NEW ORLEANS — Bryce Young threw five touchdown passes as the Alabama Crimson Tide overcame an early 10-0 deficit to defeat Kansas State 45-20 in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Saturday.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Kansas State took the opening possession inside the Caesars Superdome and quickly went 44 yards on seven plays but the drive ended with Alabama’s Jordan Battle picking off a Will Howard pass intended for Deuce Vaughn.
Alabama was unable to take advantage of the turnover as the offense went three-and-out and forced to punt.
Kansas State took its second possession and went 38 yards on 11 plays and got on the scoreboard with a 41-yard field goal by Ty Zentner.
After a promising drive for Alabama ended with a punt, Kansas State needed a mere only play to add to its lead. Vaughn took the handoff and raced down the right sideline for a 88-yard touchdown. That was the second longest touchdown run in Sugar Bowl history.
With 3:18 left in the first quarter, the Wildcats led 10-0.
Alabama responded with a six-play, 69-yard drive highlighted by a screen pass to Jahmyr Gibbs who went down the sideline for 63 yards. The Crimson Tide capped the drive with a six-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Bond in the back of the end zone.
After forcing a three-and-out, Alabama’s offense took the field again and quickly produced another six-play touchdown drive. Young found Jermaine Burton for a 47-yard completion down to the two-yard line. Two plays later, Young threw a one-yard touchdown pass to tight end Cameron Latu.
Kansas State’s offense came out and produced an 18-play, 73-yard drive that ate up 10:32 off the clock, as the Wildcats picked up two fourth-down conversions. Kansas State tried to convert a third fourth-down but the Wildcats’ fourth-and-goal pass from the two-yard line was incomplete.
Alabama then proceeded to march 98 yards on seven plays as Young made a 28-yard pass to Burton, a 22-yard pass to Latu and then a 12-yard touchdown pass to Burton.
At the break, Alabama led 21-10.
Kansas State opened up the second half attempting an onside kick which Alabama recovered. A mere three plays later, Young threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game as he found Ja’Corey Brooks open for a 32-yard touchdown.
Alabama’s defense then got its second turnover of the game as Brian Branch intercepted Howard, which gave the Crimson Tide the ball at the Wildcats’ 17-yard line. Jase McClellan took the ensuing handoff and scored a rushing touchdown.
Kansas State managed to add a 28-yard field goal by Zentner midway through the third quarter.
Alabama closed out the third quarter with Young throwing his fifth touchdown pass of the game, a 47-yard pass to Kobe Prentice. The Crimson Tide would add a 49-yard field goal by Will Reichard.
Kansas State did manage to add another score with a one-yard touchdown run by Jordan Schippers late in the fourth quarter.
BIG NUMBER I: 35
After Kansas State took an early 10-0 lead, Alabama would score 35 unanswered points to seize control of the contest.
BIG NUMBER II: 100
With Saturday’s win, Alabama coach Nick Saban won his 100th game against an AP Top 25 ranked foe which is the most in FBS history.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: BRYCE YOUNG & BRIAN BRANCH
Alabama’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback overcame a sluggish start to complete 15-of-21 passes for 321 yards and threw five touchdowns to five different receivers in his final collegiate game. Branch meanwhile led the Crimson Tide with 12 tackles (11 solo), four tackles for a loss, one sack and an interception.