Late touchdown lifts No. 14 Notre Dame to second straight bowl win over No. 17 LSU – NBCSports.com

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Late touchdown lifts No. 14 Notre Dame to second straight bowl win over No. 17 LSU – NBCSports.com

A late touchdown pass from backup quarterback Ian Book to wideout Miles Boykin

 lifted No. 14 Notre Dame to a 21-17 win over No. 17 LSU in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. It was the second time in four seasons the Irish have closed the year with a bowl win over LSU; the Irish booked a 31-28 Music City Bowl defeat of the Bayou Bengals to conclude the 2014 campaign.

After a 3-0 first half, LSU took the lead on a 20-yard pass from Danny Etling to Derrius Guice, then extended its advantage to 14-6 on a 2-yard Guice run with 11:13 left in regulation. However, two missed field goals late in the first half cost LSU a chance to take complete control of the game with Guice’s scores.

With Book in the game for starter Brandon Wimbush (3-of-8 for 52 yards), Notre Dame drove 75 yards in 10 plays to score on a 5-yard Dexter Williams run, then tied the game on a Josh Adams shovel pass that was originally ruled short of the goal line but overturned upon review.

LSU moved to the Notre Dame 1-yard line with 2:03 remaining, but Ed Orgeron elected to go for a 17-yard Jack Gonsoulin rather than risk a 4th-and-1 play. Gonsoulin’s kick was good, giving the Tigers the lead.

Notre Dame needed only three plays to take the lead, when Book (14-of-19 for 164 yards with two touchdowns and one interception) found Boykin for this 55-yard score.

LSU’s last-gasp chance to win the game died on an incomplete Etling pass on a 4th-and-15 from his own 29-yard line.

LSU closed Orgeron’s first season as head coach at 9-4, while Notre Dame successfully erased the taste of last year’s 4-8 season with a 10-3 campaign. The win allowed Brian Kelly to become the fourth head coach in Notre Dame history to record three 10-win seasons.

The College Football Playoff was created in large part in response to an all SEC BCS National Championship. Four years into the new system, the CFP has its own all SEC final. No. 3 Georgia outlasted No. 2 Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl earlier Monday, and in the Sugar Bowl No. 4 Alabama avenged its title game loss a year ago by flattening No. 1 Clemson in a 24-6 win that wasn’t as close as the final score.

The win pushes Alabama (12-1) into its sixth national championship game under Nick Saban and its third consecutive title game.

Leading 10-3 at the half, the Tide provided Clemson a window early in the third quarter to climb back in the game and even take the lead. It started when Alabama accepted the ball to open the second half and promptly fumbled the exchange on its first snap, which Clemson recovered at the Tide’s 20-yard line. The Tigers actually went five yards backwards on its possession, but a 42-yard Alex Spence field goal cut the deficit to 10-6.

Clemson (12-2) forced a three-and-out on Alabama’s next touch, then moved to a 2nd-and-2 at the Tide 35 before Alabama defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne single-handedly ended the game. First, he caught a deflected interception and returned the ball 21 yards to the Clemson 42, and a 15-yard horse collar flag staked the ball at the Clemson 27. The Tide moved the ball to the Clemson 1, leading Alabama to put in the jumbo package. Rather than run the ball, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll called a pass, and Jalen Hurts hit Payne for the first touchdown catch of the 6-foot-2, 308-pound defender’s career.

If that wasn’t enough, Clemson’s own first-play disaster put the game out of reach. Another deflected Kelly Bryant pass landed in the arms of Alabama linebacker Mack Wilson, who raced the ball 18 yards to pay dirt to give Alabama a commanding 24-6 lead with 5:27 left in the third quarter.

Clemson could pull no closer, and an 18-play, 75-yard drive ended in a turnover on downs after Kelly Bryant threw incomplete out of the back of the end zone with 1:43 left in the game. Alabama harassed Bryant into the worst game of his career, completing 18-of-36 passes for just 124 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions while taking a season-high five sacks. Clemson managed just 64 yards on 33 carries.

Hurts hit 16-of-24 passes for 120 yards with two touchdowns and no picks while rushing 11 times for 40 yards. Damien Harris led all runners with 19 carries for 77 yards.

Looking ahead to next week, the only issue for Alabama moving forward were injuries to offensive lineman Lester Cotton and linebacker Anfernee Jennings. Both left the game with apparent leg injuries.

