Top 25 roundup: No. 3 Alabama stuns No. 1 Georgia in SEC title game
Bryce Young passed for 421 yards and three touchdowns, and No. 3 Alabama punched its ticket to the College Football Playoff in a 41-24 upset of No. 1 Georgia on Saturday in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game in Atlanta.
A betting favorite in 93 straight previous games, the touchdown-underdog Crimson Tide (12-1) tallied on five straight series against the nation’s No. 1 overall defense — a Georgia unit that overpowered the opposition in allowing fewer than 231 yards of total offense and 6.9 points per game.
A top Heisman Trophy candidate, Young finished 26 of 44 without an interception. He rushed three times for 40 yards and a touchdown.
Jameson Williams notched seven receptions for 184 yards and two scores, and John Metchie III caught six passes for 97 yards and a TD before getting injured late in the first half. He did not return against the Bulldogs (12-1).
No. 2 Michigan 42, Iowa 3
Hassan Haskins ran for two touchdowns and the Wolverines pulled away in the second half for a victory over the Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference championship game in Indianapolis, likely securing a first-ever playoff berth for Michigan.
Haskins capped an 82-yard drive with a 4-yard run to put the Wolverines up 21-3 with 8:23 left in the third quarter. His 1-yard run early in the fourth quarter was his 20th rushing touchdown of the season, surpassing the previous single-season record of 19 set by Ron Johnson in 1968.
Iowa, 13th in the playoff rankings, had just one field goal to show for three trips into the red zone. The Hawkeyes (10-3) had 121 yards of total offense in the first quarter, but just 158 the rest of the way.
No. 4 Cincinnati 35, No. 21 Houston 20
The Bearcats likely secured their place in history with an impressive second half against the Cougars in the American Athletic Conference championship game.
Cincinnati (13-0) will learn Sunday if it is the first school outside a Power Five conference (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12 and SEC) to be selected for the College Football Playoff since its inception in 2014. Baylor’s victory over No. 5 Oklahoma State in the Big 12 earlier in the day bodes well for Cincinnati being selected for the CFP since the Bearcats defeated No. 6 Notre Dame 24-13 in October — at Notre Dame, no less.
Desmond Ridder, who finished his career 26-0 at home as a starter, threw for three touchdowns and Jerome Ford had scoring runs of 79 and 42 yards. Leading 14-13 at the half, the Bearcats scored 21 unanswered points in a 4:24 stretch of the third quarter against the Cougars (11-2).
No. 9 Baylor 21, No. 5 Oklahoma State 16
Blake Shapen threw for 180 yards and three touchdowns to help the Bears hold on against the Cowboys in the Big 12 Championship game in Arlington, Texas.
The Bears (11-2) secured at least a Sugar Bowl berth with the win while the Cowboys (11-2) await their bowl fate Sunday after having their CFP hopes dashed.
Jairon McVea made a diving stop of the Cowboys’ Dezmon Jackson on fourth-and-goal from the 1 in the final minute, thwarting Oklahoma State’s comeback hopes and giving the Bears their first Big 12 title since sharing it in 2014 and first solo title since 2013.
No. 15 Pittsburgh 45, No. 16 Wake Forest 21
Kenny Pickett scored three touchdowns and the Panthers finally put the clamps on the Demon Deacons’ offense in a victory in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game in Charlotte, N.C.
The Panthers (11-2) won their first ACC title in their second appearance in the championship game. Pickett threw for 253 yards, completing 20 of 32 passes. Jordan Addison had eight catches for 126 yards. Israel Abanikanda scored on two touchdown runs in a four-minute span of the second half for the Panthers.
Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman was intercepted four times, including three times in the second half. Pittsburgh scored touchdowns after each of the first two of those turnovers on Abanikanda runs of 12 and 1 yards, and then Erick Hallett returned the next pickoff 19 yards for a touchdown.
Utah State 46, No. 19 San Diego State 13
The Aggies (10-3) never trailed as they kept the Aztecs (11-2) from their first 12-win season to win the Mountain West Conference championship game at the Aztecs’ temporary home in Carson, Calif.
Logan Bonner completed 29 of 42 passes for 318 yards, throwing four touchdown passes for Utah State (10-3), which won its first Mountain West title in their second appearance in the game since joining the league in 2013. Brandon Bowling caught two touchdowns as part of his eight-catch, 154-yard afternoon, and Derek Wright and Justin McGriff each had a receiving touchdown for Utah State.
Utah State sacked San Diego State quarterback Jordan Brookshire four times, finishing with five sacks for the game. The Aggies blocked two punts, one for a safety in the third quarter that gave them a 23-3 lead.
No. 24 Louisiana 24, Appalachian State 16
Levi Lewis threw for one touchdown and ran for another and Ragin’ Cajuns’ defense held down the Mountaineers in the Sun Belt Conference Championship game in Lafayette, La.
The Cajuns (12-1) allowed just 289 yards in coach Billy Napier’s final game before taking over at Florida.
Louisiana clinched a berth in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl by winning their first Sun Belt title game in three appearances against the Mountaineers (10-3) in the last four seasons.
–Field Level Media