Home Sports Bulldog bludgeoning: UGA football first CFP back-to-back national champions with rout of TCU

Bulldog bludgeoning: UGA football first CFP back-to-back national champions with rout of TCU

Bulldog bludgeoning: UGA football first CFP back-to-back national champions with rout of TCU

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Georgispan footbspanll fans waited through thick and thin and plenty of heartache spanning 41 years until their team delivered them a national title in the 2021 season.

This time it took the Bulldogs only 364 days to get another and they did it with eye-popping authority.

The Bulldogs completed a back-to-back double dip Monday night at SoFi Stadium, becoming the first program in the College Football Playoff era to accomplish that with a 65-7 bludgeoning of TCU.

“It’s a wild feeling knowing this team wasn’t satisfied with last year’s success,” said running back Kendall Milton, who had one of Georgia’s five rushing touchdowns. “This was a different team and we had different expectations and knew we had to make our own mark in the book. .”

Fletcher Page column:Prspanise Kirby. Love Stetson. Thspannk Dooley &spanmp; Trippi. Credit spanll legends for UGA’s historic run

Ryne Dennis:Stetson spannd Kirby deserve span stspantue, spannd here’s the perfect legendspanry tribute

More:Commemorspante UGA’s second consecutive chspanmpionship with this hspanrdcover collector’s book

Georgia is the first repeat champion since Alabama in 2011 and 2012 and talk of this being a “Dawg Dynasty” will only grow after this showing.

The crowd of 72,628 n SoFi Stadium saw Georgia administer the biggest beatdown in the CFP or BCS era going back to 1998. The margin of victory surpassed Southern Cal’s 55-19 blowout of Oklahoma in the 2004 season

“It’s like an out of body experience,” freshman defensive lineman Mykel Williams said. “Seeing the confetti fall, getting the hats and cigars in the air, it’s a great experience.”

Here are five takeaways as the Bulldogs completed their first 15-0 season in program history:

Bennett ends career with blockbuster showing

A lot of labels have followed Stetson Bennett through his six-year college career.

Walk-on. Junior college transfer. Backup.

Now, he’s a two-time national championship quarterback and he may have saved his best performance as a Bulldog for last.

“I mean if you can’t pull out your best in a game like this or at least your best effort and best preparation, then maybe this isn’t for you,” Bennett said.

Bennett got a curtain call of sorts with 13:25 go as coach Kirby Smart called timeout and Bennett came to the sideline with fans cheering and hugs for him from those on the sideline as Bennett took off his helmet.

“First time he’s ever walked off that I was hugging him,” Smart said. Bennett took off his helmet.

Bennett’s final line: 18 of 25 for 304 yards with 4 touchdowns and a 226.9 passer rating to go along with 2 rushing touchdowns and 39 rushing yards on 3 carries.

“It’s amazing to see all the doubters,” said running back Kenny McIntosh. “My brother’s a walk-on and got called back to be the starting QB. That’s big. For him to accept that role and come back and do what he did, he’s forever going to be legend here at Georgia because he never gave up. He always fought. I don’t think he had any stars coming out of high school, but Kirby don’t care about any of that. He wants guys that are going to work hard and fight until the end. That’s definitely Stetson.”

Bennett threw two first-half touchdown passes and ran for two more as Georgia rolled to a commanding 38-7 halftime lead. He has 20 TD passes in 7 games this season against ranked opponents with just 3 interceptions.

Bennett was 14 of 18 for 223 yards in the first half alone when he did all his damage as a runner.

He scored Georgia’s first touchdown when he faked a handoff to Daijun Edwards and went 21 yards for the touchdown.

Bennett had two big runs during a 92-yard, 11-play second quarter drive.

On a third-and-10, he shouted words to his offensive line and then backed up and ran to the left side and dove on a 13-yard pickup. He ended the drive with a 7-yard touchdown run to the left side for a 24-7 lead.

“What he did tonight was truly amazing,” Smart said. “Probably had his best game of his career, in my opinion, with some of the checks he made, some of the decisions he made, just really elite.”

Bennett threw touchdown passes of 37 to Ladd McConkey and 22 to AD Mitchell in the first half and McConkey added a sliding catch for a 14-yard touchdown to make it 52-7.

Mitchell hauled his in the left side of the end zone, giving him a touchdown catch in each of Georgia’s four playoff games the last two seasons.

Bennett finished his Georgia career 29-3 as a starter and set a single-season passing record, passing Aaron Murray. Bennett finished the season with 4,127 passing yards.

Many will view Bennett as the greatest quarterback in Georgia history now.

“I grew up watching Murray and (Matthew) Stafford and Shock (D.J. Shockley) and (David) Greene. And who’s to say?” Smart said. “Those dudes were all amazing.”

Second national title for Kirby Smart a championship beatdown

Smart posed for photos on the field with his wife, Mary Beth, and their three kids less than two hours before kickoff. When the game ended, Smart became the first Georgia football coach ever to win two national titles. He did it in seven seasons.

