In & around SEC football: Bowl recaps and national championship preview


By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent 

Sugar Bowl Recap
Bryce Young and Will Anderson capped their re-markable collegiate careers by leading Alabama to a resounding 45-20 win over Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl. Young tossed five touchdown passes to five different targets and threw for 321 yards as the Crim-son Tide improved to 11-2 on the season. Jermain Burton caught three passes for 87 yards and a score, while Jahmyr Gibbs added 76 yards on the ground and 66 yards in receptions in his final game for UA. Nick Saban has now won 11 games or more in 12 straight seasons, one of the greatest runs in college football history.
SEC Bowl Recap
The SEC is currently 6-5 in bowl games with Georgia’s national championship game appearance remaining. Florida was dominated by Oregon State, 30-3, in the Las Vegas Bowl without star quarterback Anthony Rich-ardson, while Missouri lost to Wake Forest, 27-18, in the Gasparilla Bowl. Arkansas blew a double-digit lead to Kansas in the Liberty Bowl before rallying to defeat the Jayhawks, 55-53, in triple overtime.
A slow start doomed Ole Miss in its 42-25 loss to Texas Tech in the Texas Bowl. Notre Dame outlasted South Carolina, 48-45, in the Gator Bowl as the Gamecocks dropped to 8-5. Tennessee submitted one of the best performances of any team in a major bowl game in knocking off Clemson, 31-14, in the Orange Bowl with backup quarterback Joe Milton. Alabama dominated Kansas State, 45-20, in an excellent sendoff for Young. Iowa shut out Kentucky, 21-0, in the Music City Bowl in a game that had less than 400 yards combined. LSU obliterated Purdue, 63-7, in the Citrus Bowl, while Mississippi State outlasted Ilinois, 19-10, in the Bull-dogs’ first game since the devastating passing of head coach Mike Leach in December. Defensive co-ordinator Zach Arnett led MSU to the win in his first game as the program’s new head coach.
National Championship Preview and Prediction
TCU vs. Georgia (-12.5). After a drought of over 40 years, the Bulldogs are searching for their second consecutive national championship under Kirby Smart as they take on the Horned Frogs at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. Georgia trailed by double digits to Ohio State on multiple occasions, but Stetson Bennett rallied the Bulldogs to victory, and the Georgia defense played just well enough in the fourth quarter to hold on for the 42-41 win.
Entering the playoffs, many pundits speculated on whether TCU was a real contender or fraudulent. The Horned Frogs proved any doubters wrong with a 51-45 win over Michigan despite being underdogs of more than a touchdown. Max Duggan displayed why he was a Heisman Trophy finalist, and now his team must pull off another upset to win its first national title since 1938.
Georgia has an advantage in the trenches, even though TCU held up well against Michigan’s front on both sides of the ball. TCU’s offense has the explosiveness to give Georgia’s defense trouble, similar to how Ohio State attacked the Georgia secon-dary. Duggan and star recei-ver Quentin Johnston are a matchup nightmare for any team, and they’ll both need to submit dynamic performances in order for the Horned Frogs have a chance. Brock Bowers and the Georgia tight end room are the biggest matchup advantage for the Bulldogs, and Bennett will look for those targets early and often. Prediction: Georgia 38, TCU 27.

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