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Sports >  NCAA football

Clemson tops Notre Dame to win ACC crown; Ohio State takes Big Ten title

UPDATED: Sat., Dec. 19, 2020

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, left, rushes against Notre Dame during the Atlantic Coast Conference title game Saturday in Charlotte, N.C.  (Associated Press)
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, left, rushes against Notre Dame during the Atlantic Coast Conference title game Saturday in Charlotte, N.C. (Associated Press)
Associated Press

Associated Press

Trevor Lawrence had 412 yards of offense and three touchdowns, Travis Etienne ran for 124 yards and a score and No. 4 Clemson dominated No. 2 Notre Dame 34-10 on Saturday in Charlotte, North Carolina, to win its sixth straight Atlantic Coast Conference championship.

Lawrence threw long scoring passes to Amari Rodgers and E.J Williams in the first half to help the Tigers (10-1) avenge a 47-40 double-overtime loss at Norte Dame – with Lawrence sidelined because of the coronavirus – to lock up a spot in the College Football Playoff for the sixth straight season.

Lawrence, the game MVP and presumptive No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, overcame an early interception on a tipped ball to complete 25 of 36 passes for 322 yards. He ran 14 times for 90 yards, with a 34-yard touchdown scamper.

The junior quarterback did it all, even throwing a block to spring Etienne for a 15-yard gain on a third-down run late in the second quarter leading to a touchdown and a 24-3 halftime lead.

Rodgers had eight catches for 121 yards, and Williams added four for 80 yards including a dynamic one-handed grab where he reached behind his head to snag the ball.

Clemson allowed Notre Dame to pile up 518 yards in the previous meeting but limited the Fighting Irish (10-1) to 263 yards Saturday and sacked quarterback Ian Book six times.

No. 1 Alabama 52, No. 11 Florida 46: Najee Harris scored five touchdowns and the Crimson Tide (11-0) advanced to the College Football Playoff with a perfect record, holding off the Gators (8-3) in Atlanta for the Southeastern Conference championship.

The Crimson Tide got its toughest test in a season of blowouts, but Harris’ record-setting performance will send coach Nick Saban to the playoff in search of his seventh national title.

After falling behind 35-17 by halftime, Florida made a game of it with a pair of third-quarter scores. And the Gators fought to the bitter end, adding two more TDS in the fourth period before finally running out of time. Harris tacked on the last of his touchdowns with a 1-yard lunge.

No. 3 Ohio State 22, Northwestern 10: Trey Sermon ran for a school-record 331 yards and two second-half touchdowns, helping the Buckeyes (6-0) rally past the Wildcats (6-2) in Indianapolis for its fourth consecutive Big Ten championship.

The Buckeyes will find out Sunday if they’ve done enough to receive one of four spots in the College Football Playoff. It’s the first time Ohio State has won four consecutive outright conference crowns.

Northwestern 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. After the Buckeyes settled for a field goal on the game’s first possession, Northwestern running back Cam Porter answered with a 9-yard TD run late in the first quarter. The Buckeyes trailed from that moment until Sermon’s 9-yard run with 2:41 left in the third period.

Ohio State added a 26-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, and Sermon, who had 29 carries, sealed the win with a 3-yard scoring run with 4:03 to go.

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

No. 5 Texas A&M 34, Tennessee 13: Kellen Mond threw for 281 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 59 yards and a score, helping the Aggies (8-1) to close its case for a spot in the College Football Playoff with a rout of the Volunteers (3-7) in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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

Mond completed 26 of 32 passes. The Aggies finished their regular season and hoped for an upset or two within the CFP’s top four.

No. 6 Cincinnati 27, No. 20 Tulsa: Cole Smith made a 34-yard field goal as time expired to give the Bearcats (9-0) a victory over the Golden Hurricanes (6-2) in the rainy American Conference Championship game in Cincinnati.

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.

No. 12 Oklahoma 27, No. 8 Iowa State 21: Spencer Rattler threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Mims and ran for a score and the Sooners (8-2) won its sixth consecutive Big 12 title, holding on to beat the Cyclones (8-3) in Arlington, Texas.

That impressive title streak probably won’t be enough to get the Sooners 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.

Big 12 rushing leader Breece Hall ran for two touchdowns for the Cyclones 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.

No. 25 San Jose State 34, Boise State 20: Nick Starkel completed 32 of 52 passes for 453 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Spartans (7-0) to its first Mountain West Conference championship with a win over the Broncos (5-2) in Las Vegas.

The Spartans had lost all 14 previous meetings with the Broncos.

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.

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