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Oklahoma vs Alabama Live Week 18

Oklahoma vs Alabama The College Football Playoff matchups are set and top-ranked Alabama will face No. 4 Oklahoma in Miami on December 29.

In this playoff edition of Alabama Head to Head, AL.com’s Lauren Sisler and WJOX’s Jim Dunaway discuss the challenges the Crimson Tide will face against Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray and the Sooner offense. Oklahoma hasn’t scored less than 28 points during head coach Lincoln Riley’s two year tenure.

Kickoff is set for 7:00pm CT.

Kenyan Drake takes back seat again in Miami Dolphins’ running game
Updated 11:07 PM; Posted 11:07 PM

Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake carries the football during an NFL game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini) (minabinett@al.com)

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By Mark Inabinettminabinett@al.com
Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake led the NFL in rushing during the final month of the 2017 season. But during the offseason, the Dolphins signed Frank Gore, and the nine-time 1,000-yard rusher became Miami’s top ball-carrier this season.

That’s even though entering Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, Drake had scored four of Miami’s six rushing touchdowns and led the team with nine total touchdowns, including the 52-yard run with a lateral as time expired the previous week in the “Miami Miracle” to beat the New England Patriots.

Last season, it took the trade of Jay Ajayi and an injury to Damien Williams to get Drake into position to run for 444 yards on 91 carries in five December games.

Against Minnesota on Sunday, Gore suffered a foot injury in the first half, leaving the Dolphins to turn to — Kalen Ballage?

The rookie entered Sunday’s game with eight carries for 11 yards in his NFL career. Against the Vikings, he ran for 123 yards on 12 carries, including a 75-yard touchdown sprint.

Drake had one carry for 6 yards, although the former Alabama standout played two more snaps than Ballage and caught three passes against Minnesota.

“This is December 2018, it’s not December 2017,” Drake told reporters in the Dolphins’ locker room on Monday, “so whatever decision the coach kind of rolls with, it is what it is. That’s why he gets paid. He gets paid to make those type of decisions, and I get paid to play ball. So that’s what I’m going to focus on.”

Miami coach Adam Gase said during his Monday press conference that the choice of Ballage to replace Gore as the No.1 ball-carrier on Sunday seemed to work out OK.

“It’s just kind of how it went with the carries and touches where Ballage was playing fairly well, and we had some protection issues early where they both took their turns,” Gase said. “It just kind of worked out the way it did. There were a couple of times where we tried to dial some stuff up for Kenyan, but we either allowed a sack or a pressure or something broke down to where we couldn’t get the ball to him.”

Alabama NFL roundup: Derrick Henry runs over Giants
Alabama NFL roundup: Derrick Henry runs over Giants

On the 15th Sunday of the NFL’s 2018 season, 32 Alabama alumni got on the field.

Drake entered the game on the Dolphins’ injury report with a shoulder problem, and he said he got an ankle “twisted up” against Minnesota. But Drake said that’s “not an excuse for anything,” and Gase said he didn’t think Drake’s health had anything to do with what transpired on Sunday.

Drake said he “played the worst game of the season” on Sunday.

“I didn’t play up to my capabilities,” Drake said. “I had a lot of mental busts. You can’t do that in a situation where there’s a dire need for the team to go out there and be successful. They count on me to make plays — and not just with the ball, but without the ball. So I failed to do my job.”

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Reports indicate Gore, fourth on the NFL’s all-time rushing list, will miss the Dolphins’ final two regular-season games because of a foot sprain.

On Monday, Gase said he’d start planning for the division of Gore’s work on Wednesday, when practice resumes and he’d have a better handle on Gore’s status.

Drake praised Ballage after Sunday’s game.

“I’m so proud of that kid because all he does is work hard in practice,” Drake said. “Gives his best effort, shows up, finishes with the ball every time he has the ball in practice. It shows in the game, so he has a bright future in this league.”

Ballage’s big game didn’t do much for the Dolphins on Sunday, though. The Vikings steamrolled Miami 41-17, leaving the Dolphins with a 7-7 record and games against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday and Buffalo Bills on Dec. 30 left on their schedule.

Minkah Fitzpatrick score his first NFL touchdown
Minkah Fitzpatrick score his first NFL touchdown

The former Alabama All-American returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown for the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Miami entered Week 15 of the season as one of four AFC teams with 7-6 records chasing the final wild-card spot in the conference’s postseason field. The other three won on Sunday, leaving the Dolphins one game behind the Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans with two to play.

“We’ve got to look ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves: ‘How do we want to finish the season?’” Drake said.

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