Michigan defeats Purdue for Big Ten title with CFP berth next

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy, center, celebrates with his offensive linemen after throwing a touchdown pass.
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy, center, celebrates with his offensive linemen after throwing a touchdown pass against Purdue on Saturday. Michigan defeated Purdue 43-22 for the Big Ten title.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Donovan Edwards ran for 185 yards and a score, J.J. McCarthy threw three touchdown passes and No. 2 Michigan beat Purdue 43-22 on Saturday night for its second straight Big Ten title and a likely No. 2 playoff seed.

College football’s winningest program has the first 13-win season in school history. Two more victories would give the Wolverines (13-0) their first national championship since 1997.

And with injured star Blake Corum sidelined by a season-ending left knee injury, Edwards stole the show for the second straight week.


After shredding rival Ohio State for 216 yards and two scores last week, Edwards broke open this game with a 60-yard run on the first play of the second half to set up one score. He added a 27-yard touchdown sprint on Michigan’s next series to make it 28-13.

Purdue (8-5) never recovered from Michigan’s quick, seven-play onslaught after it trailed 14-13 at halftime.

But quarterback Aidan O’Connell and receiver Charlie Jones helped the Boilermakers make it interesting for a while.

O’Connell was 32 of 47 with 366 yards and two interceptions after missing some practice time early this week to mourn the death of his oldest brother. Jones, who lost to Michigan in last year’s game while playing for Iowa, had 13 receptions for 162 yards.


No. 10 Kansas State 31, No. 3 TCU 28

ARLINGTON, Texas — Ty Zentner kicked a 31-yard field goal in overtime and Kansas State beat Texas Christian in the Big 12 championship game Saturday, leaving the Horned Frogs to wait another day to find out if they had already done enough to get into the four-team College Football Playoff.

The Wildcats (10-3) set up the winning field goal after TCU (12-1) had the first overtime possession and Kendre Miller was stopped short on consecutive plays from inside the one.

Deuce Vaughn ran for 130 yards and a touchdown and Will Howard threw two touchdowns for the Wildcats, who six weeks earlier jumped out to a 28-10 lead early in the second quarter before TCU scored the game’s last 28 points.


The first Big 12 team to complete a regular season undefeated since Texas in 2009, TCU could still get into the playoff. Though their case was helped when fourth-ranked USC (11-2) lost 47-24 to Utah in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night, the Frogs now have to wait until the final College Football Playoff rankings come out Sunday.


No. 1 Georgia 50, No. 14 LSU 30

ATLANTA — With all sorts of turmoil behind them in the rankings, the Georgia Bulldogs left no doubt about the top team heading into the College Football Playoff, dismantling Louisiana State in the Southeastern Conference championship game.

Stetson Bennett threw a season-high four touchdown passes in another stellar postseason performance, while Christopher Smith gave the Bulldogs an early spark with a heads-up play that turned a seemingly harmless blocked field goal into a 96-yard touchdown.

Not that any fortuitous breaks were needed, but Georgia (13-0) caught a big one when a deflected pass bounced off an LSU receiver’s helmet and wound up being picked off by the Bulldogs, setting up a score that contributed to a 35-10 lead by halftime.

LSU’s hopes of denying the reigning national champs their first SEC title since 2017 were further dampened by quarterback Jayden Daniels re-injuring a sore right ankle late in the first half. Not that backup Garrett Nussmeier played poorly, guiding the Tigers (9-4) to three second-half touchdowns.


No. 9 Clemson 39, No. 23 North Carolina 10

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Backup quarterback Cade Klubnik completed 20 of 24 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score and Clemson beat North Carolina to reclaim the Atlantic Coast Conference championship.


Cornerback Nate Wiggins broke up two passes in the end zone, blocked a field goal and returned an interception 98 yards for a touchdown to help the Tigers win their seventh ACC title in eight seasons.

Clemson (11-2) won six straight ACC championships from 2015 to 2020 before failing to reach the title game last season. But coach Dabo Swinney’s Tigers rebounded in a big way, going 9-0 against ACC foes this season to reach the Orange Bowl.

With Clemson down 7-0, Swinney benched two-year starter D.J. Uiagalelei after the Tigers failed to pick up a first down on their first two possessions, Swinney turned to Klubnik, a 5-star recruit from Austin, Texas. He responded by leading the Tigers to four straight scores and a 24-10 lead at halftime. Clemson stretched it to 39-10 heading into the fourth quarter.

IACC player of the year Drake Maye was limited to 268 yards passing and turned the ball over three times for North Carolina (9-4).


No. 18 Tulane 45, No. 22 UCF 28

NEW ORLEANS — Michael Pratt accounted for 442 total yards and five touchdowns, Tyjae Spears highlighted his 199 yards rushing with a 60-yard score and Tulane beat Central Florida in the American Athletic Conference championship game.


The victory virtually assured Tulane (11-2) would play in the Cotton Bowl — its first major New Year’s Day bowl since the 1939 season — only one season after going 2-10.

Pratt passed for a career-high 394 yards, including touchdowns of 73 yards to Duece Watts, 60 and 10 yards to Shae Wyatt and 43 yards to Lawrence Keys. Pratt also ran for a pivotal 18-yard touchdown with 4:04 left.

The Green Wave, who earned the right to host the title game by ending Cincinnati’s 32-game home winning streak last weekend, avenged a 38-31 regular-season loss to UCF (9-4) on the same field three weeks ago.