SEC Championship Football

Alabama receiver John Metchie III celebrates a touchdown catch against Georgia in the Southeastern Conference championship game Saturday in Atlanta. Alabama won, 41-24. Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

ATLANTA — Bryce Young stunningly carved up the nation’s top-rated defense, giving Nick Saban and Alabama a shot at another national championship.

Young threw for three touchdowns and ran for another as the fourth-ranked Crimson Tide rolled over No. 1 Georgia 41-24 in the Southeastern Conference championship game Saturday, a result that likely sends both powerhouse programs to the four-team College Football Playoff.

Young set SEC championship records with 421 yards passing and 461 yards total offense.

Georgia (12-1, No. 1 CFP) cruised through the regular season, barely challenged and the unanimous choice as the nation’s No. 1 team for the past two months. The Bulldogs boasted a fearsome defensive unit that had allowed only 6.9 points a game.

Young made them look like a scout team, surely bolstering his Heisman Trophy chances.

The playoff field will be announced Sunday, with the semifinals set for the Orange and Cotton Bowls on Dec. 31.

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Alabama (12-1, No. 3 CFP) had six scoring drives – five covering at least 75 yards, the other 62 – and finished with a staggering 536 yards against a team that was giving up just under 231 per game.

BIG TEN

(2) MICHIGAN 42, (15) IOWA 3: Hassan Haskins ran for two second-half touchdowns and broke a school record, and running back Donavan Edwards threw a 75-yard TD pass to help the Wolverines (12-1, No. 2 CFP) capture their first Big Ten title in 17 years and a probable playoff berth with a rout against the Hawkeyes (10-3, No. 13 CFP) at Indianapolis.

Resurgent Michigan has won five straight, and if it reaches the playoff as expected, would need one more win to return to Indianapolis to play for its first national championship since 1997.

Michigan handed the Hawkeyes their second straight title game loss and prevented Coach Kirk Ferentz from capturing his first conference crown since 2004.

Blake Corum made two cuts to the right and sprinted 67 yards to make it 7-0. On Michigan’s next offensive play, Cade McNamara lateraled to Edwards and the freshman threw a perfect 75-yard TD pass to a wide open Roman Wilson for a 75-yard score and a 14-0 lead.

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Hawkins broke open the game with a 4-yard TD run midway through the third quarter, then sealed the victory by becoming the first Michigan running back to score 20 TDs in a single season on a 1-yard run early in the fourth.

AMERICAN ATHLETIC

(3) CINCINNATI 35, (16) HOUSTON 20: Jerome Ford rushed for 187 yards and two touchdowns and Desmond Ridder threw three touchdown passes as the Bearcats (12-0) broke open a close game in the third quarter and rolled past the Cougars (11-2) in the American Athletic Conference championship game in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati, which extended the nation’s second-longest home winning streak to 27, scored three touchdowns in less than eight minutes early in the second half.

BIG 12

(9) BAYLOR 21, (5) OKLAHOMA STATE: Dezmon Jackson came up inches short on a desperate, fourth-down dive with 24 seconds remaining and the Cowboys (11-2, CFP No. 5) fell out of contention for a playoff spot with a loss to the Bears (11-2, CFP No. 9) in the Big 12 championship game at Arlington, Texas.

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Blake Shapen threw three TDs while completing his first 17 passes as Baylor took a 21-3 lead.

The Cowboys rallied back, then went 89 yards on 17 plays on their final drive.

After having first-and-goal from 2 following a pass interference penalty, Jackson gained a yard and was held for no gain before an incomplete pass by Spencer Sanders.

On fourth down from the 1, Jackson tried to sweep wide left, but with Jairon McVea in pursuit, he went out of bounds just shy of the pylon in the front left corner of the end zone.

Sanders threw four interceptions, and the Cowboys were without leading rusher Jaylen Warren because of lingering ankle and shoulder issues.

Shapen started his second game in a row for injured quarterback Gerry Bohanon (right hamstring), and the Bears won with only 242 yards of offense. They had just 36 yards after halftime, while Shapen finished 23 of 28 for 180 yards passing.

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After Oklahoma State took a 3-0 lead on Tanner Brown’s 23-yard field goal, set up after Baylor fumbled on the opening drive of the game, the Bears scored 21 consecutive points. Sanders threw picks on the next two drives, setting up Baylor with short fields for three-play TD drives – a 2-yard TD pass to wide-open tight open Ben Sims and Drew Estrada’s 4-yard scoring catch.

Baylor had a 21-3 lead after an incredible 13-yard catch by Tyquan Thornton with a defender on his back with 5 1/2 minutes left in the first half.

ATLANTIC COAST

(17) PITTSBURGH 45, (18) WAKE FOREST 21: Kenny Pickett accounted for three touchdowns and Erick Hallett II returned one of Pittsburgh’s four interceptions for a touchdown to help the Panthers (11-2) beat the Demon Deacons (10-3) in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game at Charlotte, North Carolina.

MOUNTAIN WEST

UTAH STATE 46, (19) SAN DIEGO STATE 13: Brandon Bowling caught two touchdown passes from Logan Bonner during a decisive third quarter, and the Aggies (10-3) won their first Mountain West Conference title by routing the Aztecs (11-2) in Carson, California.

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Bonner passed for 318 yards and four TDs, while fellow Arkansas State transfer Bowling had eight catches for a career-high 154 yards.

SUN BELT

(20) LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE 24, APPALACHIAN STATE 16: Levi Lewis scored on a career-high 56-yard run and passed for another touchdown, and the Ragin’ Cajuns (12-1) defeated the Mountaineers (10-3) in the Sun Belt Conference championship game at Lafayette, Louisiana.

Emani Baily rushed for 117 yards, highlighted by his 35-yard touchdown run on a third-and-9 play to give the Cajuns a two-touchdown lead early in the fourth quarter.


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