No. 1 Alabama outlasts No. 7 Florida in SEC title game
Najee Harris caught three touchdown passes and ran for two more scores Saturday night as No. 1 Alabama secured its place in the College Football Playoff semifinals with a 52-46 win over No. 7 Florida in the Southeastern Conference championship game.
Harris ran for 178 yards on 31 carries while catching five passes for 67 yards. Mac Jones completed 33 of 43 passes for 418 yards and five touchdowns with one interception, and DeVonta Smith added 15 catches for 184 yards with two scores.
Despite those gaudy numbers, the Crimson Tide couldn’t relax until the very end. The Gators (8-3) sliced a 35-17 halftime deficit to 35-31 in the third quarter as Kyle Trask hit Trevon Grimes for a 50-yard scoring strike and Nay’Quan Wright added a 3-yard touchdown run.
But Harris put the Crimson Tide (11-0) up by two scores with 11:29 left in the fourth quarter with a 1-yard scoring plunge that saw him land on the back of a defender and extend the ball just across the goal line’s plane. He was ruled short of the goal line, but the call was overturned after review.
Trask then made his only mistake of the game, fumbling as he was being sacked by Will Anderson. Tim Smith recovered at the Florida 10 and Will Reichard cashed it in with a 20-yard field goal for a 45-31 advantage with 9:53 left.
After the Gators closed within seven points on a 1-yard touchdown run by Dameon Pierce with 6:33 remaining, Alabama restored a two-score margin on Jones’ 15-yard dart over the middle to Smith at the 4:59 mark.
Trask found Kyle Pitts for a 22-yard touchdown with 2:07 on the clock, then converted a 2-point run. But Florida didn’t get the ball back until 16 seconds were left, and Trask was sacked for the fifth time in the game by Christian Harris to wrap it up.
Except for his lost fumble, Trask was brilliant, completing 26 of 40 passes for 408 yards and three scores. Kadarius Toney (8 catches, 153 yards, 1 TD) and Pitts (7 for 129, 1 TD) combined for 15 catches for 282 yards and two scores.
–Field Level Media