By STEVE MEGARGEE
Alabama and Ohio State advanced to the championship game in part because their best players delivered huge performances in their respective semifinals.
Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith caught three touchdown passes in No. 1 Alabama’s 31-14 Rose Bowl rout of No. 4 Notre Dame. Justin Fields shook off an injury and threw six touchdown passes as No. 3 Ohio State trounced No. 2 Clemson 49-28.
Alabama and Ohio State will face off Monday in suburban Miami in the College Football Playoff championship game, providing an opportune time to unveil The Associated Press all-bowl team. Since some teams go with 4-3 defenses and other prefer 3-4 schemes, the rundown includes four defensive linemen and four linebackers.
Justin Fields, Ohio State (Sugar): Fields threw a Sugar Bowl-record six touchdown passes and accumulated 385 yards passing. He did all that despite taking a big hit to his side in the first half, causing him to spend time in the medical tent.
Camerun Peoples, Appalachian State (Myrtle Beach): Peoples had 22 carries for a school-record 317 yards – the most by any player in any bowl game in history – as Appalachian State defeated North Texas 56-28. Peoples also ran for five touchdowns to tie the all-time bowl record.
Trey Sermon, Ohio State (Sugar): Sermon rushed for 193 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries against Clemson. He also caught four passes for 61 more yards.
Bijan Robinson, Texas (Alamo): Robinson scored three touchdowns in No. 20 Texas’ 55-23 win over Colorado. He had 10 carries for 183 yards and a touchdown. He also had two TD catches.
Brennan Presley, Oklahoma State (Cheez-It): Presley had six catches for 118 yards and three touchdowns to help Oklahoma State edge No. 18 Miami 37-34.
DeVonta Smith, Alabama (Rose): The Heisman Trophy winner caught seven passes for 130 yards and scored three times as Alabama rolled past Notre Dame.
Isaac Rex, BYU (Boca Raton): Rex had five receptions for 96 yards and two touchdowns as No. 13 BYU defeated UCF 49-23.
Sam Gerak, Northwestern (Outback): Northwestern’s center helped the 15th-ranked Wildcats gain 457 yards in a 35-19 victory over Auburn. Pro Football Focus gave Gerak a grade of 85.1 for his bowl performance.
Royce Newman, Mississippi (Citrus): The Ole Miss right tackle helped the Rebels gain 493 yards against Indiana’s highly regarded defense in the Rebels’ 26-20 upset of the No. 7 Hoosiers.
Dylan Parham, Memphis (Montgomery): Pro Football Focus handed out game ratings for every individual offensive lineman who played in a bowl and gave Parham the second-highest grade (89.8) of all of them. Memphis didn’t allow any sacks in a 25-10 victory over Florida Atlantic.
Erik Swenson, Oklahoma (Cotton): Swenson got the highest Pro Football Focus grade (90.3) of any offensive lineman for his bowl performance. Swenson helped No. 8 Oklahoma gain 684 total yards in a 55-20 blowout of No. 10 Florida.
Landon Young, Kentucky (Gator): Young delivered six knockdown blocks and didn’t allow any pressures or sacks as Kentucky edged No. 24 North Carolina State 23-21. His block cleared the way for a game-clinching 26-yard touchdown run by Chris Rodriguez.
Christian Barmore, Alabama (Rose): Barmore recorded five tackles and a sack against Notre Dame.
Elijah James, Liberty (Cure): James started at defensive tackle, produced a couple of tackles and blocked a 42-yard field-goal attempt in overtime to clinch No. 23 Liberty’s 37-34 triumph over No. 9 Coastal Carolina.
DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M (Orange): Leal had seven tackles and made one of those stops behind the line of scrimmage as No. 5 Texas A&M defeated No. 14 North Carolina 41-27.
Tristan Nichols, Nevada (Famous Idaho Potato): Nichols recorded two of Nevada’s eight sacks as the Wolf Pack beat Tulane 38-27.
Josh Chandler-Semedo, West Virginia (Liberty): Chandler-Semedo picked off a pass, forced a fumble and delivered 13 tackles in West Virginia’s 24-21 victory over Army.
Azeez Ojulari, Georgia (Peach): Ojulari forced two fumbles and collected three sacks as No. 11 Georgia rallied to beat No. 6 Cincinnati 24-21. Ojulari’s third sack produced a safety on the final play of the game.
Jack Sanborn, Wisconsin (Duke’s Mayo): Sanborn recorded 11 tackles – two for loss – and also had one of Wisconsin’s four interceptions in the Badgers’ 42-28 victory over Wake Forest.
O’Rien Vance, Iowa State (Fiesta): Vance recovered two fumbles and made four tackles – one for loss – to help No. 12 Iowa State beat No. 25 Oregon 34-17.
Justin Birdsong, Georgia Southern (New Orleans): Birdsong intercepted two passes as Georgia Southern trounced Louisiana Tech 38-3. Georgia Southern was the only team not to allow a touchdown in its bowl game.
Bryce Cosby, Ball State (Arizona): Cosby had nine tackles and an interception as Ball State beat No. 19 San Jose State 34-13.
Emmanuel Forbes, Mississippi State (Armed Forces): Forbes delivered his fifth interception of the season and returned it 90-yards for a touchdown to help the Bulldogs beat Tulsa 28-26.
Antavious Lane, Georgia State (Lending Tree): Lane had five tackles and also picked off a pass that led to a touchdown drive for Georgia State in its 39-21 victory over Western Kentucky. It was the first interception Tyrrell Pigrome had thrown all season.
Jack Podlesny, Georgia (Peach): Podlesny’s 53-yard field goal with three seconds left gave Georgia a 22-21 lead in a game the Bulldogs won 24-21 over Cincinnati. Podlesny also made field goals of 37 and 32 yards.
Max Duffy, Kentucky (Gator): Duffy landed three of his five punts inside No. 24 North Carolina State’s 20-yard line. On one of them, Duffy briefly held the ball and made a move around a North Carolina State player to prevent a probable blocked punt.
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