Joe Burrow, LSU claim SEC crown in rout

Joe Burrow finished off what seems like his Heisman Trophy coronation with another dazzling performance and No. 1 LSU locked up a spot in the College Football Playoff for the first time, dominating No. 4 Georgia 37-10 in the SEC championship game Saturday in Atlanta.

The Tigers, going for their first national title since the 2007 season, will either return to Atlanta or head west to suburban Phoenix for a semifinal game Dec. 28. Their bowl site and opponent will be announced Sunday, but they surely made a persuasive case to be the top overall seed in the four-team field.

Burrow was all over the stat sheet for LSU (13-0, No. 2 CFP). He threw for 349 yards and four touchdowns. He was the Tigers’ second-leading rusher with 41 yards on 11 carries, often leaving the Bulldogs grasping at air as he twirled this way and that. He even caught a pass on a ball that was batted down at the line and wound up in his arms, taking off for a 16-yard gain.

The Tigers put up 481 yards of offense, but the most encouraging aspect of this game was another strong performance from LSU’s defense. It followed up a 50-7 rout of Texas A&M in the regular-season finale with another championship-worthy showing against the Bulldogs, who were held to 286 yards.

Georgia (11-2) appears likely to make its second straight appearance in the Sugar Bowl against Baylor, loser of the Big 12 championship game.

ACC Championship

#3 Clemson 62, #22 Virginia 17: In Charlotte, N.C., Trevor Lawrence threw four touchdown passes, three to Tee Higgins, and Clemson (13-0, No. 3 CFP) won its fifth consecutive conference title. The defending national champion Tigers have won 28 games in a row and head to the College Football Playoff with a chance for a third crown in four years. Virginia (9-4; No. 23 CFP) put forth a game plan that caused the Tigers to sweat early, but there was no stopping Clemson’s dazzling set of experienced playmakers led by Lawrence and Higgins on the way to ACC championship game records for points and yards (621),

American Athletic Championship

#16 Memphis 29, #21 Cincinnati 24: Antonio Gibson caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Brady White with 1:14 left to lift the Tigers at home. Memphis (12-1, No. 17 CFP) finally won the AAC title in its third straight conference championship game. The Tigers now wait for an invitation to the Cotton Bowl as the highest-ranked Group of Five team. Eight days after beating the Bearcats (10-3, No. 20 CFP) 34-24 at home in the regular-season finale, Memphis rallied for another win.

Mountain West Championship

#19 Boise State 31, Hawaii 10: Jaylon Henderson threw for 212 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score to lead the host Broncos. Boise State (12-1, No. 19 CFP) won its second conference title in three years, beating Hawaii (9-5) again this season after winning the Oct. 12 meeting 59-37. After rolling up 518 yards of offense in the first game, the Broncos leaned on their defense in the rematch.

Sun Belt Championship

#20 Appalachian State 45, Louisiana-Lafayette 38: Darrynton Evans scored three touchdowns and host Appalachian State repeated as the conference champion. The Mountaineers (12-1) racked up 416 yards on offense, including 267 on the ground in a dominating first half. Levi Lewis threw for a Sun Belt championship game-record 354 yards and four touchdowns for Lafayette (10-3, 8-2).

Coaches hired

• Lane Kiffin is back in the SEC, taking over as the head coach at Ole Miss. The Rebels made the announcement after Kiffin’s Florida Atlantic team defeated UAB in the Conference USA championship game, the Owls’ second league title in his three seasons.

• Florida State will introduce Memphis football coach Mike Norvell as its new coach Sunday, two sources told the Associated Press.

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