College Football
College football championship weekend top plays: Michigan, Baylor, Alabama, Cincy come out victorious
College Football

College football championship weekend top plays: Michigan, Baylor, Alabama, Cincy come out victorious

Updated Dec. 5, 2021 12:06 a.m. ET

College football's Week 14 schedule was small but mighty. It's championship weekend, after all.

Kicking things off Friday in Las Vegas, No. 17 Utah trounced No. 10 Oregon 38-10 in the Pac-12 Championship Game, punching its ticket to the Rose Bowl in the process. The win came less than two weeks after the Utes knocked the then-No. 3 Ducks out of contention for a College Football Playoff berth.

Saturday began with a bang as No. 9 Baylor came up with a riveting goal-line stand to secure a 21-16 win over No. 5 Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Championship Game, while Utah State upset No. 19 San Diego State 46-13 in the Mountain West title game.


Meanwhile, it was an SEC showdown in Atlanta as No. 1 Georgia fell to No. 3 Alabama, 41-24, No. 4 Cincinnati kept its perfect record alive after besting No. 21 Houston 35-20 for the AAC title, and No. 2 Michigan dominated No. 13 Iowa, 42-3, in the Big Ten Championship Game. 

In Saturday's finale, No. 15 Pittsburgh defeated ACC foe No. 16 Wake Forest, 45-21.

Here are the top moments from championship weekend.

No. 2 Michigan 42, No. 13 Iowa 3

Michigan strikes

The Hawkeyes came up empty on their first possession in the red zone, missing a field goal early in the first after barely missing the end zone on their opening drive. Then, Blake Corum broke out on this 67-yard TD with lots of help from Wolverines QB J.J. McCarthy.

Another one 

Michigan added a second first-quarter score on this trick play when running back Donovan Edwards launched this 75-yard TD pass to wideout Roman Wilson to put the Wolverines up 14-3 headed into the break.

Wolverines roll

It was more of the same for Michigan in the second half, as Hassan Haskins punched in back-to-back TDs.

Total domination

In the fourth, tight end Erick All reeled in a short pass from Cade McNamara as the Wolverines took a commanding 35-3 lead. 

Michigan added one more fourth-quarter score for good measure, and things ended there, 42-3.

No. 15 Pittsburgh 45, No. 16 Wake Forest 21

Pitt strikes early

The Panthers were the first on the board after QB Kenny Pickett broke out for a 58-yard (!) TD run after faking a slide on Pitt's first drive of the night.

Scoring frenzy

Wake Forest's Sam Hartman found wideout A.T. Perry for a quick TD to knot things up early in the first, but Pitt had other ideas. Midway through the frame, Pickett tossed his second TD of the night, good for his 80th career touchdown pass — surpassing Dan Marino for the most in school history.

All gas, no brakes

Wake Forest took the lead, 21-14, after back-to-back Hartman TDs and a missed Pitt field goal. 


Ahead of the break, Pitt tied things up once again, thanks to this acrobatic catch from Jared Wayne, before adding a field goal to take a three-point lead, 24-21, to close out the first half.

Panthers pounce

Pitt got the scoring going in the second half, thanks to back-to-back TDs courtesy of Israel Abanikanda. Then, the Panthers' defense picked off Hartman and returned it 19 yards for another score to seal the deal.

No. 3 Alabama 41, No. 1 Georgia 24

Dawg pound

Georgia was the first to strike, going up 3-0 in the first. The Bulldogs picked up right where they left off in the second, as Stetson Bennett connected with Darnell Washington for Georgia's first TD of the day. 

Alabama answers

The Crimson Tide bounced back in a big way in the second frame. First, Bryce Young found one of his favorite targets, Jameson Williams, for a monster 67-yard TD to make it a three-point game.

On Alabama's ensuing drive, John Metchie III reeled in this pass to give the Tide a 14-10 lead.

Knotted up

Georgia tied things up ahead of the break, thanks to this snag from Ladd McConkey, good for a Bulldogs TD.

Not so fast

But with 26 seconds to spare, Alabama regained the lead after Young took it in himself on this 11-yard run.


Young found Williams once again, this time for a monster 55-yard TD to put the Tide up 31-17 in the third.

Misfortune strikes

Then, the Alabama defense came up with a huge interception, picking off Bennett in the red zone.

In the final frame, Stetson was picked off once again. This time is was returned 42 yards for a Crimson Tide TD.

Sticking with it

Georgia made it a two-score game early in the fourth, but it wasn't enough to ignite a comeback. Alabama added a field goal late in the frame, and things ended there, 41-24.

