They took a worthy group of Horned Frogs from Georgia, the American dynasty at the time, TCU, walloped them, 65-7, and watched them turn into something resembling prey. They saw Georgia reclaim its first national championship of the College Football Playoff era (and first overall in 10 years), becoming the fourth team to go 15-0, and go 29-1 over two seasons. April checks off their list. They saw the collective generosity, even if they didn’t see the competitive drama.
As they may or may not have seen in the end, the Bulldogs’ gritty crowd sprinkled the field with both the elegant plays and the inelegant stops necessary to elevate their team to the best shape college football has ever seen. Nine days later with their beautiful urgency They escaped 42-41 They recall others who cemented their budding dynasties with romps like Ohio State in the Beach Bowl national semifinals, Nebraska in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl (62-24) or Alabama (42-14) in the 2013 Bowl Championship Series title game. ) they reinforced the lofty notion that the best American football comes from the Southeast, home to eight straight national championships from four different universities.
From the start, Georgia players ran into open fields of their own creation and their own threats, with 25-year-old quarterback Stetson Bennett IV streaming through the gap for a 21-yard touchdown run to open the scoring. , Ladd McConkey caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from Bennett, on which McConkey ran so unconcerned that he looked kind of lonely, tight end Brock Bowers made accurate catches to pile up seven catches for 152 yards and a third-quarter touchdown. .
Bennett completed 18 of 25 for 304 yards and four touchdowns. He rushed three times for 39 yards and two scores, earning his second consecutive Offensive MVP honor in the national title game.
“What he did tonight was really amazing,” Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said. “Probably his best game of his career.”
Bennett said: “For the last three or four months, we’ve been looking to see if anyone can beat us and we’ve been out of games.”
Then he concluded: “No one can.”
TCU coach Sonny Dykes admitted what he was up against after the fact.
“We ran into a good team,” Dykes said. “We did some uncharacteristic things and it snowballed on us.”
If you need Georgia to show it can get down the field in a hurry, it can do it with drives like four plays for 70 yards, five for 57 or four for 55. You can play it effectively if you need to. It can be done with 11 plays for 92 yards or 11 plays for 66 yards.
Do you need it to show that it makes clamps a big crime? Yes, it can, bother TCU’s gritty quarterback, Max DugganOr limiting its best player, wide receiver Quentin Johnston, to one catch for three yards.
Georgia hoarded 9.3 yards per play, building Bennett’s lead to a 38-7 halftime passer rating, the latest evidence of which has soared above the 200 level. Once transferred from Georgia to a junior college in Mississippi, then returned, Georgia coaches never doubted he would rise to such parts.
TCU (13-2), by far the most unexpected finalist in the nine-year College Football Playoff era, had only a moment of hope that kept it going through a season of hair-raising battles. Trailing 10-0, it ran a pass play that sent Johnston spinning out of the middle and fellow wide receiver Darius Davis. Georgia looked at Johnston but lost Davis, who caught Duggan’s pass for a 60-yard gain, setting up Duggan’s two-yard keeper.
Georgia then went 11, 11, 11 and 37 on a 70-yard drive for McConkey’s open touchdown. Georgia then went 92 yards on 11 plays leading to Bennett’s six-yard touchdown. Georgia drove 66 yards in 11 plays for Kendall Milton’s one-yard touchdown. Georgia got an interception it didn’t need, and Adonai went 22 yards in two plays for a 22-yard catch from Mitchell Bennett, proving that Georgia can easily do the same in a very well-protected affair.
Eventually, things moved into a fourth quarter in which Bennett was able to stand on the sidelines and quietly welcome a second straight title, a far less nervy than last year’s 33-18 drubbing of Alabama that helped Georgia clear its long streak. Branson Robinson, the reserve running back, had seven carries for 42 yards and scored a yard out on his sixth. That made it 59-7 and made it uncompetitive even by College Football Playoff standards, which knew its folly.
By then, Georgia would move to a clear 81-15, Smart’s seven-season tenure as the former Georgia defensive back once coordinated the defense of another dynasty, Alabama. Georgia will make itself a dominant force in the game, even as it moves on to another quarterback once Bennett is done. Those who see Georgia, especially those in Georgia red and black, know that they have rarely seen a state in all the years of art.