Clemson stays perfect, keeps ACC crown
Trevor Lawrence threw four touchdown passes, three to Tee Higgins, and No. 3 Clemson won its fifth consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference title with a 62-17 victory over No. 23 Virginia on Saturday night.
The defending national champion Tigers (13-0) have won 28 games in a row and head to the College Football Playoff with chance for a third crown in four years.
And while Virginia (9-4) and quarterback Bryce Perkins put forth a game plan that caused the Tigers to sweat early on, there was no stopping Clemson’s dazzling set of experienced playmakers led by Lawrence and Higgins on the way to ACC championship game records for points and yards (621).
Lawrence set an ACC title-game record with his four touchdown throws and had 302 yards passing, his second best total this season, and completed 16 of 22 passes before coming out in the third quarter.
Higgins finished with 182 yards receiving yards and the three TDs, both bests in ACC championship game play.
Travis Etienne had 114 yards, his eighth game over 100 yards this season.
Virginia and Perkins appeared to have a game plan to compete with the Tigers, even without leading receiver Joe Reed out due to injury.
Ole Miss hires Kiffin: Lane Kiffin is back in the SEC, taking over at Mississippi.
Kiffin and the Rebels made the announcement Saturday after Florida Atlantic defeated UAB in the Conference USA championship game, the Owls’ second league title in his three seasons. It had been college football’s worst-kept secret since Friday, and the schools ended all doubt Saturday afternoon by conceding that the deal has been made.
Kiffin went 26-13 in his three seasons at Florida Atlantic and is 61-34 in parts of eight seasons as a college head coach at Tennessee, USC and FAU.
Kiffin, 44, takes over a Mississippi program that hasn’t produced a winning season since going 10-3 in 2015 and winning the Sugar Bowl, capping a string of four straight bowl appearances. The Rebels went 4-8 this season.
Kiffin replaces Matt Luke, a Mississippi alum who was fired Sunday after going 15-21 in three seasons.
Pac-12 title game: CJ Verdell ran for 208 yards and broke open the game with two long touchdown runs in the fourth quarter, and No. 13 Oregon spoiled No. 5 Utah’s playoff hopes with a 37-15 victory in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night in Santa Clara, Calif.
The Utes (11-2) came into the game hoping to make a case for one of the four playoff spots with a conference title but instead got overmatched by Oregon (11-2) and lost their second straight Pac-12 championship game.
They fell into a 20-0 hole in the first half and then gave up a 70-yard TD run to Verdell after cutting the deficit to 23-15.
AAC title game: Antonio Gibson caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Brady White with 1:14 left and No. 17 Memphis defeated No. 20 Cincinnati 29-24 in the American Athletic Conference championship game Saturday in Memphis, Tenn.
The victory marked the first time Memphis (12-1) has won the AAC title in its third straight conference championship game. The Tigers now wait for an invitation to the Cotton Bowl as the highest-ranked Group of Five team.
Eight days after beating the Bearcats 34-24 at home in the regular-season finale, Memphis rallied for another win.
Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder, who did not play last week against Memphis, passed for 233 yards and ran for 113 more. He also had a 15-yard touchdown in the first half.
The Bearcats dropped to 10-3.
Mountain West title game: Jaylon Henderson threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score to lead No. 19 Boise State to a 31-10 victory over Hawaii in the Mountain West championship game Saturday in Boise, Idaho.
Boise State (12-1) won its second conference title in three years, beating Hawaii again this season after winning the Oct. 12th meeting 59-37. After rolling up 518 yards of offense in the first game, the Broncos leaned on their defense in the rematch.
The Broncos made two defensive stands inside the 5, once in the second quarter and another early in the third.
Hawaii (9-5) was making its first appearance in the title game.
Sun Belt title game: Darrynton Evans scored three touchdowns and No. 21 Appalachian State repeated as Sun Belt Conference champions with a 45-38 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday in Boone, N.C.
Evans won the game’s MVP for the second straight season.
The Mountaineers (12-1) racked up 416 yards on offense.