ATLANTA (AP) – It will be an all-SEC game for the National Championship in Atlanta next Monday. Fourth-ranked Alabama advanced with a victory over No. 1 Clemson in the Sugar Bowl after third-ranked Georgia outlasted No. 2 Oklahoma to win the Rose Bowl.
In New Orleans, Jalen Hurts threw for two touchdowns and the Crimson Tide’s defense outscored Clemson’s offense in a 24-6 win over the Tigers.
Clemson trailed just 10-6 and had the ball on the Alabama 35 early in the third quarter when a pair of defensive plays allowed the Tide to take command. Defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne picked off a pass by quarterback Kelly Bryant and rumbled 21 yards before a personal foul call added 15 yards to the play. Moments later, Payne re-entered the game and caught a touchdown pass from Hurts.
Bryant was picked off on his next play as the throw was deflected toward Mack Wilson, who went 18 yards for a TD that made it 24-6.
Hurts also threw a first-quarter TD pass to Calvin Ridley in the first quarter to put Alabama ahead 10-0.
It was the third straight year Clemson and Alabama met in the College Football Playoff, with the teams splitting the previous two games.
Georgia’s victory in Pasadena was a little tougher. Sony Michel (mih-SHEHL’) raced 27 yards for a touchdown to give the Bulldogs a wild 54-48 victory over No. 2 Oklahoma. Michel went from goat to hero after his fourth-quarter fumble was returned 46 yards by Steven Parker II for a TD that put the Sooners ahead 45-38 with 6:52 left in regulation.
Michel ran for 181 yards and three scores for the 13-1 Bulldogs, who scored 24 straight points to take a 38-31 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Nick Chubb added 145 yards rushing, providing a 50-yard TD in the third quarter and a two-yard burst that tied the game with 55 seconds left in regulation.
Oklahoma quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught a touchdown pass that gave the Sooners a 17-point lead with 6 seconds left in the first half.
In other New Year’s Day bowl action:
– McKenzie Milton was the catalyst as 10th-ranked UCF earned a 34-27 Peach Bowl win over No. 7 Auburn in Atlanta. Milton threw for two touchdowns and ran for 116 yards and another score to help the 13-0 Knights end the year as the only unbeaten team in major college football. Chequan Burkett returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown in coach Scott Frost’s final game before heading to Nebraska.
– Myles Boykin turned an acrobatic catch into a go-ahead, 55-yard touchdown with 1:28 remaining to send 14th-ranked Notre Dame past No. 16 LSU in the Citrus Bowl at Orlando. Ian Book threw the go-ahead scoring pass and was 14 of 19 for 164 yards and two touchdowns after entering the game for an ineffective Brandon Wimbush in the second quarter. Boykin’s TD came followed Jack Gonsoulin’s 17-yard field goal, which gave the Tigers a 17-14 lead after LSU coach Ed Orgeron declined to go for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal near the end zone.
– Jake Bentley threw for 239 yards and South Carolina rallied from a 19-3, third-quarter deficit to beat Michigan 26-19 in the Outback Bowl at Tampa. Bentley tossed scoring passes of 21 yards to Bryan Edwards and 53 yards to Shi Smith, the latter giving the 9-4 Gamecocks a 23-19 lead with 11:33 to play. The Wolverines had five turnovers in ending an 8-5 season with their first three-game losing streak under coach Jim Harbaugh.