No. 4 Cincinnati 35, No. 21 Houston 20

Back and forth

Houston marched into Cincinnati territory but stalled in the red zone to open the scoring. The Cougars took an early 3-0 lead, but Desmond Ridder found Tyler Scott for a 25-yard Bearcats TD to take over in the first.

Changing their tune

The Cougars regained their lead on this dazzling 16-yard TD pass from Clayton Tune.

House call

Jerome Ford found an opening and went the distance — 79 yards for a Bearcats score.

Headed into the break, it was a one-point, 14-13, game after Houston nailed a 46-yard field goal.

Pulling away

It was all Cincy in the second half, as Ridder tossed three touchdowns in seven minutes to give the Bearcats a 35-13 lead midway through the third.

For good measure

Tune connected with Jake Herslow for a Cougars TD to cut Houston's lead to 35-20, and things ended there.

Utah State 46, No. 19 SDSU 13

USU strikes first

Aggies QB Logan Bonner found Derek Wright on this short pass to give Utah State an early 7-0 lead. 


USU made it a two-score game after this short scamper from Calvin Tyler Jr.

Headed into the break, Utah State led 14-3 after the Aztecs added a field goal in the final minute of the half.

Going Bowling

Brandon Bowling reeled in this 58-yard pass from Bonner to open the second half, capping off a 5-play, 75-yard drive with an Aggies TD.

Double trouble

Then, USU went up 23-3 after blocking its second punt of the day:

Aggie action

It was more of the same for Utah as the second half unfolded, coming up with one big play after the next … 

… Including this big-time TD catch from Bowling — his second of the day. 

Sealing the deal

In the final frame, Utah State took a whopping 33-point lead after Bonner tossed his fourth TD pass of the day.

The Aztecs finally got their first TD in the fourth, but it was too little too late, and things ended 46-13.

No. 9 Baylor 21, No. 5 Oklahoma State 16

Baylor strikes first

JT Woods picked off Spencer Sanders, which set up the first score of the game — a short TD pass from Blake Shapen to Ben Sims.

Make it two

Midway through the first, the Bears came away with another pivotal takeaway:

Extending the lead

Baylor extended its lead to 14-3 on this doozy of a throw to Drew Estrada.

Into the breadbasket!

Shapen made a heck of an MVP case in the second frame.

The charm

Baylor's defense has a message: Don't throw on us!

Pay dirt!

It certainly took a while, but Oklahoma State finally found a way into the end zone in the third quarter.

Not in our house

Boy, did this game have its fireworks. It came down to a final fourth-and-goal play as sixth-year senior Jairon McVea kicked his speed into overdrive to stop Dezmon Jackson, who was streaking toward the pylon in an effort to score the game-winning TD.

No. 17 Utah 38, No. 10 Oregon 10

The Utes dominated the Ducks in their regular-season meeting, and they started off Friday night's game in a similar fashion, taking a 7-0 lead on a short run by Tavion Thomas.

It was only about six minutes later that Utah struck again, this time when Devin Lloyd picked off an Anthony Brown pass and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown.

The Ducks caught a break when linebacker Noah Sewell — whose older brother Nephi Sewell plays the same position for Utah, and whose eldest brother Penei Sewell was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft — snagged an interception early in the second quarter. But the Ducks came away with nothing after the ensuing drive ended with a missed field goal.

On Utah's following drive, the Ducks' defense picked off Cameron Rising again. This time, it was all thanks to the acrobatics from safety Verone McKinley III. But once again, Oregon wasn't able to capitalize on the takeaway, and the Ducks punted it away after going three-and-out.

After back-to-back interceptions, the Utes were able to get back on track as the first half wound down, capping off a 12-play, 74-yard drive with a Utah TD courtesy of tight end Dalton Kincaid.

Utah extended its lead to 23-0 at the break — tied for the largest halftime lead in Pac-12 Championship Game history — as the Utes got a last-second field goal after Brown’s second INT.

Oregon avoided the shutout with a field goal early in the third to make it a 20-point game. But midway through the frame, the Utes struck once again. 

Rising broke out for a 41-yard gain, and TJ Pledger punched it in on the next play for a TD. The Utes QB added a two-point conversion for good measure as Utah took a commanding 31-3 lead headed into the final frame.

Utah kept its scoring going in the fourth, as Thomas found the end zone on a short scamper to put Utah up 38-3. Oregon finally answered with its first TD of the night thanks to a quick 2-yard run from Travis Dye, but it was too little too late, and things ended there.


Levi Lewis proved the Ragin' Cajuns were a force to be reckoned with when be broke off on this 56-yard TD run, as Louisiana took a 14-0 lead. 

How about this wild kickoff return from Jackson State's Isaiah Boldon?


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