ATLANTA (AP) — Alabama showed off all its weapons in the Southeastern Conference championship game.
Now, the Crimson Tide can expect a return trip to Atlanta for the College Football Playoff.
The nation's No. 1 team scored off a blocked punt and an interception return Saturday before wearing down No. 15 Florida in the second half with a dominant running game. The result was a 54-16 rout that positioned Alabama to go for its second straight national title and its fifth crown in the last nine years under coach Nick Saban.
Next up: a likely semifinal game at the Georgia Dome on Dec. 31.
The Crimson Tide (13-0, No. 1 CFP) bolted to a 16-9 lead in the first quarter, despite being held to minus-7 yards and no first downs. They scored one touchdown off a blocked punt, another off an interception return. A field goal was set up by another pick — one of three thrown by Florida quarterback Austin Appleby in the first half.
The Tide led 33-16 at halftime — the most points ever scored in the first two quarters of an SEC title game — and iced the victory with scoring drives of 98 and 91 yards, sparked by a goal-line stand that finished off the last gasp by the Gators (8-4, No. 15 CFP).