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Iowa, Michigan State grind through epic Big 10 final

INDIANAPOLIS - The Spartans (12-1) provided plenty of drama on Championship Saturday, with an epic game-winning drive to beat Iowa 16-13 in an old-school Big Ten championship game that was only missing leather helmets.

Here's who is in: No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 5 Michigan State.

L.J. Scott kept lunging forward, stretching the ball over the goal line for a touchdown with 27 seconds left and No. 5 Michigan State all but locked up a spot in the College Football Playoff, edging No. 4 Iowa 16-13 on Saturday night in the Big Ten championship game.

Connor Cook led the Spartans on a 22-play drive that set up Scott's 1-yard run. A half-dozen Iowa defenders tried to stop Scott, but he wouldn't be denied.

Iowa (12-1) lost for the first time this season - and just barely.

Five times in the final 2 minutes, the Spartans snapped the ball from the Iowa 5 or closer. Finally, after getting bottled up by three defenders on third-and-goal from 1, Scott broke free just long enough to get the ball across the goal line for Michigan State's only TD.

The 82-yard march wiped out Iowa's 13-9 lead, which it got on an 85-yard pass from C.J. Beathard to Tevaun Smith.

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ATLANTA - Heisman Trophy favorite Derrick Henry ran for 189 bruising yards and Alabama locked up its spot in the College Football Playoff, beating Florida with a dominating defensive performance in the Southeastern Conference championship game.

Alabama (12-1, No. 2 CFP) held the Gators to 3 yards of offense in the second and third quarters, assuring itself of a spot in the semifinals at either the Cotton or Orange Bowl on New Year's Eve.

Florida briefly grabbed a 7-2 lead on Antonio Callaway's 85-yard punt return for a touchdown early in the second quarter. Alabama dominated from there.

Henry came into the game as a Heisman favorite and certainly did nothing to hurt his chances, with a staggering 44 carries against one of the nation's top defenses to earn MVP honors. He put Alabama ahead to stay on a 2-yard run late in the first half, and looked as fresh at the end of the game as he did at the beginning, carrying the ball right to the final seconds.

Henry tied the SEC record for touchdowns in a season with 23 and eclipsed Herschel Walker's 34-year-old conference mark for yards rushing in a season with 1,986 with at least one more game left.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Deshaun Watson threw for 289 yards and three touchdowns and ran for two scores, and Clemson held off North Carolina to win Atlantic Coast Conference title.

Watson had 420 total yards and five total touchdowns to set ACC championship game records and assure the Tigers (13-0, No. 1 CFP) a spot in the College Football Playoff.

North Carolina's Ryan Switzer hauled in his second TD catch of the game with 1:13 left to cut Clemson's lead to eight and give the Tigers a scare.

The Tar Heels (11-2) appeared to recover the onside kick, but were called for being offside - although replays didn't show any player in a blue jersey being offside - and had to kick again. The Tar Heels attempted another onside kick and this time Clemson recovered and ran out the clock.


SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Christian McCaffrey ran for 207 yards and a score, threw a touchdown pass, caught another and broke Barry Sanders' single-season all-purpose yards record to make his Heisman Trophy case and lead Stanford to the Pac-12 championship.

Kevin Hogan caught the TD pass from McCaffrey, threw one and ran for a third and Solomon Thomas scored on a 34-yard fumble return for the Cardinal (11-2, No. 7 CFP). Stanford will likely play in the Rose Bowl.

Cody Kessler threw for a touchdown and ran for another score for the Trojans (8-5, No. 20 CFP), who lost in their first game since removing the interim tag from coach Clay Helton.

TEXAS 23, NO. 12 BAYLOR 17

WACO, Texas - Tyrone Swoopes threw for 151 yards and a touchdown and ran for a score in his first Texas start since the opener to help the Longhorns eliminate Baylor from Sugar Bowl contention.

Texas (4-7, 4-5 Big 12) handed Baylor (9-3, 6-3 Big 12) its third loss in four games in the game marred by an early bench-clearing scuffle.

Baylor was in line to be the Big 12's representative in the Sugar Bowl, with the expectation that conference champion Oklahoma will get into the College Football Playoff.

Johnny Jefferson ran for 158 yards for Baylor and had enough yards to convert a fourth-and-4 with 2:31 left before he fumbled. The Bears got one more chance, but Jefferson's last-ditch pass was incomplete.

NO. 17 HOUSTON 24, NO. 20 TEMPLE 13

HOUSTON - Greg Ward Jr. ran for 148 yards and two touchdowns and Houston beat Temple in the inaugural American Athletic Conference championship game.

The victory makes Houston the Group of Five representative, earning the Cougars a trip to either the Peach Bowl or Fiesta Bowl. First-year coach Tom Herman helped the Cougars (12-1) to their second 12-win season and first since they went 13-1 in 2011 under former coach Kevin Sumlin and quarterback Case Keenum.

Houston jumped to a 17-0 lead with the help of two Temple turnovers, one capped by Ward's 47-yard touchdown run. Temple's P.J. Walker threw for 287 yards with a touchdown and interception, and Robby Anderson had 150 yards receiving.

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