Georgia will open the 2023 season on a nation’s best 17-game winning streak

That’s already a school record now going all the way back to 1945-47 under Wally Butts.

Georgia became only the third team in the nine years of the CFP to go 15-0. The others were Clemson in 2018 and LSU in 2019.

“It’s special,” Bennett said. “It seems like for the past three or four months we’ve been looking to see if somebody could beat us, and we just ran out of games. Nobody could.”

This is the school’s fourth national championship. The previous two before last season came in 1980 and the school also claims the title 1942, a year in which Ohio State was the champion by the Associated Press.

Smart hit $1.35 million in performance bonuses this season including $250,000 for winning the national title.

Georgia has flipped the in a matter of 12 months.

From a team that couldn’t win the big game to one that can’t lose any game.

The Bulldogs on Monday night did what no other team in the College Football Playoff era has done: go back-to-back.

Alabama in 2021, 2018 and 2016 lost in the championship game as did Clemson in 2019.

Georgia is the fourth school since 1990 to repeat as national champions and first since Alabama in 2011 and 2012.

“There’s some parts of me that think, if the team last year played this year’s team, last year’s team probably had more talent on it,” Smart said. “But this year’s team was different. Like, they just had this eye of the tiger; they weren’t going to lose.”

The Bulldogs were the No. 3 seed the previous two times in the playoff, losing to Alabama in 2017 on a second-and-26 touchdown pass and beating the Crimson Tide last season in a game sealed by Kelee Ringo’s pick six.

TCU (13-2) was seeking its first national title since 1938, but was on the wrong side of a 38-7 halftime deficit, the most points given up in a half in a CFP national championship game and the largest halftime deficit.

Brock Bowers homecoming to remember

Georgia has plenty of reasons to be thankful that Brock Bowers won’t be able to play in SoFi Stadium for the Chargers or Rams or anyone else in the NFL just yet.

Bowers won’t be draft-eligible until 2024, but he showed he’s ready for the next level already.

The Napa native’s return to the Golden State was as sweet as any bottle of Moscato from the Wine Country.

Bowers had 7 catches for 152 yards including a 22-yard touchdown that gave the Bulldogs a 44-7 lead.

The 6-4 Bowers was a mismatch for 6-foot safety Abe Camara on the left side and Bowers went up and grabbed it for a 22-yard touchdown and a 44-7 lead.

Bowers caught 5 passes for 102 yards in the first half and he had completions on all 7 of his targets.

“I just played my game and ended up open a couple of times,” Bowers told reporters.

He backpedaled and made the catch on a 35-yard first-half reception.

Bennett threw a bullet over the middle on a third-and-15 for a 24-yard gain in the second quarter.

Javon Bullard leads defensive dominance

Javon Bullard gave up a big pass play in the first quarter, but that was about the only thing that went wrong for Georgia’s defense in the first half.

Bullard more than made up for it with a pair of interceptions and a fumble recovery.

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Milledgeville native followed up his defensive MVP showing in the Peach Bowl, but wasn’t around in the second half after leaving the game with a shoulder injury.

Georgia gave up its most points of the season its past two games against LSU (30) and Ohio State (41) with the Bulldogs pass defense allowing 502 yards in the SEC championship game against the Tigers and 348 against the Buckeyes.

This time, TCU had just one pass play of more than 10 yards until late in the third quarter.

“I was proud of the defense after two outings that we did not perform well,” Smart said. “They have a first-round receiver. They got a Heisman Trophy quarterback that was in the finalists. And I thought our defense really performed well tonight with their backs against the wall.”

Georgia had surrendered 7 pass plays of 30 or more yards the past two games and 16 of 20 or more yards.

More than midway through the first quarter, Max Duggan hit Derius Davis for a 60-yard gain. Bullard got turned around covering towards the middle and Davis was wide open on the left side. That led to a 2-yard touchdown run on a read option by Duggan.

Bullard made up for it in the second quarter when he went back and settled under a deep ball that was almost like a punt for his first career interception. He added another interception with 36 seconds to go in the first half to give Georgia the ball at the TCU 22.

“Young dude, man,” cornerback Kelee Ringo said. “He’s got a lot of confidence in himself.”

The defense got five sacks including one each from freshmen defensive linemen Mykel Williams and Bear Alexander and another from freshman linebacker Jalon Walker.

“They had some blitzes, some pressures they got through,” Duggan said. “I held onto the ball a little bit too long, wasn’t getting through reads, was kind of causing trouble for the O-line myself. It was kind of on me.”

“When the rush is getting there and we’re not in the best position, we help each other a lot,” said third-year cornerback Kelee Ringo who smiled when asked about the NFL and said he’s “most likely” declaring for the draft as expected.

Duggan, the Heisman Trophy runner-up, went 14 of 22 for 152 yards with 2 interceptions. TCU was held to a season-low 188 total yards.

“The last game we didn’t play our best and we didn’t live up to the standard,” defensive lineman Nazir Stackhouse said, “but as you can see today, we just had to show them.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here