College bowl roundup: Alabama surges past Michigan; Minnesota beats Auburn
Mac Jones threw three touchdown passes, Jerry Jeudy became the first Alabama player to top 200 receiving yards in a bowl game and the 13th-ranked Crimson Tide topped No. 14 Michigan 35-16 on Wednesday in the Citrus Bowl.
Jones connected with Jeudy for an 85-yard score on Alabama’s first snap, DeVonta Smith and Miller Forristall added touchdown grabs in the second half for the Crimson Tide (11-2), which trailed 16-14 at the break. Najee Harris ran for 136 yards and two touchdowns for Alabama.
Jeudy finished with six catches for 204 yards. His previous career-high for yards was 147 set last season against Missouri, and the Alabama bowl record had stood for more than a half-century — Ray Perkins had 178 yards against Nebraska in the 1967 Sugar Bowl.
Jones — who took over as Alabama’s starter when Tua Tagovailoa was lost for the season with an injury in November — completed 16 of 25 passes for 327 yards.
Shea Patterson completed 17 of 37 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown for Michigan (9-4), which dropped its fourth consecutive bowl game. Quinn Nordin kicked three field goals for the Wolverines, including a school-record-tying 57-yarder to end the first half and give Michigan the lead.
The Crimson Tide had two touchdown drives of 90 seconds or less — Jeudy’s score on Alabama’s first play and a long go-ahead touchdown grab by Smith early in the third quarter. They were quick-strike all season long, with 22 TD drives taking 1:30 or less and 38 TDs coming in 2:00 or less.
And the last of those was the one that put this game away for Alabama with 10:01 left.
Facing 3rd-and-11 from its own 8, Jones connected with Jeudy for 14 yards. On the next snap, Jones and Jeudy hooked up for 58 more yards. And the next snap was a 20-yard scoring pass to a wide-open Forristall.
Sugar Bowl: Georgia 26, Baylor 14
George Pickens caught 12 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown, and No. 5 Georgia defeated eighth-ranked Baylor at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer, coming back from a concussion in the Big 12 title game on Dec. 7, was sidelined again in the fourth quarter when the back of his head appeared to hit hard on the turf as he was taken down by two Georgia defenders along the sideline.
Travon Walker was penalized for a late hit, giving the Bears a first down, but the drive stalled on a sack of backup Jacob Zeno on fourth down with about five minutes to go and Baylor trailing by 12.
Jake Fromm completed 20 of 30 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns without an interception for Georgia (12-2), which was back in the Sugar Bowl for a second straight season, having lost to Texas last year.
Georgia was without about a dozen regulars, including three starting offensive linemen. Some players were hurt while others sat out to preserve their health for the NFL draft.
Meanwhile, top running back D’Andre Swift saw only limited action because of an ailing shoulder.
Zamir White, known for persevering through two major knee operations in recent years, carried 18 times for 92 yards and a touchdown.
Georgia defensive back Richard LeCounte intercepted two passes, the second sealing the victory in the final minutes.
Pickens, a freshman, was selected the game’s most outstanding player.
Brewer completed 21 of 41 passes for 211 yards and one touchdown to Denzel Mims. Brewer was intercepted once.
After Georgia led 19-0 at halftime, Baylor (11-3) showed signs of mounting a comeback on the opening series of the second half with a scoring drive dominated by Mims. He had catches of 40 and 8 yards before his 12-yard touchdown grab trimmed the Bulldogs’ lead to 19-7. Mims also surpassed 1,000 yards receiving for the season on the drive.
Outback Bowl: Minnesota 31, Auburn 24
Tyler Johnson had 12 receptions for 204 yards and two touchdowns Wednesday to become Minnesota’s career receiving leader and propel the 18th-ranked Gophers to a 31-24 victory over No. 12 Auburn in the Outback Bowl.
Johnson broke Eric Decker’s school record for receiving yards on his second catch of the day and became Minnesota’s all-time leader for scoring receptions on a one-handed, 2-yard touchdown catch that put the Gophers (11-2) up 24-17 at halftime. His 73-yard catch-and-run put his team ahead for good early in the fourth quarter.
Minnesota, which began the season with nine straight victories before losing two of its last three to Big Ten rivals Iowa and Wisconsin, finished with more than 10 wins for the first time since 1904. Auburn (9-4) concluded a season in which all four of its losses came against opponents ranked in the Top 25.
Tanner Morgan completed 19 of 29 passes for 278 yards, one interception and both of the touchdowns to Johnson, who finished with 3,305 receiving yards and 33 touchdown catches in his career. Receiver Seth Green tossed a 1-yard touchdown pass to Bryce Witham on fourth-and-inches midway through the second quarter.
Noah Igbinoghene, whose mother and father were both Olympic track and field athletes in Nigeria, returned a kickoff 96 yards for Auburn’s first touchdown. Bo Nix threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Sal Cannella and JaTarvious Whitlow scored a 3-yard run that made it 24-24 heading into the fourth quarter.
Morgan broke the tie with his second touchdown throw to Johnson, who posted the 16th 100-yard game of his career and caught at least one touchdown pass for the seventh straight game, tying another school record.
The Gophers dominated on the ground too, outrushing Auburn 215 yards to 56. Mohamed Ibrahim ran for 140 yards on 20 carries, and Rodney Smith finished with 69 on 16 attempts.
Nix was 17 of 26 for 176 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.
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