while Harris
rushed twice for 10 yards.
After running back Lavon Coleman ran for two yards to open
Washington's next drive, the Huskies lost yardage on the next
two plays with UA cornerback Tony Brown forcing a loss of seven
and defensive end Jonathan Allen forcing a loss of three on
consecutive pass plays, bringing up a three-and-out and a Huskies
Scarbrough opened the Tide's next possession with three
consecutive rushes that totaled 14 yards and a first down. After
running for a yard, Hurts tossed a sideline dart to wideout
Dieter Gehrig for 10 yards and a first down. The drive stalled
after that and punter JK Scott came out, hitting a 42-yard punt
that pinned the Huskies inside their 10-yard line.
A seven-yard Browning to Pettis completion opened Washington's
next series before the Huskies lost four yards on a sack by nose
guard Joshua Frazier. An incompletion on third down brought out
the Huskies' punt unit. The two teams proceeded to trade
three-and-outs over the next two possessions.
Scarbrough rumbled for 28 yards and two first downs on a pair of
carries to get Alabama's next possession started before an
intentional grounding penalty stalled the Tide's momentum. Scott
came on and punted the ball inside the Washington 10-yard line
for the next drive.
Starting on its four-yard line, Washington got a 16-yard rush on
a sweep from wideout Chico McClatcher to open the drive. Browning
added four more on the ground before completing a five-yard pass
to Ross. Running back K.J. Carta-Samuels then ran for three yards.
On the next play, Anderson picked off a Browning pass, returning
the interception 26 yards for a touchdown with 1:13 left in the
half. Griffith connected on the point-after attempt and Alabama
extended its lead to 17-7 with just over a minute left in the
second quarter. The pick-six was the Alabama defense's 11th
touchdown (by eight different players) of 2016.
After the kickoff, the Huskies began at their 25 following a
touchback. Washington ran six plays, gaining 14 yards in a minute
and 13 seconds to close the half.
In the first half, Hurts completed five passes on nine attempts
for 32 yards for Alabama while Scarbrough led all rushers with
80 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Howard led the Tide's
receiving corps with two catches for 19 yards. For Washington,
Browning was 12-of-21 passing for 83 yards with one interception.
Tailback Myles Gaskins had rushed for 25 yards on six carries and
had a team-leading three catches for 31 yards. Pettis had two
catches for 23 yards and a touchdown.
After opening the second half with a 25-yard kickoff return by
Tide wide receiver ArDarius Stewart, Hurts dashed for a 33-yard
pickup on the ground before giving the ball to Harris for three
yards on two carries. A pair of penalties moved Alabama back 10
yards to the Washington 49. A nine-yard Hurts to Howard pass
forced a fourth down and brought out Scott for a 40-yard punt.
Washington then went three and out, bringing Alabama back out on
offense. The Tide gained 12 yards and a first down on six plays
before punting the ball away with Scott again pinning Washington
inside its 10-yard line. The two teams went three-and-out over
the next two possessions.
After failing to move the ball on the first two plays of
Washington's next possession, Browning completed an 11-yard pass
to wide receiver Aaron Fuller followed by a two-yard completion
to Gaskin. Tailback Lavon Coleman ran for five more yards, moving
the ball to the Washington 43 as the third quarter closed. An
incompletion to start the fourth quarter brought up fourth down,
with Browning taking the snap and punting 50 yards to the Alabama
Starting at it two-yard line, Alabama gained one yard on its
first two plays before Scarbrough burst through for 12 yards
and a first down. A Hurts to Howard toss picked up 16 more
followed by a one-yard rush by Hurts. Scarbrough, touching the
ball for the second time in the drive, powered his way 68 yards
to the end zone and another score, breaking two tackles on the
weaving run. Griffith's PAT was good and Alabama pushed its lead
to 24-7 with 11:47 left in the fourth period.
Washington picked up eight yards on six plays on a set of downs
that included a five-yard Allen sack of Browning. Alabama went
three-and-out on its next possession before Washington closed
out its next set of downs with a 13-yard sack of Browning by
Stewart opened Alabama's last offensive possession with a
nine-yard carry, which was followed by three successive
Scarbrough runs, gaining a total of seven yards. A five-yard run
by Hurts on third down brought the Tide a yard short of a new set
of downs. Alabama went for it on fourth down, coming up short and
turning the ball over on downs.
Washington took to the air late in the quarter, with Browning
hitting Fuller for pickups of 16 and 12 yards, moving to the
Alabama 27. A fourth-down heave toward the end zone by Browning
resulted in Alabama's second interception of the game, which
strong safety Minkah Fitzpatrick returned 28 yards from the end
zone, effectively ending the game.
The Crimson Tide advances to the College Football Playoff
Championship Game for the second year in a row and will face
the Clemson Tigers on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, at Raymond James
Stadium in Tampa, Fla. The game will be aired on ESPN at 8:30 pm