Alabama running back Eddie Lacy (42) reacts after scoring a touchdown against Georgia during the second half of the Southeastern Conference championship game on Saturday in Atlanta.
ATLANTA — Alabama is heading back to the national championship game by a mere 4 yards.
AJ McCarron threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper with 3:15 remaining, and the No. 2 Crimson Tide barely held off No. 3 Georgia 32-28 in a Southeastern Conference title game for the ages Saturday.
After an apparent game-clinching interception by Alabama was overturned after looking at the replay, Georgia’s Aaron Murray completed a 15-yard pass to Arthur Lynch, a 23-yarder to Tavarres King and a 26-yarder to Lynch, who was hauled down at the Alabama 8 as the clock continued to run.
The Bulldogs were out of timeouts.
Instead of spiking the ball and gathering themselves, the Bulldog snapped the ball with 9 seconds to go. Murray threw a pass in the flat to Chris Conley, who slipped down at the 4.
Georgia couldn’t get off another play. Alabama celebrated as confetti fell from the Georgia Dome room. The Bulldogs collapsed on the field, stunned they had come so close to knocking off the team that has won two of the last three national titles.
The Tide will get a chance to make it three out of four when they face top-ranked Notre Dame for the BCS crown on Jan. 7 in Miami.
For the Bulldogs (11-2), the consolation prize will likely be a spot in the Capital One Bowl, though they certainly looked like a team fully deserving of a BCS bid.
In a back-and-forth second half that looked nothing like a game in the defensive-minded SEC, the Crimson Tide trailed 21-10 after Alec Ogletree returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Alabama rallied behind a punishing run game, finishing with 350 yards on the ground, an SEC championship game record. Eddie Lacy finished with 181 yards on 20 carries, including two TDs. Freshman T.J. Yeldon had 153 yards on 25 carries, also scoring a TD.
But the Tide won it through the air.
With Georgia stacking the line, McCarron fooled the Bulldogs with play action and delivered a perfectly thrown pass to Cooper, who beat Damian Swann in single coverage.
No. 12 Oklahoma 24,
FORT WORTH, Texas — Landry Jones threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns, Damien Williams ran untouched 66 yards for a score and 12th-ranked Oklahoma held on to win 24-17 at TCU on Saturday and clinch at least a share of the Big 12 title.
TCU’s fourth-down pass to the goal-line in the final minute was well-defended and fell incomplete.
The Sooners (10-2, 8-1 Big 12) won their eighth consecutive Big 12 game since a late-September loss to Kansas State, which played its regular-season finale at home Saturday night against No. 23 Texas. Oklahoma would have the outright title and guaranteed BCS spot if the seventh-ranked Wildcats lose.
The Sooners, whose only other loss was to No. 1 Notre Dame, are in good shape for the final at-large BCS berth if K-State won. Kent State’s double-overtime loss to Northern Illinois in the MAC championship game likely ended any chance for that league to get in the Bowl Championship Series.
TCU (7-5, 4-5), the two-time BCS buster in its first Big 12 season, lost all four of its conference games at home despite winning four on the road.
But the Frogs still had a chance when Oklahoma’s Mike Hunnicut missed a 42-yard field goal attempt for with just under than 3 minutes left.
Frogs freshman quarterback Trevone Boykin, who finished with 231 yards passing, completed three passes, including a 35-yarder to Cam White to get the Frogs to the Oklahoma 12. On third-and-10 from there, Boykin had a keeper that ended with him in the end zone but the play was called back because of a holding call — an obvious penalty that cleared the way for the score.
After hitting Josh Boyce for 7 yards, the Frogs had fourth-and-13 from the 15 in the final minute when Boykin threw toward Boyce again. But he couldn’t make the play between two defenders.
The Horned Frogs’ four-game home losing streak is their longest since five in a row from November 1996 to November 1997. Before this year, they hadn’t lost consecutive home games in the same season since 1998.
This is Oklahoma’s eighth Big 12 title, all in even-numbered years since Bob Stoops became coach in 1999. The Sooners have been to eight BCS games in that span.
No. 24 Oklahoma State
WACO, Texas — Lache Seastrunk rushed for 178 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, and Nick Florence passed for 296 yards as Baylor beat No. 24 Oklahoma State 41-34 Saturday.
Baylor (7-5, 4-5 Big 12) has won at least seven games in three straight seasons — the first time the Bears have done that since 1949-51.
Seastrunk’s long scoring run gave Baylor a 41-27 lead with 5:11 left in the game.
The sophomore burst through the middle and slowed down about 25 yards shy of the end zone. Seastrunk stumbled into the end zone and was down on the turf before limping off with an apparent right leg injury.
J.W. Walsh rushed for two touchdowns and Josh Stewart had 147 yards receiving for Oklahoma State (7-5, 5-4).
Clint Chelf threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to David Glidden to make it 41-34 with 1:16 left in the game.
Baylor recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock to secure its third straight victory. The Bears had lost six in a row to the Cowboys by an average of 31.7 points.
Bears linebacker Eddie Lackey returned an interception for a touchdown in the first quarter to help Baylor jump out to a 21-point lead in the first half.
Florence threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to Tevin Reese and the senior quarterback also rushed for 71 yards and a score in the final home game of his career.
Florence has thrown for 4,121 yards this season and is 172 yards shy of breaking the school’s single-season passing mark, which Robert Griffin III set last season.
After sputtering offensively most of the second half, Oklahoma State drove 88 yards to make it 34-27 on Walsh’s 4-yard touchdown run with 5:30 left in the game.
On the next play from scrimmage, Seastrunk broke loose for his 76-yard touchdown. As soon as he crossed the goal line, the Baylor crowd began chanting his name.
Seastrunk stayed on the sideline for the final minutes, but he didn’t return to the game.
The Bears took the lead for good early on Lackey’s second interception return for a touchdown in two games.
No. 16 Oregon State 77,
CORVALLIS, Ore. — Storm Woods ran for two touchdowns in the first quarter and No. 16 Oregon State put up its highest point total ever, routing Nicholls State 77-3 on Saturday in a game postponed by Hurricane Isaac.
The Beavers surpassed their 76-0 win over Willamette in 1931.
Oregon State (9-3) started playing its substitutes against the lower-division Colonels in taking a 35-0 halftime lead. Markus Wheaton caught 12 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown and sat out the second half.
Officials from both schools decided to put off the Sept. 1 opener when the storm bore down on the Colonels’ campus in Thibodeaux, La.
The Beavers had a complete turnaround from their 3-9 finish last year. Oregon State is possibly headed to the Holiday Bowl in San Diego on Dec. 27, and representatives from that bowl and the Alamo Bowl were in attendance. The team will learn its destination on Sunday.
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