Alabama dominated the game from the start. After the teams exchanged three three-and-outs to open the game, the Tide opened the scoring with a 10-play, 47-yard drive capped by a 24-yard Andy Pappanastos field goal. Alabama forced another Clemson three-and-out on the Tigers’ next possession — Clemson’s third of the first quarter — Alabama started at the Clemson 46-yard line and leaned on its running game, with seven plays covering 34 yards, all of them in the hands of Hurts, Harris or Bo Scarborough before Hurts found Calvin Ridley wide open on a scramble for a 12-yard touchdown grab, putting the Tide up 10-0 to close the first quarter.

Sensing a now-or-never moment, Clemson turned to Bryant. After a 7-yard sack to open the drive, Bryant converted with runs of five and 20 yards and accounted for 53 of the Tigers’ 54 yards, setting up a 44-yard Alex Spence field goal to get the defending champions on the board at the 10-minute mark of the second quarter.

Alabama didn’t answer with points, but the Tide did chew more than four minutes off the clock and pin Clemson at its own 10 to start its next possession. It was the fourth time in five chances that Clemson started inside its own 17 (and the fifth began at the 24). Clemson moved out of the shadow of its own goal post but punted the ball back to Alabama, allowing the Tide to start a drive with the ball outside its own 40 for the fourth time in five tries. This drive covered 39 yards in 10 plays at 3:44, but Pappanastos’s 38-yard field goal doinked off the right upright with 17 seconds left in the half. 

The first half of Tide-Tigers III hasn’t lived up to the first two installments that saw Alabama and Clemson trade national championship victories with a composite score of 76-75 Alabama. Instead, it’s been a Nick Saban kind of football game, as the Crimson Tide leads 10-3 at the break in the Sugar Bowl.

Alabama completely dominated the first quarter. After the teams exchanged three three-and-outs to open the game, the Tide opened the scoring with a 10-play, 47-yard drive capped by a 24-yard Andy Pappanastos field goal. Alabama forced another Clemson three-and-out on the Tigers’ next possession — Clemson’s third of the first quarter — Alabama started at the Clemson 46-yard line and leaned on its running game, with seven plays covering 34 yards, all of them in the hands of Jalen HurtsDamien Harris or Bo Scarborough before Hurts found Calvin Ridley wide open on a scramble for a 12-yard touchdown grab, putting the Tide up 10-0 to close the first quarter.

Sensing a now-or-never moment, Clemson turned to Kelly Bryant. After a 7-yard sack to open the drive, Bryant converted with runs of five and 20 yards and accounted for 53 of the Tigers’ 54 yards, setting up a 44-yard Alex Spence field goal to get the defending champions on the board at the 10-minute mark of the second quarter.

Alabama didn’t answer with points, but the Tide did chew more than four minutes off the clock and pin Clemson at its own 10 to start its next possession. It was the fourth time in five chances that Clemson started inside its own 17 (and the fifth began at the 24). Clemson moved out of the shadow of its own goal post but punted the ball back to Alabama, allowing the Tide to start a drive with the ball outside its own 40 for the fourth time in five tries. This drive covered 39 yards in 10 plays at 3:44, but Pappanastos’s 38-yard field goal doinked off the right upright with 17 seconds left. 

Alabama out-gained Clemson 182-73 and held an 11-4 edge in first downs, but produced just 10 points in three red zone trips and, thus, leads by just seven. Hurts hit 10-of-13 passes for 87 yards and the game’s only touchdown and rushed five times for 32 yards. Harris carried a game-high 12 times for 55 yards.

Bryant completed 6-of-12 passes for 43 yards and led Clemson with eight carries for 21 yards. Running backs Tavien FosterTravis Feaster and Adam Choice combined to rush five times for 10 yards.

Alabama will receive to open the second half.

PASADENA, Calif. — If you’re going to mount an epic comeback, making history in the Granddaddy of them All isn’t a bad place to do so.

No. 3 Georgia stormed back from 17 down (and a seven point deficit in the final few minutes) against the Heisman Trophy winner and No. 2 Oklahoma to capture a dramatic 54-48 win in double overtime of the 104th Rose Bowl to book a southern homecoming to end all homecomings with a spot in the National Championship Game in Atlanta next week.

Not surprisingly, the Bulldogs used what worked all season: run the ball, play some defense and find a little luck.

