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College football roundup: No. 4 Ohio State earns fourth consecutive Big Ten title

Ohio State running back Trey Sermon carries the ball in front of Northwestern defensive back Cameron Mitchell.
Ohio State’s Trey Sermon, who ran for a school-record 331 yards, carries the ball in front of Northwestern defensive back Cameron Mitchell during the Buckeyes’ 22-10 win in the Big Ten title game.
(AJ Mast / Associated Press)

INDIANAPOLIS — Trey Sermon ran for a school-record 331 yards and two second-half touchdowns Saturday, helping Ohio State rally for a 22-10 victory over Northwestern for a fourth consecutive Big Ten championship.

The Buckeyes (6-0), No. 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings, will find out Sunday whether they’ve done enough to earn one of four spots in the College Football Playoff. It’s the first time Ohio State has won four consecutive outright conference crowns.

Northwestern (6-2), No. 14 in the CFP rankings, heads into the bowl season with two losses in its last three games and a second runner-up finish to the Buckeyes in three years.

It was a struggle for Ohio State.

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Trevor Lawrence accounted for three touchdowns, and Clemson avenged a regular-season loss to Notre Dame and won its sixth straight ACC title.

After the Buckeyes settled for a field goal on the game’s first possession, Northwestern running back Cam Porter answered with a nine-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter. The Buckeyes trailed from that moment until Sermon’s nine-yard run with 2:41 left in the third quarter.

The Buckeyes had trailed for all of 5 minutes 5 seconds this season — until they fell behind for nearly 32 minutes Saturday.

Ohio State added a 26-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, and Sermon, who had 29 carries, sealed the win with a three-yard scoring run with 4:03 to go.

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields was 12 for 27 with 114 yards and ran 12 times for 35 yards.

Porter finished with 16 carries and 61 yards. Northwestern quarterback Peyton Ramsey was 24 for 37 for 224 yards but was picked off twice and lost a fumble — all in the second half.

No. 10 Oklahoma 27, No. 6 Iowa State 21

ARLINGTON, Texas — Spencer Rattler threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Mims and ran for a score, and Oklahoma won its sixth consecutive Big 12 title, holding on to beat Iowa State in the conference championship game.

That impressive title streak probably won’t be enough to get the Sooners (8-2) into the College Football Playoff for the fourth year in a row, even when paired with their seven-game winning streak. Oklahoma lost at Iowa State on Oct. 3 and was 0-2 in Big 12 play for the first time since 1998.

Najee Harris scored five touchdowns, and No. 1 Alabama held off No. 7 Florida 52-46 in the Southeastern Conference title game Saturday night.

Big 12 rushing leader Breece Hall ran for two touchdowns for the Cyclones (8-3) in the second half, when Oklahoma punted on its first five drives before Gabe Brkic’s 32-yard field goal with 2:01 left. The Sooners wrapped it up when Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy was under pressure and threw his third interception, a fluttering pass picked off by Tre Brown inside the 10.

Rattler was 22 of 34 for 272 yards and his 25th touchdown pass.

No. 5 Texas A&M 34, Tennessee 13

Tennessee linebacker Quavaris Crouch tackles Texas A&M tight end Jalen Wydermyer.
Tennessee linebacker Quavaris Crouch tackles Texas A&M tight end Jalen Wydermyer during the Aggies’ win Saturday.
(Brianna Paciorka / Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Kellen Mond threw for 281 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 59 yards and a score to lead Texas A&M closed its case for inclusion in the College Football Playoff.

Isaiah Spiller ran for 89 yards and a touchdown, and Ainias Smith scored once rushing and once receiving.

Mond completed 26 of 32 passes as the Aggies (8-1) finished their regular season and hoped for an upset or two within the CFP’s top four.

The Trojans’ 31-24 loss to the Oregon Ducks in the Pac-12 Championship game wiped out the impact of the three previous comeback wins.

Tennessee (3-7) has lost seven of its last eight games, ramping up speculation about Jeremy Pruitt’s future as Volunteers coach.

Harrison Bailey and J.T. Shrout combined to throw for 189 yards and two touchdowns for the Vols.

No. 9 Cincinnati 27, No. 23 Tulsa 24

CINCINNATI — Cole Smith made a 34-yard field goal as time expired to give Cincinnati a victory over Tulsa in the rainy American Conference Championship game.

Alec Pierce had a career-high 146 yards receiving on five catches, Desmond Ridder passed for 269 yards and a touchdown and ran for a score, and Jerome Ford added a 42-yard scoring run for the Bearcats (9-0).

Tulsa (6-2) reached the conference championship game following three straight losing seasons. It was the Golden Hurricane’s first appearance in the AAC title game.

No. 24 San Jose State 34, Boise State 20

San Jose State quarterback Nick Starkel throws against Boise State in the Mountain West title game Dec. 19, 2020.
San Jose State’s Nick Starkel threw for 453 yards and three touchdowns against Boise State in the Mountain West title game.
(John Locher / Associated Press)

LAS VEGAS — Nick Starkel completed 32 of 52 passes for 453 yards and three touchdowns to lead San Jose State to its first Mountain West Conference championship with a win over Boise State.

The Spartans (7-0) had lost all 14 previous meetings with the Broncos (5-2).

Starkel broke former Fresno State star Derek Carr’s title-game record of 404 yards passing set in 2013 in a victory over Utah State.

