Bryce Young torched Arkansas’ secondary and Alabama is now guaranteed to play Georgia for the SEC title.
Young threw for a school-record 561 yards as No. 2 Alabama withstood a late charge from the No. 21 Razorbacks in a 42-35 win to clinch the SEC West.
Arkansas got within six points on a beautiful fake field goal with 11:24 to go. Holder Reid Bauer threw a jump pass to tight end Blake Kern and Kern made a one-handed grab while reaching behind him.
The Razorbacks got the ball back with the chance to take the lead after Cameron Latu fumbled near the goal line with 8:52 to go. But Arkansas immediately went 3-and-out and Alabama scored four plays later as Young hit Jameson Williams streaking toward the back of the end zone.
A two-point conversion by Young pushed the margin to 14 and essentially put the game out of reach. Arkansas scored with 1:02 to go and failed to recover the subsequent onside kick.
Williams and John Metchie III were unstoppable. Williams had eight catches for 190 yards and three touchdowns and Metchie had 10 catches for 173 yards and a TD. No other Alabama player had more than three catches or 58 yards.
The win seals the SEC West for Alabama as Georgia had the SEC East locked up before November even began. Assuming an Alabama win over Auburn in the final week of the regular season, the SEC title game on Dec. 4 will be a battle for the top seed in the College Football Playoff. And if Alabama loses that game, the Tide could be the first team to make the playoff with two regular season losses.
Bryce Young makes his Heisman case
Young entered Saturday as the betting favorite for the Heisman Trophy at +175 and ahead of Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III and Ole Miss QB Matt Corral at BetMGM.
Stroud made a strong push for the Heisman earlier Saturday when he threw for nearly 400 yards in the first half of the Buckeyes’ rout of Michigan State. Stroud finished the game with 432 passing yards and six touchdown passes while throwing just three incompletions.
Young matched that performance hours later. While he threw three times as many incompletions as Stroud did — Young was 31-of-40 — he threw five touchdowns and also had a two-point conversion with his legs.
Stroud’s odds for the Heisman may improve after the weekend, but Young could still remain the favorite. And he’ll have every opportunity to keep that favorite status over the next two weeks. If Alabama enters the SEC title game at No. 2 and Young has a huge performance in a win over Georgia, it will be easy to see Young lifting the Heisman Trophy a week later in New York City.