But Alabama is college football's preeminent power for a reason, and it showed why after halftime, when the Crimson Tide defense forced the Sooners to punt on all four of its third-quarter drives.
Meanwhile, McCarron — the Heisman Trophy runner-up — and Alabama running back Derrick Henry began to find their offensive rhythm in the third, pulling within seven points of the Sooners entering the fourth quarter.
Oklahoma scored another touchdown on its first fourth-quarter drive, though, when Knight scrambled around and eventually found Sterling Shepard for a 9-yard score with about 10 minutes remaining.
Alabama scored again to pull within seven points, and had one more shot when it took over possession with a minute remaining on the game clock, but linebacker Eric Striker forced a McCarron fumble that Geneo Grissom returned for a game-clinching touchdown.
Knight finished completing 32 of 44 passes for 348 yards and four touchdowns.
The Sooners and Crimson Tide finished the season with identical 11-2 records.