It was the fourth 400-yard passing game of Starkel’s career, and second this season, his first with the Spartans. He spent the first three years of his college career at Texas A&M and Arkansas before transferring to San Jose State in January.

A day after losing to Oregon in the Pac-12 title game, USC announced it will not play in a bowl game because of the risks associated with COVID-19.

Tre Walker and Derrick Deese Jr. each had seven receptions. Walker led all receivers with 137 yards.

Boise State’s Hank Bachmeier completed 20 of 40 pass attempts for 221 yards. San Jose State held the Broncos to 12 yards in 24 rushes.

Utah 45, Washington State 28

SALT LAKE CITY — Ty Jordan ran for 154 yards and three touchdowns to rally Utah to a victory over Washington State.

Britain Covey added a career-high 134 yards and a touchdown on six catches to help power the Utes’ comeback effort. Backup quarterback Drew Lisk threw for 152 yards in relief of starter Jake Bentley.

After Chase Griffin rallied UCLA in the second half, the Bruins failed on a two-point conversion try in the second overtime and lost 48-47 to Stanford.

Utah (3-2, 3-2 Pac-12) outscored Washington State 38-0 in the second half to notch its third straight victory to end the 2020 season.

The Cougars’ Jayden De Laura threw for 204 yards and a touchdown with an interception. Max Borghi added 95 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Washington State (1-3, 1-3) closed the 2020 season with its third straight loss.

Army 10, Air Force 7

WEST POINT, N.Y. — Jakobi Buchanan scored on a one-yard run with 73 seconds left, and Army rallied past Air Force to win the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy for the ninth time.

With time winding in the fourth quarter, Army drove 80 yards to the Air Force one-yard line and Buchanan delivered. Arik Smith’s interception on a deflected pass sealed it for the Black Knights.

Quinn Maretzki kicked a 24-yard field goal early in the second quarter for Army’s other points.

The Falcons beat Army 17-13 in Colorado last year, stopping the Black Knights on fourth down at the goal line to escape.

The College Football Playoff semifinal game at the Rose Bowl has been relocated to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, because of coronavirus restrictions.

Haaziq Daniels found Kyle Patterson for a 10-yard touchdown in the final seconds of the third quarter to give Air Force a 7-3 lead.

The Falcons (3-3) began the season with a dominant 40-7 win over Navy and were poised to capture their record 21st CIC. But after falling behind, Army’s Jabari Moore stopped Air Force’s attempt to seal it with an interception at the goal line to set up the winning drive for the Black Knights, who have won nine straight at home.

Army (9-2) was coming off an emotional, hard-fought 15-0 victory over rival Navy a week ago in the first game between the schools at West Point in 77 years. The defense held the Mids to four first downs and 117 total yards.

Wisconsin 20, Minnesota 17 (OT)

MADISON, Wis. — Collin Larsh kicked a 30-yard field goal in overtime to give Wisconsin a victory over Minnesota in the battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe in the most-played rivalry in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

The Gophers failed to score on their first possession in overtime when Anders Gelecinskyj’s 36-yard field-goal attempt from the left hashmark sailed just outside the left upright.

It was the 130th game between the programs. This season’s game scheduled for Nov. 28 was canceled because of COVID-19 issues in the Gophers program.

Trey Sermon ran for a school-record 331 yards and two second-half touchdowns to lead No. 4 Ohio State to a 22-10 victory over No. 14 Northwestern.

Wisconsin (3-3, 3-3 Big Ten) had lost three consecutive games, not scoring more than seven points in any of them. The Badgers entered without their two leading rushers, Jalen Berger and Nakia Watson, top receivers Danny Davis III and Kendric Pryor, and left tackle Cole Van Lanen.

Senior Garrett Groshek, who entered with 105 total yards rushing this season, carried 24 times for 154 yards with a career-long run of 39 yards for a touchdown for the Badgers.

Minnesota (3-4, 3-4) tied it at 17 on Tanner Morgan’s nine-yard touchdown pass to Mike Brown-Stephens with 4:40 remaining.

Penn State 56, Illinois 21

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Jahan Dotson caught six passes, scored twice and racked up 239 all-purpose yards to lead Penn State to a win over Illinois.

The junior wideout opened the game with a 75-yard touchdown catch, added a 70-yarder in the second quarter and returned a punt 50 yards, taking it deep into Illinois territory to set up Penn State’s go-ahead touchdown before halftime.

Sean Clifford tossed both touchdowns and added 285 yards on 16-for-22 passing. Will Levis threw a touchdown pass to Brenton Strange and ran for one, while Caziah Holmes and Keyvone Lee combined for three rushing scores in the Nittany Lions’ (4-5) fourth straight win. The Illini finished 2-6.

Louisiana State 53, Mississippi 48

BATON ROUGE, La. — Freshman wide receiver Kayshon Boutte caught 14 passes for an LSU-record 308 yards receiving, and his third touchdown of the game on a 45-yard catch-and-run with 1:30 remaining lifted the Tigers to a victory over Mississippi.

Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral quickly drove the Rebels into LSU territory in the final minute, but his sixth turnover of the game on a fumble caused by Ali Gaye ended the threat and allowed the Tigers (5-5) to avoid their first losing season since 1999. The Rebels fell to 4-5.

LSU freshman quarterback Max Johnson, who won his first career start in stunning fashion at Florida a week earlier, passed for 435 yards and three touchdowns. Johnson also scored on a one-yard keeper in the fourth quarter.


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