No. 1 LSU 37, No. 4 Georgia 10
ATLANTA — Joe Burrow finished off what seems like his Heisman Trophy coronation with another dazzling performance and No. 1 LSU locked up a spot in the College Football Playoff for the first time, dominating No. 4 Georgia 37-10 in the Southeastern Conference championship game Saturday.
The Tigers, going for their first national title since 2007 season, will either return to Atlanta or head west to suburban Phoenix for a semifinal game Dec. 28. Their bowl site and opponent will be announced Sunday, but they surely made a persuasive case to be the top overall seed in the four-team field.
Burrow was all over the stat sheet for LSU (13-0, No. 2 CFP). He threw for 349 yards and four touchdowns. He was the Tigers’ second-leading rusher with 41 yards on 11 carries, often leaving the Bulldogs grasping at air as he twirled this way and that. He even caught a pass on a ball that was batted down at the line and wound up his arms, taking off for a 16-yard gain.
Tigers put up 481 yards of offense, but the most encouraging aspect of this game was another strong performance from LSU’s defense. It followed up a 50-7 rout of Texas A&M in the regular-season finale with another championship-worthy showing against the Bulldogs, who were held to 286 yards.
Georgia (11-2) appears likely to make its second straight appearance in the Sugar Bowl against Baylor, loser of the Big 12 championship game.
No. 3 Clemson 62,
No. 22 Virginia 17
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Trevor Lawrence threw four touchdown passes, three to Tee Higgins, and Clemson beat Virginia to win its fifth consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference title.
The defending national champion Tigers (13-0; No. 3 CFP) have won 28 games in a row and head to the College Football Playoff with chance for a third crown in four years.
And while Virginia (9-4; No. 23 CFP) and quarterback Bryce Perkins put forth a game plan that caused the Tigers to sweat early on, there was no stopping Clemson’s dazzling set of experienced playmakers led by Lawrence and Higgins on the way to ACC championship game records for points and yards (621).
Lawrence set an ACC title-game record with his four touchdown throws and had 302 yards passing, his second best total this season, and completed 16 of 22 passes before coming out in the third quarter.
Big 12 championship
No. 6 Oklahoma 30,
No. 8 Baylor 23, OT
ARLINGTON, Texas — Rhamondre Stevenson had a 5-yard touchdown run in overtime and No. 6 Oklahoma made its bid for another playoff berth with a 30-23 win over No. 8 Baylor in the Big 12 championship game Saturday.
A day after No. 5 Utah lost in the Pac-12 championship game, and before No. 4 Georgia took on No. 1 LSU for the SEC title, the Sooners (12-1, No. 6 CFP) won their fifth consecutive Big 12 title, and 13th overall. Oklahoma went to the playoff three of the past four seasons.
“I like our case,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said before the game about his league’s playoff chances.
Baylor (11-2, No. 7 CFP) tied the game in the fourth quarter after two long passes by freshman Jacob Zeno, the second quarterback used after starter Charlie Brewer left the game in the second quarter following a big hit he delivered on a defender.
There was an 81-yard catch-and-run touchdown by Trestan Ebner with 9:41 left in regulation and a 78-yarder to Chris Platt that set up John Mayers’ third field goal, a 27-yarder with 3:25 left to make it 23-all.
After Oklahoma scored on three plays to start overtime, Zeno was under tremendous pressure on Baylor’s chance. There were two incompletions before he was sacked for a 10-yard loss, and then he was under distress again when he flung a game-ending pass that fell to the ground.
No. 16 Memphis 29,
No. 21 Cincinnati 24
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Antonio Gibson caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Brady White with 1:14 left and No. 16 Memphis defeated No. 21 Cincinnati 29-24 in the American Athletic Conference championship game on Saturday.
The victory marked the first time Memphis (12-1, No. 17, CFP) has won the AAC title in its third straight conference championship game. The Tigers now wait for an invitation to the Cotton Bowl as the highest-ranked Group of Five team.
Eight days after beating the Bearcats 34-24 at home in the regular-season finale, Memphis rallied for another win.
Along with scoring the go-ahead touchdown, Gibson ran for 130 yards, including a 65-yard TD dash.
No. 19 Boise State 31, Hawaii 10
BOISE, Idaho — Jaylon Henderson threw for 212 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score to lead No. 19 Boise State to a 31-10 victory over Hawaii in the Mountain West championship game Saturday.
Boise State (12-1, No. 19 CFP) won its second conference title in three years, beating Hawaii again this season after winning the Oct. 12th meeting, 59-37. After rolling up 518 yards of offense in the first game, the Broncos leaned on their defense in the rematch.
The Broncos made two defensive stands inside the 5, once in the second quarter and another early in the third.
Hawaii (9-5) was making its first appearance in the title game. It enjoyed some success through the air with Cole McDonald passing for 241 yards, but couldn’t overcome early problems in the red zone.
Henderson, a senior who began the season as the third string quarterback on the depth chart, started the final four games of the season after both Hank Bachmeier and Chase Cord suffered injuries.
Sun Belt championship
No. 20 Appalachian State 45, Louisiana-Lafayette 38
BOONE, N.C. — Darrynton Evans scored three touchdowns and 20th-ranked Appalachian State repeated as Sun Belt Conference champions with a 45-38 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday.
Evans won the game’s MVP for the second straight season.
Zac Thomas threw for 149 yards and two touchdowns and Daetrich Harrington and Marcus Williams added touchdown runs. The Mountaineers racked up 416 yards on offense, including 267 on the ground in a dominating first half.
The Mountaineers (12-1, 8-1 Sun Belt) accomplished something North Carolina, Duke, North Carolina State and Wake Forest never have — becoming the first FBS team from North Carolina to win 12 games in a season.