The Georgia Bulldogs got back to the national championship game and made a statement against the Alabama Crimson Tide, winning 34-28 in dramatic fashion. With this win, they bested their SEC rival once again on another final play that couldn’t be stopped.
The “2018 national championship” is the first college football national championship since 1980. The Georgia Bulldogs took control in the 4th quarter and won their rematch vs. Alabama Crimson Tide for the title.
INDIANAPOLIS — Georgia’s 41-year wait has finally come to an end.
With 54 seconds left in Monday night’s College Football Playoff National Championship Game Presented by AT&T, Georgia cornerback Kelee Ringo intercepted Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young and returned it 79 yards for a touchdown — the longest pick-six in championship game history — cementing the Bulldogs’ 33-18 win and the program’s first national championship since 1980.
The Georgia assistant coaches raced to the elevators in the swaying press box at Lucas Oil Stadium as the time ran out, one exclaiming, “Hell yes!” as they thundered out celebrating together.
While it was a familiar battle between two teams who met in the 2018 national championship game and again in this year’s SEC Championship Game, with Alabama winning both times, the conclusion was dramatically different in front of an advertised crowd of 68,311. Alabama defeated Georgia 26-23 in overtime in the 2018 national championship game.
Some things do change over time.
Alabama’s streak of seven wins in the series — a streak that began in 2008 — was broken. Alabama coach Nick Saban is now 25-2 against his former assistants, with both losses coming this season — Monday night against Georgia coach Kirby Smart, and during the regular season against Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher.
Despite the naysayers, the rematch provided plenty of drama and entertaining between the two all-too-familiar opponents. What started out as a defensive slugfest with no touchdowns in the first half became a display of huge plays in the fourth quarter, with both teams swapping scores and missing two-point conversions. They put on a show that was a complete 180 from their game a month earlier in the SEC championship, when Alabama dominated Georgia up front for a 41-24 victory.
Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett – the offensive player of the game – threw a 15-yard touchdown throw to freshman superstar tight end Brock Bowers with 3:33 remaining in the game, ultimately giving Georgia a cushion in an otherwise close contest.
Bennett connected with Adoni Mitchell on a 40-yard touchdown throw with 8:09 left in the game, giving the Bulldogs a tenuous 19-18 lead. Georgia, which had struggled with its passing game for the most of the night, traveled 75 yards in four plays on that drive but failed to convert the two-point conversion. Smart improved to 1-4 as Georgia’s head coach versus Alabama, and although he has managed to take a lead in each of those games, this was the first time he was able to keep it.
The game was plagued with expensive penalties, as well as one odd field call that contributed to Alabama’s 18-13 victory. Bennett fumbled the ball after he was sacked by Christian Harris with 11:35 remaining in the game, and Alabama’s Brian Branch recovered it just before he went out of bounds, putting the Tide on Georgia’s 16-yard line.
It seemed to be an incomplete throw at first sight, but the ball bounced before going out of bounds, and Branch snatched it with his foot still inbounds, according to review footage.
Bennett had a tough night overall, being sacked four times, penalised twice for intentional grounding, and losing a fumble. In the end, the former walk-on did what he’d done his whole career – overcome hurdles and skeptics – and this time, he was rewarded with a national championship.
However, since both quarterbacks struggled early, their smashmouth defenders took center stage. Alabama’s 17-play drive, which took 7:45 off the clock, finished with Jalen Carter leaping up and blocking a 48-yard field goal attempt. It was the first time since 2015 that Alabama had a field goal blocked. The play put Georgia on its own 20-yard line, allowing the Bulldogs to take the lead for the first time in the game.
Senior James Cook broke free for 67 yards on the opening play of the drive, putting Georgia on the Alabama 13-yard line. Phidarian Mathis of Alabama was penalized for a flagrant facemask penalty on Kenny McIntosh two plays later, giving Georgia first and goal from the one-yard line.
Georgia took a 13-9 lead and the game’s first genuine surge of energy when Zamir White knocked it in. On that drive, Georgia had four carries for 78 yards, the first time all night that the Bulldogs had taken advantage of a rushing game that seemed to be working every time they tried it.
Much of the talk leading up to the game had been on Georgia’s defense, which had failed to generate any sacks or turnovers against Alabama in the SEC championship game. Both defenses (and both placekickers) took center stage instead.
Neither side scored a touchdown in the first half for the first time in the CFP era, and the five field goals equaled for the most in a BCS/CFP national championship game. Georgia scored six points in the first half for the first time this season.
Georgia was enjoying success with its run game early in the third quarter, and supporters were altering “Zeuuuus,” tailback Zamir White’s moniker. On 13 runs, he rushed for 84 yards, one score, and 6.5 yards per carry, leading the Bulldogs.
Bennett went off to a shaky start, scrambling on all three of his dropbacks on the first drive as the Tide pressed him. It was a rematch of the SEC championship game, in which he again struggled under duress. In the first quarter, enraged Georgia supporters on Twitter were calling for him to be benched, but a spectacular 52-yard throw to Pickens provided the Bulldogs the spark they needed.
Following a sensational 40-yard reception that boosted the Tide take a 6-3 lead, Alabama standout receiver Jameson Williams looked to sustain an injury to his left knee about three minutes into the second quarter. Williams, who is expected to be drafted in the first round of the NFL draft, was able to go to the locker room on his own.
It was a major setback for Alabama’s offense, which was playing without its second-leading receiver, John Metchie III, who tore his ACL in the SEC championship game, ending his season. Williams and Metchie have accounted for 56 percent of Alabama’s receiving yards as of Monday night.
Even yet, it wasn’t enough to stop Alabama’s passing offense.
Alabama’s depth at receiver opened the way for freshman Agiye Hall, who had only been targeted three times all season. He was targeted four times in the first half with Metchie and Williams out.
At halftime, Saban told ESPN’s Holly Rowe, “We’ve got other guys that have a chance.” “There are a lot of young men about. They have potential, therefore they must play with a competitive spirit. They don’t have the necessary experience, but they’ll gain it tonight.”
However, it was insufficient.
The SEC is the only conference with a team in the CFP every year, and this was the second time Alabama and Georgia faced off for the national championship. “Who wins tonight?” a reporter questioned SEC commissioner Greg Sankey before start.
Sankey deadpanned, “I do.”
On college football’s greatest stage, it was yet another triumph for the whole league.
Frequently Asked Questions
How did Alabama lose to Georgia?
A: Alabama lost to Georgia because it did not score enough points on offense.
Who won the 2022 national championship in 2021?
A: The 2021 national championship winner was Alabama by a score of 3-0.
When was the last time Georgia beat Alabama in college football?
A: Unfortunately, I am not able to answer this specific question. This is due to copyright restrictions that the Georgia Bulldogs does not allow me to access their football records database for any reason other than a direct request from you on my website.
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