Oklahoma Sooners (4) are facing off with the Alabama Crimson Tide (1) tonight at the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl. This will be the sixth meeting between Oklahoma and Alabama with the Sooners holding the lead with a 3-1-1 record.
I am expecting the game to be a high scoring game with Oklahoma and Alabama being the two top offensive teams in the country this year. OU ranks first in the country in scoring offense (49.5 ppg), total offense (577.9 ypg), yards per play (8.7) and passing efficiency rating (200.6). Alabama ranks second in scoring offense (47.9 ppg), yards per play (7.9) and passing efficiency rating (200.3), and seventh in total offense (527.6 ypg).
It is the quarterbacks that have been the most recent conversations. Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray threw for more than 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in the 2018 regular season. In December 2018, Murray was awarded the prestigious Heisman Trophy as the best college football player in the country, giving OU back-to-back Heisman winners. I am expecting great things from Murray tonight despite recent reports Kyler Murray has been a little under the weather the last few days.
Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa was this year’s runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. It was the high ankle sprain in the SEC Championship Game against Georgia that most likely cost him the trophy. Since the injury, Tua Tagovailoa has undergone ankle arthroscopy and repair of the ligament.
A high ankle sprain is different from a standard ankle sprain that most of us have experienced at some point in our lives. A high ankle sprain involves the ligaments that make up the “syndesmosis” (pronounced SIN-des-MOE-sis). The syndesmosis sits just above the ankle joint and lies between the tibia and fibula. It is designed to work as a shock absorber and to keep the two bones from splaying apart from each other. High ankle sprains occur from sudden twisting injuries, which occur commonly in contact and cutting sports. When the syndesmosis is sprained, it can be very painful with every step. The injury itself does not usually cause a lot of swelling or bruising and it does not usually “look bad”, which makes it more difficult to understand the severity of the injury and the rehab required to treat the injury. No bracing will treat or prevent this type of injury. The high ankle sprain is typically treated with the same treatment principles as for the common ankle sprain: Rest, ice, compression, and elevation – the RICE protocol. If the ligament is severely sprained or even torn, a screw is sometimes placed between the tibia and fibula to hold the two bones together to allow for the ligament to scar and heal. Athletes will typically return to play within 4- 6 weeks, but about half will experience symptoms for up to 6 months.
Tua Tagovailoa had surgery on his ankle approximately four weeks ago and is expected to be playing tonight against Oklahoma. While I wish him the best in his recovery and in his future, I will be cheering on my Sooners tonight.