ATLANTA — When it came time to perform in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game, Alabama quarterback Blake Sims was nearly pitch perfect.
The senior and first-year starter was rarely asked to throw any dangerous passes Saturday against Missouri, but the ones he did throw were invariably on the mark.
Sims was 23-of-27 passing for 262 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Crimson Tide to a 42-13 victory at the Georgia Dome. His 85.2 percent completion percentage is a championship game record.
Though Amari Cooper was his top target overall (12 catches for 83 yards), Sims’ two biggest passes went to wide receiver DeAndrew White.
Sims went 58 yards to White for a touchdown in the second quarter, and later found White over the middle for 32 yards to the Mizzou 48 on a third-and-10 play to keep the drive alive.
Sims is the first quarterback since Auburn’s Cam Newton in 2010 to be named the MVP.
His 262 yards passing gives Sims 3,250 for the year, a single-season school record.
Cooper breaks marks
Cooper’s 12 catches were also an SEC Championship Game record. He now has 115 catches this year, eclipsing the SEC single-season mark of 112 set by Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews in 2013.
LSU defense still tops
LSU’s ranking as the SEC leader in total defense is safe — at least until bowl season.
The Tigers are No. 1 in the conference in total defense allowing 305.8 yards per game.Alabama, ranked third behind LSU and Florida, came into the SEC Championship Game needing to allow Missouri 227 yards or less to take over first place.
At halftime, Missouri had only 87 total yards but ended up gaining 313 yards, right at the Crimson Tide’s season average.
Alabama is now allowing 312.4 yards per game. Florida is second allowing 311.0 yards.
Bowl yardage counts in season totals and averages.
Moreau honored, Smoot not
Former LSU All-American and long-time football radio broadcaster Doug Moreau was recognized on the field before Saturday’s game as part of the SEC Legends Class of 2014.
Moreau, who played at LSU from 1963-65, was also honored with football legends from the other 13 SEC schools at a banquet here Friday night.
Mississippi State’s honoree was late broadcaster Jack Cristil, who died in September. The school’s original legend was to be defensive back Fred Smoot, but he was replaced by Cristil after Smoot was arrested in November on a misdemeanor domestic assault charge in Virginia.
The drive that may have saved Alabama’s national championship hopes was the one that former Florida quarterback and “SEC Nation” star Tim Tebow thought was the offensive moment of the year in the Southeastern Conference.
During a Friday news conference, Tebow ranked Bama’s last-minute, nine-play, 55-yard drive for a field goal to force overtime at LSU was the offensive topper in the SEC.
The Crimson Tide went on to beat the Tigers 20-13 in overtime.
Alabama’s win gave the West Division a 12-11 lead in the championship game.
The SEC West has now won six straight games, including LSU’s 42-10 win over Georgia in 2011.
Alabama’s team captains included strong safety Landon Collins from Dutchtown. … SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, who announced in October he is being treated for a recurrence of cancer and will retire July 31, conducted the pregame coin toss but did not present the championship trophy. Executive Associate Commissioner Mark Womack handled those honors. … Next year’s SEC Championship Game will be played here on Dec. 5, 2015. ... In 2017, the championship game will move next door to Atlanta’s new retractable roof stadium (currently under construction) and the Georgia Dome will be demolished.
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter: @RabalaisAdv.