Tailbacks Sony Michel and Nick Chubb both had the game of their careers on the grand stage of the College Football Playoff Semifinal and cemented their status as the best duo to share a backfield. Michel posted a 75-yard touchdown for one of his three scores on the night and scored the winner from 27 yards out on a direct snap to win the game. He finished with 181 on the ground. Chubb didn’t mind playing a little game of ‘anything you can do, I can do too’ in ripping off a 50-yarder to the house to go with his 145 yards in the game.

That helped take the pressure off of freshman quarterback Jake Fromm —  not that he needed it with an efficient 210 yards passing and two touchdowns. He never once looked overwhelmed by the moment despite the numbers and made several huge throws down the stretch and on the final drive that tied the game with just a minute left.

Though the final numbers were not something for head coach Kirby Smart to be proud about, he’ll take them given that the team left Southern California with the win. Linebacker Roquan Smith was all over the field as the team’s leader on that side of the ball and a big reason why the Bulldogs were able to emerge victorious in the first ever overtime game in Rose Bowl history.

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was still dazzling with the football in his hands even if it didn’t quite get the job done. The nation’s most outstanding player threw for 287 yards and a pair of touchdowns while also catching a score in the corner of the end zone for good measure. While he did throw an interception that contributed to Bulldogs clawing their way back in the second half, Mayfield was simply phenomenal when the pressure was cranked up the most.

It wasn’t just a one-man show for the most potent offense in college football either. Rodney Anderson made it very clear that the field was full of terrific tailbacks as he ran for 201 yards and two touchdowns — one a 45 yarder that early in the second quarter that put the SEC champs on defense that the team was here to play too.

Somewhat ironically however, the biggest play for the team may have come from a defense that allowed 527 yards and were frequently chasing players instead of tackling them. With just under seven minutes to go in the game, linebacker Caleb Kelly went low to tackle Georgia’s Sony Michel and put his helmet right on the ball to force a fumble along the sidelines. Steven Parker was in the right place at the right time though and returned it 46 yards the other way for a go-ahead score.

Michel would make up for that mistake not long after to seal the game, taking advantage of a blocked field goal in the second overtime to lock up the victory.

The night belonged to Georgia as they won the first ever meeting between the two powerhouses by capturing the first ever overtime game in Rose Bowl history. Not a bad trip out West for the Dawgs but that plane ride back to Georgia will be even sweeter.

PASADENA, Calif. — The nation’s best offense seemed to be slightly ahead of one of college football’s best defenses early on at the Granddaddy of them All.

Behind a barrage of quick passes from the Heisman Trophy winner and the terrific running of tailback Rodney Anderson, No. 2 Oklahoma took a 31-17 halftime lead over No. 3 Georgia in the best track meet in college football at the 104th Rose Bowl.

Baker Mayfield was terrific in the first half and certainly looked at 100% after dealing with an illness in the week leading up to the game. The nation’s most outstanding player was nearly perfect against the No. 1 pass defense in the FBS, throwing for 200 yards and a touchdown on the grand stage of a College Football Playoff semifinal. Incredibly, he even caught a touchdown in the corner of the end zone with six seconds left in the half to extend the team’s lead and even the simple threat of the dynamic signal-caller opened up plenty of other avenues for the Sooners to attack. Anderson in particular took advantage on nearly every drive, ripping off a pair of 40+ yard runs on his way to 125 and a pair of touchdowns at the break.

Oklahoma wound up scoring on five of their six possessions in what would be come a theme on the day of both sides racing up and down the most picturesque field in the sport.

The Bulldogs were no slouch offensively either even if their defense wasn’t living up the high billing. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm was not operating an Air Raid attack but had 109 yards on 12-of-17 passing with a touchdown and looked ready for his big moment out West.

Of course, it helps to have tailbacks like Georgia’s to turn around and hand the ball off to. Sony Michel broke off a 75 yard touchdown run in the first quarter that showed off a bit of that SEC speed while finishing the half with 95 on the ground. Teammate Nick Chubb wasn’t shabby either in adding 89 yards on six carries.

Last year’s Rose Bowl set numerous offensive records when Penn State and USC got into a track meet but it seems the Sooners and Bulldogs are well on their way to rewriting those numbers to kick off 2018. A ticket to Atlanta and the national title game is on the line in the second half and it has the makings of a classic if the SEC champs can get back into things after that dazzling show from both sides.

Published at Tue, 02 Jan 2018 00:12:57 +0000

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