No. 1 Al­abama thumps Auburn

Daily Press (Sunday) - - Sports - The As­so­ci­ated Press

Tua Tago­v­ailoa threw five touch­down passes and ran for a score to lead No. 1 Al­abama past ri­val Auburn 52-21 in Tuscaloosa.

Tago­v­ailoa and the Crim­son Tide (12-0, 8-0 South­east­ern Con­fer­ence, No. 1 in the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off rank­ings) took over with an ex­plo­sive third quar­ter, when the Heis­man Tro­phy con­tender threw three long touch­down passes.

Tago­v­ailoa is the first Al­abama player to have a hand in six TDs in a game and matched the school record with the five scor­ing passes.

Now, Bama heads to the SEC cham­pi­onship game against No. 5 Ge­or­gia with a guar­an­teed play­off spot on the line.

With Al­abama lead­ing Auburn (7-5, 3-5) 17-14 at half­time, Tago­v­ailoa launched the Tide into an­other SEC blowout. He was 11-of-12 pass­ing for 208 yards and four touch­downs in the sec­ond half, de­spite only play­ing one se­ries in the fourth quar­ter.

Tago­v­ailoa fin­ished 25 of 32 for 324 yards and ran for 26 yards, in­clud­ing a 7-yard touch­down and a 21-yard third-down con­ver­sion on runs.

The sec­ond-half num­bers in­cluded touch­downs of 46 yards to Jerry Jeudy, 33 to Josh Ja­cobs, 40 to DeVonta Smith and 22 to Henry Ruggs III — all ac­cu­rate strikes down­field.

No. 15 Penn State 38, Mary­land 3: Trace McSor­ley com­pleted 12 of 22 passes for 230 yards and had a hand in three touch­downs for the hosts.

McSor­ley added 64 rush­ing yards on 11 car­ries for the Nit­tany Lions (9-3, 6-3 Big Ten, No. 12 CFP).

McSor­ley threw a 34-yard bul­let through freez­ing rain to KJ Ham­ler on the game’s first play, sprinted down­field to throw a block that opened Miles San­ders up for a 35-yard run on the next, then skipped into the end zone from 3 yards to cap the quick open­ing drive.

McSor­ley added an­other touch­down run two pos­ses­sions later when he scram­bled through a pair of de­fend­ers up the mid­dle for 20 yards and a 14-3 lead.

Ricky Slade added 8- and 1-yard touch­down runs and tight end Pat Freier­muth caught a 5-yard touch­down pass from McSor­ley in the fourth quar­ter.

San­ders fin­ished with 128 yards on 14 car­ries, Ham­ler caught three passes for 90 yards.

Tyrrell Pi­grome com­pleted 14 of 23 passes for 185 yards but was sacked five times for the Ter­rap­ins (5-7, 3-6).

No. 20 North­west­ern 24, Illi­nois 16: Clay­ton Thor­son ac­counted for three touch­downs, Isa­iah Browser rushed for 166 yards on 18 car­ries, and North­west­ern beat Illi­nois.

Thor­son com­pleted 12 of 18 passes for 110 yards and two TDs. He also ran for a score, and Bowser posted his fourth 100yard game of the sea­son.

The Wild­cats (8-4, 8-1, No. 19 CFP) will face No. 10 Ohio State in the Big Ten cham­pi­onship game next week­end in In­di­anapo­lis.

Illi­nois (4-8, 2-7) lost for the sixth time in seven games. AJ Bush Jr. com­pleted 23 of 39 passes for 281 yards and a touch­down, and Ricky Smalling fin­ished with seven re­cep­tions for 72 yards and a TD.

Mi­ami 24, No. 24 Pitts­burgh 3: Travis Homer rushed for 168 yards and a long touch­down, Dee­Jay Dal­las ran back a punt for one of his two scores, and host Mi­ami closed its reg­u­lar sea­son by knock­ing off Pitts­burgh.

Dal­las also had a rush­ing touch­down for the Hur­ri­canes (7-5, 4-4 At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence).

Homer is up to 969 yards this sea­son, and he would have a chance to be­come the 10th run­ner in Mi­ami his­tory with a 1,000-yard sea­son if he gets 31 in the bowl game.

Kenny Pick­ett com­pleted 14 of 22 passes for 130 yards for Pitt (7-5, 6-2), which had al­ready locked up the ACC’s Coastal Di­vi­sion ti­tle and a berth in next week­end’s con­fer­ence ti­tle game against Clem­son.

It was a re­ver­sal of last sea­son, when Mi­ami had the Coastal clinched and lost to Pitt in the reg­u­lar-sea­son fi­nale for both clubs.

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