Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Sports

Alabama wins West with rout

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama left no doubt Saturday that it's tops in the state. Proving it's the best team in the SEC and, perhaps, the nation won't be as easy.

AJ McCarron threw four touchdowns and Eddie Lacy rushed for two to lead No. 2 Alabama to a 49-0 victory against Auburn and a berth in the SEC title game Saturday.

With the most lopsided Iron Bowl since their 55-0 win in 1948, the Crimson Tide clinched the West Division and faces No. 3 Georgia in Atlanta for the conference championship. (It will be Alabama's eighth SEC title game but first against a team other than Florida.) The winner likely goes to the national title game.

"In all those games that I've been a part of, they are about as good as any game in the country other than the national championship game," Alabama coach Nick Saban said of the SEC title game.

Auburn completed the worst season for any team within two years of winning an Associated Press national title in what might have been the last game for coach Gene Chizik. School president Jay Gogue has said only he'll evaluate the program at season's end. That end came in a painful way.

Alabama outgained the Tigers 483-163; had 25 first downs to Auburn's seven; produced touchdowns on its first seven possessions; converted its first 11 third downs and allowed Auburn to cross midfield once.

"Obviously, that was a very disappointing loss, embarrassing loss to our state rivals," Chizik said. "It was obvious to everybody. It was a sad performance.

"The Auburn fans, the Auburn alumni, don't deserve that."

Auburn hasn't scored an offensive touchdown in the past two meetings since Cam Newton & Co. completed the rivalry's largest comeback in their last visit to Bryant-Denny Stadium two years ago. This one supplied another milestone of sorts.

It's the first time Alabama has scored 40-plus points in two straight Iron Bowls on the heels of last season's 42-14 win, when Auburn managed to score on a kick return and fumble recovery.

Said Lacy: "We didn't take our foot off the gas."

Bulldogs easily remain in BCS title contention

ATHENS, Ga. — Aaron Murray threw two touchdowns as Georgia beat Georgia Tech 42-10 to keep its national title hopes alive.

Gov. Nathan Deal presented the Governor's Cup to the Bulldogs after they beat the Yellow Jackets for the 11th time in 12 seasons. He congratulated both teams on a "great game" before turning to Georgia's players.

"Keep up the good work," Deal said. "We're looking for a national championship."

First is the SEC title game.

"Atlanta. On to Atlanta. Alabama," receiver Malcolm Mitchell said. "On to the next game."

Tech put up little fight. Georgia returned the opening kickoff 47 yards. Four plays later, it was 7-0 on Todd Gurley's 3-yard run. Jackets running back Robert Godhigh fumbled at the Bulldogs 1 on the ensuing series. Soon after, it was 14-0 on Gurley's 1-yard run.

Murray, a graduate of Tampa's Plant High, went 14-of-17 for 215 yards, becoming the first SEC player to pass for more than 3,000 yards in three straight seasons.

"It was a pretty good thumping," Tech coach Paul Johnson said. "We could not slow them down at all, which has been a recurring theme the last few times we've played them."

No. 9 Texas A&M 59, Mizzou 29: Johnny Manziel gave fans a scare then passed for 372 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 67 and two touchdowns for the host Aggies. Texas A&M has won 10 games for the first time since 1998. Manziel twisted his left knee while being tackled during the first quarter but missed only a few plays. The Aggies scored touchdowns on their first six possessions, Manziel throwing his three touchdowns, to lead 42-0. The Tigers played without starting quarterback James Franklin, who sustained a concussion last week against Syracuse.

Ole Miss 41, No. 25 Mississippi St. 24: Bo Wallace threw five touchdowns, three to Donte Moncrief, for the host Rebels. The Bulldogs had won three in a row in the Egg Bowl. "This game was personal," said Moncrief, who caught seven passes for 173 yards. "I've been hearing through Twitter and other media that we were soft and a lot of noise. I know I could make plays, and that's what I did."

Tennessee 37, Kentucky 17: Tyler Bray threw for 293 yards and four touchdown for the host Vols in a matchup of teams that entered winless in conference play. Bray finished with 3,612 yards and 34 touchdowns. Both are second in Tennessee history to Peyton Manning's 3,819 and 36 in 1997. The difference? Manning's Vols won the SEC title. "I thought we'd be going to a bowl game, but things didn't go our way this year," Bray said. "We didn't play well." Up 20-17 in the third, Bray hit Mychal Rivera for a 29-yard touchdown and Cordarrelle Patterson for a 21-yarder.

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