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INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – Head coach Kirby Smart of the Georgia Bulldogs holds up the National Championship trophy after the Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide, 33-18, in the 2022 CFP National Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo : Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The long wait is finally over for Georgia. The Bulldogs won their first national title in 41 years after they defeated the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide, 33-18, in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Stetson Bennett starred for the Bulldogs, who had not won a national college football title since freshman Herschel Walker led Georgia to the promised land in 1980.
Bennett leads Georgia to a fourth-quarter rally
The Tide looked like they were on their way to winning another championship after grabbing an 18-13 lead in the fourth quarter following a costly mistake by Bennett. He was sacked by Alabama’s Christian Harris and fumbled the football forward. It was recovered by defensive back Brian Branch on Georgia’s 16-yard line. Bryce Young took advantage of the short field position to record the game’s first touchdown.
Some quarterbacks might have folded right there and then but not Bennett, who played some of the best football of his life in the following possession. He completed all three of his passes on the ensuing drive, including a majestic 40-yard throw to Adonai Mitchell for the go-ahead touchdown.
Bennett failed on the ensuing two-point conversion, but he did get the ball back again after Alabama was unable to march down the field with the score at 19-18. Bennett led the Bulldogs to another touchdown drive, throwing a 15-yarder to Brock Bowers to extend Georgia’s lead to eight points with just over three and a half minutes remaining.
Georgia’s success this season was built on its defense, and it was only fitting that the Bulldogs sealed one of their biggest victories with a fantastic play on the defensive side of the ball. Bryce Young, who torched the Bulldogs for 461 total yards in the SEC Championship Game, was slowly moving the chains in his pursuit of a late equalizer.
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Georgia’s defense stands tall in the end
The Bulldogs ensured there would be no late-game collapse for them, with cornerback Kelee Ringo intercepting Young’s pass and returning it 79 yards for a touchdown. It was the longest pick-six in the history of the championship game, a play that effectively ended Alabama’s reign at the top of the college football pyramid.
Kirby Smart’s defense was spectacular in the title game, holding Alabama to just 30 yards rushing on 28 carries. Brian Robinson Jr., who had a career game against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the semis, was repeatedly thwarted by Georgia’s defensive line, averaging just 3.1 yards per carry against the Bulldogs.
It was sweet revenge for the Bulldogs, who suffered two painful losses to Alabama in the last four years. The first one came in the 2018 National Championship Game when Alabama stunned Georgia, 26-23, in overtime via a Tua Tagovailoa touchdown strike. The second one occurred just last month when undefeated Georgia lost 41-24 to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.
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