Young’s five-TD performance paces Alabama in Sugar Bowl win

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NEW ORLEANS — Bryce Young threw for 321 passing yards and five touchdowns in a game that other NFL prospects might have skipped, as No. 5 Alabama trailed two points earlier in the game with 35 straight points. They responded, defeating the 11th-ranked Kansas State 45. -20 at Sugar Bowl on Saturday.

Although many college stars turned professional in bowl games that didn’t qualify for the college football playoffs, the Crimson Tide and Wildcats had the best prospects on the field and made many memorable plays. From Young’s pivotal pass, Kansas State ran Deuce Vaughan’s 88-yard touchdown run to his back and was intercepted by Alabama’s Jordan Battle and Brian Branch.

Young was replaced during the series in the fourth quarter, raising his right hand to the Alabama fans as the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner ran to the sidelines.

“It started when we started practicing. There are a lot of people on this team who have given so much to this program. I think it was proof,” said Alabama coach Nick Saban. “We had a bit of a taste in our mouths that if we put in a performance that deserved to do a little bit better than the playoff result, we could do a little bit better than the playoff result.”

Jermaine Burton caught three passes for 87 yards and Alabama scored one touchdown (11-2). Tide running back Jarmer Gibbs gained 142 yards from scrimmage (76 rushing, 66 receiving). Young’s other touchdowns went to Isiah Bonds (6 yards), Cameron Ratu (1 yard), Jacory Brooks (32 yards) and Kobe Prentiss (47 yards). Jace McClelland added a 17-yard scoring run.

Kansas State (10-4) entered its first Sugar Bowl with four straight wins, and was on the mend after beating No. 3 TCU (a CFP team) in the Big 12 title game.

Battle intercepted Will Howard to end K State’s opening drive at the Alabama 21, while the Wildcats scored the first 10 points of the Sugar Bowl with Ty Zentner’s 41-yard field goal and Vaughn’s long run. I went to the front.

When Alabama was on the brink of a third punt, Young stepped into a collapsing pocket on third and 10th and flicked a short pass to Gibbs. Young similarly stepped up to avoid pressure for a touchdown pass to Bonds shortly after.

“For us, standards are what we live by,” said Young. “It’s not a one-time thing. We will continue for the future of the program.”

Young threw a 47-yard top to Burton and set up a 1-yard scoring pass Ratu, putting Alabama all the way forward.

“There’s a reason he won the Heisman Trophy in the first place,” said Chris Kleeman, a coach at Kansas State University.

Late in the first half, Kansas State drove to the Alabama 2 and scored two 4th downs en route, but fumbled by four goals when Howard threw out of reach of tight end Ben Sinnott. After Will Anderson collapsed trying to cover for him.

Missing that opportunity proved to be costly.

Young needed just 51 seconds for his next touchdown.

“I’m proud to be in the Sugar Bowl, to have won the Sugar Bowl, but I’m most proud to have had a team there that cared,” Saban said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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