Dawg-gone close


ATLANTA — AJ McCarron threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper with 3:15 remaining, and No. 2 Alabama advanced to a national championship showdown with Notre Dame by holding off No. 3 Georgia 32-28 in a thrilling Southeastern Conference title game Saturday.

The Crimson Tide (12-1) trailed 21-10 after Alec Ogletree returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown in the third quarter.

But after Alabama surged ahead, it was Georgia (11-2) nearly pulling it out.

The Bulldogs were at the Alabama 4 after Chris Conley hauled in a short pass but the clock ran out before the Bulldogs could get off another play.

Both teams played like champions, but only the Tide is moving on to face the top-ranked Fighting Irish. 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.

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.

No. 12 OKLAHOMA 24,

TCU 17

FORT WORTH, Texas — Landry Jones threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns, Damien Williams ran untouched 66 yards for a score, and Oklahoma earned 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 defeated No. 23 Texas 42-24 on Saturday night. The two teams finished tied atop the Big 12 standings, but KSU won by virtue of its win over Oklahoma.

Oklahoma, whose only other loss was to No. 1 Notre Dame, is in good shape for the final at-large BCS berth even though K-State won.

TCU (7-5, 4-5) lost all four of its Big 12 games at home despite winning four on the road.

No. 16 OREGON STATE 77,

NICHOLLS STATE 3

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Storm Woods ran for two touchdowns in the first quarter, and Oregon State put up its highest point total ever.

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 a 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 today.

BAYLOR 41,

No. 24 OKLAHOMA STATE 34

WACO, Texas — Lache Seastrunk rushed for 178 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, and Nick Florence passed for 296 yards for Baylor.

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 for Oklahoma State (7-5, 5-4).

No. 25 BOISE STATE 27,

NEVADA 21

RENO, Nev. — Joe Southwick threw two touchdown passes to lead Boise State to a share of the Mountain West Conference title.

The Broncos ensured the nation’s best seventh consecutive 10-win season.

D.J. Harper ran for 130 yards for Boise State (10-2, 7-1) and the Broncos’ defense put the clamps on a Nevada offense that was averaging 38 points per game.

Stefphon Jefferson ran for 139 yards and a touchdown, and Cody Fajardo passed for 203 yards and ran for 81 for the Wolf Pack (7-5, 4-4), who lost four of their last five games after starting the season 6-1.

Matt Miller caught seven passes for 127 yards, including a 52-yard touchdown from Southwick that put Boise ahead late 24-7.

No. 7 Kansas St. 42,

No. 23 Texas 24

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Collin Klein threw a touchdown pass and ran for two scores and No. 7 Kansas State beat No. 23 Texas for its third conference title in 117 years and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl.

The Wildcats had never played for a conference championship in their last game at home, and had never had a player end the regular season in such close contention for the Heisman Trophy as Klein.

Neither of his main competitors, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel nor Notre Dame linebacker Manti Teo, played this weekend. So Klein, a multitalented senior, had the stage all to himself, one last chance to burnish his credentials for what would be Kansas State’s first Heisman.

In front of their sixth sellout in seven home games, the Wildcats (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) tied their team record for victories in a season and matched Oklahoma’s Big 12 record.

Kansas State has beaten Texas (8-4, 5-4) five in a row.

ACC Championship

No. 13 Florida St. 21,

Georgia Tech 15

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Florida State has regained its perch atop the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The 13th-ranked Seminoles opened with a flurry on offense and rode a strong defensive performance the rest of the way to hold off unranked Georgia Tech to capture its first Atlantic Coast Conference championship since 2005 and earn a trip to the Orange Bowl.

It was Florida State’s 13th ACC title.

James Wilder Jr. ran for two touchdowns as the heavily favored Seminoles (11-2) built a 21-6 lead at the half and held on to win, easing some of the sting from last week’s 37-26 loss to their bitter rival, No. 4 Florida.

The win didn’t come easily.

Georgia Tech came in as a two-touchdown underdog and it looked like they might get blown out, but the game wasn’t decided until defensive back Karlos Williams intercepted Yellow Jackets quarterback Tevin Washington with less than a minute remaining.

Big Ten Championship

Wisconsin 70,

No. 14 Nebraska 31

INDIANAPOLIS — Wisconsin took the ball and ran away with another Big Ten title.

Montee Ball ran for 202 yards and three touchdowns, and the Badgers scored seven touchdowns on their first nine possessions.

Wisconsin will be the first five-loss team to play in the Rose Bowl and is the first school to represent the league in three consecutive Rose Bowls since Michigan in the late 1970s.

“As my AD tells me all the time, you haven’t one won yet,” coach Bret Bielema said. “We’re going out there to win. That’s the mission, and I appreciate all the fans coming out to Madison East.”

It was a milestone night for the Badgers.

For the first time in school history, the Badgers had two 200-yard rushers. They finished with the fourth-highest rushing total in school history (539) and tied a conference championship game scoring record. Texas also scored 70 points in the 2005 Big 12 championship game.

And it was a fitting end to a wacky Big Ten season. Wisconsin (8-5, 4-4) only reached this year’s because Leaders Division champion Ohio State (12-0) and division runner-up Penn State (8-4) were both ineligible for postseason play.

Ball broke the Football Bowl Subdivision career rushing touchdowns record and was named the game MVP.

Melvin Gordon opened the scoring with a 56-yard TD run and closed the first half with a 60-yard run to set up another TD, rushing for a career-high 216 yards on nine carries.

Three different Badgers threw passes, including running back James White who also ran for four TDs.

The defense was dominant, too. In the first half alone, Taylor Martinez was sacked three times, fumbled twice, losing one and having an early pick-six.

Conference USA Championship

Tulsa 33,

UCF 27 (OT)

TULSA, Okla. — Alex Singleton ran for 100 yards and plunged over the top for a 1-yard score in overtime to lift Tulsa to a 33-27 victory over UCF on Saturday in the Conference USA championship game.

Tulsa won the C-USA championship for the first time since 2005 and is off to the Liberty Bowl.

Singleton came up with just the second 100-yard game of his career, breaking the school record for touchdowns in the process. He also had a 7-yard score in the second quarter to break Tarrion Adams’ mark with his 40th overall touchdown and 39 on the ground.

After Cory Dorris blocked Shawn Moffitt’s 38-yard field goal on Central Florida’s possession to start overtime, Tulsa (10-3) kept the ball on the ground on five straight plays. Singleton was initially given a touchdown on second-and-goal, but officials ruled on replay that he was down inside the 1.

That was no problem for the burly back whose specialty is short yardage.

UCF quarterback Blake Bortles accounted for three touchdowns for UCF (9-4).