No. 4 Alabama dominates No. 1 Clemson 24-6 in Sugar Bowl

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No. 4 Alabama dominates No. 1 Clemson 24-6 in Sugar Bowl
No. 4 Alabama dominates No. 1 Clemson 24-6 in Sugar Bowl

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – A pair of Alabama defensive players scored touchdowns 13 seconds apart in the third quarter, and the No. 4 Crimson Tide dominated top-ranked Clemson 24-6 in the Sugar Bowl semifinal game Monday night to give coach Nick Saban another shot at his record sixth national title.

The third straight playoff meeting between the college football powerhouses was a dud compared to their previous two meetings, both high-scoring classics with the national championship on the line.

Without Deshaun Watson, Clemson (12-2) simply has no answer for Saban’s latest group of defensive standouts, sending Alabama (12-1) to an all-Southeastern Conference showdown against Georgia next Monday night in Atlanta.

Da’Ron Payne, a 308-pound defensive lineman, hauled in a 1-yard touchdown pass to put the Tide ahead 17-6. On Clemson’s next play, Kelly Bryant’s pass deflected off the hands of his receiver and was picked off by Mack Wilson, who returned it 18 yards for a clinching touchdown.

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Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney talks to his team in the second half of the Sugar Bowl semi-final playoff game against Clemson for the NCAA college football national championship, in New Orleans, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Alabama linebacker Terrell Lewis (24) reacts after nearly intercepting a pass in the second half of the Sugar Bowl semi-final playoff game against Clemson for the NCAA college football national championship, in New Orleans, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Alabama defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand (9) celebrates his sack in the second half of the Sugar Bowl semi-final playoff game against Clemson for the NCAA college football national championship, in New Orleans, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Alabama players pile on defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne, who was used in an offensive play, after he caught a touchdown reception in the second half of the Sugar Bowl semi-final playoff game against Clemson for the NCAA college football national championship, in New Orleans, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
in the second half of the Sugar Bowl semi-final playoff game for the NCAA college football national championship, in New Orleans, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant (2) is brought down by Alabama linebacker Anfernee Jennings (33) in the second half of the Sugar Bowl semi-final playoff game for the NCAA college football national championship, in New Orleans, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant (2) is sacked by Alabama defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand (9) in the second half of the Sugar Bowl semi-final playoff game for the NCAA college football national championship, in New Orleans, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Alabama linebacker Mack Wilson (30) celebrates with teammates after returning an interception for a touchdown in the second half of the Sugar Bowl semi-final playoff game against Clemson for the NCAA college football national championship, in New Orleans, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant (2) is sacked by Alabama defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand in the second half of the Sugar Bowl semi-final playoff game for the NCAA college football national championship, in New Orleans, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
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