QB Bryce Young of Alabama voted AP Player of the Year

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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Alabama quarterback Bryce Young is The Associated Press college football player of the year, giving the Crimson Tide its second consecutive winner.

Young received 42 of 53 first-place votes from AP Top 25 voters and 137 points to easily finish ahead of Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (four first-place votes, 67 points) for the AP Player of the Year honor presented by Regions Bank.

Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett was third; Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. was fourth; and Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud was fifth.

Young, Huchinson, Pickett and Stroud are the finalists for the Heisman Trophy, which will be presented Saturday in New York.

A sophomore and first-year starter, Young passed for 4,322 yards and 43 touchdowns, leading the top-ranked Tide to the Southeastern Conference championship and the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff. The Tide will face No. 4 Cincinnati on Dec. 31 at the Cotton Bowl.

Young said he felt well prepared for the challenge of leading a program that has set the standard in college football for more than a decade, but nothing speaks louder than performance.

“Settling in and getting to play in different environments, getting to be put in situations, naturally, makes you more comfortable as leaders,” Young told AP. “It’s always about what you do in offseason, how you carry yourself, but any time you’re able to produce in big moments and you’re able to demonstrate a lot, that’s always a big part, as well. Because leadership is a lot about action.”

Young capped his season with an SEC championship game record 421 yards passing against Georgia last week.

Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith became the first Alabama player to win AP player of the year in 2020. Young is the 18th quarterback to win the award since it was established in 1998.

Young, a Southern California native and former five-star recruit, said the high expectations are what drew him to Alabama and help motivate him.

“You want to live up to the pressure and to the hype of it all,” he said.

AP Player of the Year:

Bryce Young, QB, Alabama – 137 points (42 first-place votes).

Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan – 67 (4).

Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt – 41 (2).

Will Anderson Jr., LB, Alabama – 32 (4).

C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State – 17 (1).

Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State – 13.

Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia – 8.

Matt Corral, QB, Mississippi – 2.

Jerome Ford, RB, Cincinnati – 1.

No. 3 TCU loses 31-28 in OT to K-State in Big 12 title game

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Ty Zentner kicked a 31-yard field goal in overtime as 13th-ranked Kansas State beat No. 3 TCU 31-28 in the Big 12 championship game Saturday, leaving the Horned Frogs to wait another day to find out if they had already done enough to get into the four-team College Football Playoff.

The Wildcats set up the winning field goal after TCU (12-1) had the opening possession of overtime and Kendre Miller was stopped short on consecutive plays from inside the 1.

Deuce Vaughn ran for 130 yards and a touchdown and Will Howard threw two TDs for the Wildcats (10-3, No. 10 CFP), who six weeks earlier had jumped out to a 28-10 lead early in the second quarter before TCU scored the game’s last 28 points.

That was one of five games the Horned Frogs (12-1, No. 3 CFP) won when trailing after halftime. But they couldn’t do it again with the chance to guarantee being the first Big 12 team other than Oklahoma to make the playoff.

TCU, the first Big 12 team to complete a regular season undefeated since Texas in 2009, could still get into the playoff. While their case was helped when fourth-ranked Southern California (11-2) lost 47-24 to Utah in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night, the Frogs now have to wait until the final CFP rankings come out Sunday.

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark said before the game that TCU, with first-year coach Sonny Dykes, already deserved to be in the playoff.

“You look at their strength of schedule. You think about how they’ve performed all year long,” Yormark said. “I think regardless, they should be in, for sure.”

No. 4 USC falls to Utah in Pac-12 Championship, damaging playoff hopes

Utah vs. USC
USA Today
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LAS VEGAS — No. 12 Utah pounded a limping, bloodied Caleb Williams and roared past No. 4 Southern California 47-24 on Friday night to win the Pac-12 Championship and put USC’s College Football Playoff hopes in doubt.

The loss by the Trojans (11-2) could open the way for Ohio State (11-1) to take their spot in the playoffs. USC is fourth in the CFP rankings, the Buckeyes are one step behind.

Ohio State had to be Utah’s biggest fan. The Buckeyes move up in playoff consideration, with 12-0 Michigan at No. 2 with the Big Ten championship game on Saturday, that would give the Big Ten conference two playoff teams for the first time. It also would extend the Pac-12′s playoff drought — Washington in 2017 is the last team from that conference to make the playoffs.

Utah (10-3) is heading to the Rose Bowl, but the Utes already were going there regardless of the outcome of the title game. They are responsible for USC’s only losses, having edged the Trojans 43-42 on Oct. 15 in Salt Lake City.

The Utes rolled up 533 yards of offense in the rematch, and Cam Rising passed for 310 yards and three touchdowns.

Williams threw for 363 yards and three TDs. He entered the game as the leading Heisman Trophy candidate, but wasn’t the same after getting injured in the first quarter.

The Trojans looked as if they were going to run away with the game, taking a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter behind some stellar play by Williams.

He appeared to hurt his left knee or leg in the first quarter on a 59-yard run in which he took a big hit at the end, and he suffered a bad cut on the pinky finger of his throwing hand. He spent most of the game limping, and wasn’t the same after a sterling first quarter in which the Trojans outgained Utah in total yards 194-70, and Williams had both touchdown passes.

After USC failed to pick up a fourth-and-8 from Utah’s 37-yard line, the Utes scored two touchdowns in the final 3:55 of the first half, and suddenly the game was tied at 17. Instead of a rout, the game was beginning to look like the shootout the Utes won in October.

The game took on that tone at times in the second half, but USC had no answer for how to slow down Utah, which outscored the Trojans 44-7 in overcoming that two-touchdown deficit.

ATTENDANCE RECORD

A announced sellout crowd of 61,195 made this the largest for a neutral-site Pac-12 Championship. It beat the previous record of 58,476 fans. who watched Southern California-Stanford in Santa Clara, California, in 2015.