Hurts rallies No. 1 Alabama to win over No. 4 Georgia
ATLANTA — In a dramatic twist on last season’s national championship game, Jalen Hurts came off the bench to pass for one touchdown and run for another in the fourth quarter, rallying No. 1 Alabama to a 35- 28 win over No. 4 Georgia for the Southeastern Conference title Saturday.
Heisman Trophy favorite Tua Tagovailoa had to be helped off the field with just over 11 minutes remaining after one of his own linemen stepped on the quarterback’s right ankle as he attempted to throw.
Enter Hurts, who led Alabama to the national title game as a freshman but lost the starting job to Tagovailoa. Hurts calmly guided the Crimson Tide ( 13- 0, No. 1 CFP) to game- tying touchdown with a 10- yard pass to Jerry Jeudy.
After Georgia ( 11- 2, No. 4 CFP) was stuffed on a fake punt near midfield, Hurts took matters into his own hands for the winning score. Spotting an opening up the middle, he took off on a 15- yard TD run with 1: 04 remaining .
This was a reversal of the storyline from last season’s national title game, when Tagovailoa replaced an ineffective Hurts at the start of the second half with Alabama trailing Georgia 13- 0. The replacement threw three touchdown passes, including a 41- yarder in overtime that gave the Tide a stunning 26- 23 victory.
Tagovailoa won the starting job in preseason practice and performed brilliantly during the regular season, throwing 36 touchdown passes with only two interceptions.
The SEC title game took a different path. Georgia put quite a beating on Tagovailoa, who was picked off twice, spent much of his spare time in the medical tent and was largely ineffective as the Bulldogs built a pair of two- touchdown leads.
This time, it was Hurts who bailed out the Crimson Tide. When he trotted off the field after the winning TD, Tagovailoa was one of the first ones to greet him on the sideline . Afterward, they stood side- by- side on the podium in the middle of the field while Alabama received its SEC championship trophy.
Now, Alabama is headed back to the College Football Playoff, looking for its second straight national title and the sixth of the last decade under coach Nick Saban.
NO. 5 OKLAHOMA 39, NO. 9 TEXAS 27
ARLINGTON, Texas — Kyler Murray threw for 379 yards and three touchdowns as Oklahoma beat Texas in the Big 12 championship game, with the Sooners avenging their only loss and making their case for a return to the College Football Playoff.
Murray, the Heisman Trophy- contending dualthreat quarterback, threw two of his TDs to Grant Calcaterra. That included an impressive 18- yard score on a third- and- 10 play with two minutes left as the Sooners ( 12- 1, No. 5 CFP) won their seventh consecutive game despite being held to fewer than 40 points for the first time in nine games.
Sam Ehlinger was 23of- 36 passing for 349 yards with two touchdowns, and he also ran for two scores for Texas ( 9- 4), but his final pass was picked off by Tre Norwood at the 1 in the final minute.
NO. 8 UCF 56, MEMPHIS 41
ORLANDO, Fla. — Darriel Mack shrugged off two early turnovers to rush for three second- half touchdowns and rally UCF over Memphis in the American Athletic Conference championship game.
With the redshirt freshman filling in for injured quarterback McKenzie Milton, the Knights ( 12- 0, No. 8 CFP) won their second straight league title and extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 25 games.
Mack also threw for 348 yards and two TDs without an interceptions to keep UCF, the only FBS team to finish undefeated a year ago, in the conversation about who’s deserving of consideration for berths in the College Football Playoff.
Greg McCrae rushed for 206 yards and one TD for the Knights, who beat the Tigers 62- 55 in the 2017 AAC title game and rallied from a 16- point second- half deficit to win 31- 30 at Memphis during the regular season.
NO. 24 IOWA ST. 27, DRAKE 24
AMES, Iowa — David Montgomery ran for 145 yards and two touchdowns and Iowa State barely survived a near- upset by nonscholarship FCS school Drake.