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College roundup: Alabama defense snuffs Florida offense for SEC title

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The Florida Gators had their moments Saturday, but not enough of them were on offense for the team to win against the University of Alabama.

The offensively-impaired Gators lost a 29-15 game to Alabama in the SEC Championship game.

Florida managed only 15 yards rushing on 26 attempts, and quarterback Treon Harris threw for only 165 on nine of 24 passing. Alabama, on the other hand, had 233 yards rushing. Derrick Henry carried 44 times (one less than the Gators had offensive plays) for 189 yards. Jacob Coker threw for 204 yards and three scores. Calvin Ridley caught eight passes for 102 yards.

While the second straight defeat will sting Jim McElwain, it seems like a good time to remember that meager expectations were placed on the Gators.

Florida scored on an 85-yard punt return by Antonio Callaway and, with 5:02 left, a 46-yard touchdown pass from Harris to C.J. Worton.

It was Alabama’s 25th SEC title and puts the Tide in position to be selected for the College Football Playoffs. Alabama has won three of the last four SEC titles.

Clemson 45, North Carolina 37: Clemson iced a shot at the national championship. At the same time, quarterback DeShaun Watson may have iced the Heisman Trophy.

Clemson held off a pesky North Carolina team, in part because a recovered onside kick was negated by a controversial offsides call.

But don’t make light of all that Clemson did. Watson threw for 289 yards and ran for 131. In all, he accounted for five touchdowns in the victory. Wayne Gallman had 187 yards rushing as Clemson had a total of 608 yards in the game.

The Tigers finished the season 13-0.

Michigan State 16, Iowa 13: LJ Scott stretched the ball over the goal with 27 seconds to play, giving Michigan State the Big 10 Championship and possibly a shot at the national title.

The Spartans beat a previously unbeaten Iowa team by holding it to 52 yards rushing.

Through three quarters, only field goals had been scored, and Michigan State led 9-6. But early in the fourth quarter, Iowa scored when C.J. Beathard hit Tevaun Smith with an 85 yard score. However, the Spartans pulled out the win on an 82-yard, 22-play drive that ate up 9:04 of the clock.

Houston 24, Temple 13: The Houston Cougars ran their record to 12-1 and captured the American Athletic Conference championship with an easy victory over the Temple Owls.

Quarterback Greg Ward II could not be corralled by the Owls. He threw for only 88 yards, but he ran for 148 yards and two touchdowns. The Cougars will represent the Group of Five in a bowl game and play in either the Peach or the Fiesta.

Houston led 17-0 and 24-3, Quarterback P.J. Walker threw for 287 yards to lead Temple. Robbie Anderson caught 12 passes for 150 yards.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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