INGLEWOOD, Calif. — There was no epic comeback and no miraculous end as a result of there was no likelihood — not when the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs asserted their sheer dominance from the onset and sucked the storybook ending proper out from beneath No. 3 TCU with a 65-7 win within the College Football Playoff National Championship recreation at SoFi Stadium on Monday evening.
In a recreation that featured two Heisman Trophy finalist quarterbacks, Georgia’s Stetson Bennett piled onto his legacy earlier than an introduced crowd of 72,628, main the Bulldogs to back-to-back nationwide titles for the primary time since Alabama completed the feat following the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
And they made it look really easy.
With 13:25 left within the recreation and Georgia sitting comfortably with a 52-7 lead, coach Kirby Smart known as a timeout so the 25-year-old Bennett might stroll off the sphere for the final time and soak within the second after accounting for six whole touchdowns (4 passing and two dashing). His teammates within the huddle had been questioning why they did not have a play, and Bennett stated he defined it to them. He unhooked his chin strap, pulled off his helmet with a smile and went to the sideline, the place he was greeted with hugs and high-fives from coaches and teammates for capping his profession with the game’s largest prize.
“As simple as it is, just one last huddle with the guys,” stated Bennett, who completed with a 29-3 profession report as Georgia’s starter. “That was special, coming off and seeing coach Smart. That was really cool, and I appreciate that.”
“First time he’s ever walked off that I was hugging him,” Smart stated with a smile.
Georgia beat this scrappy however proficient TCU group each which manner, utilizing its highly effective tight ends for giant performs within the passing recreation, discovering holes for lengthy bursts within the working recreation and pushing by way of the Frogs’ offensive line to strain TCU quarterback Max Duggan into pricey errors. He threw two interceptions within the first half, together with one with :36 seconds remaining that led to a different Bennett landing cross two performs later, and a powerful 38-7 halftime lead for Georgia. It was the biggest halftime lead in a nationwide championship recreation because the 2002 BCS title recreation, when Miami led Nebraska 34-0.
Georgia, having the expertise of profitable all of it only a yr in the past, regarded snug and calm, whereas the Frogs, who completed 5-7 a yr in the past and had been picked to complete seventh within the Big 12, appeared wide-eyed and out of types beneath first-year coach Sonny Dykes.
“We’ll learn from it,” Dykes stated, “and next time we’re on a stage like this, we’ll handle it better.”
Georgia closed as a 13.5-point favourite, the biggest favourite in a nationwide title recreation since 1998, however TCU, which defied the chances on a weekly foundation, had received 5 video games when trailing after halftime this season whereas capturing the nation’s consideration with its funky hypnotoad and underdog standing alongside the way in which.
Not this time.
This wasn’t a couple of fairytale ending. No, this was about what’s starting at Georgia beneath Kirby Smart.
Since 1990, the one different faculties to win back-to-back nationwide titles are Nebraska (1994-95) and USC (2003-04). This time, Georgia did it with out 5 first-round NFL draft picks from final season’s nationwide championship protection.
“If the team last year played this year’s team, last year’s team probably had more talent on it,” Smart stated, “but this year’s team was different. They just had this eye of the tiger; they weren’t going to lose.”
The comparisons between the place Georgia is heading and what Alabama has performed started final season, when the Bulldogs defeated the Tide to win their first nationwide title in 41 years. Now that Georgia has received consecutive championships, there’s an simple tilt within the stability of energy between the 2 applications. The debate will heighten if Georgia is usurping, or already has usurped, Alabama, which has received six nationwide titles in 12 seasons beneath Saban, as essentially the most elite program within the SEC.
Smart, who spent 9 seasons as Alabama coach Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator earlier than he was employed at Georgia, took Saban’s championship blueprint with him to Athens. He has now received 5 SEC East titles, two SEC championships and two nationwide titles. He has lured in seven top-three signing courses, they usually had been on full show Monday evening.
For a lot of the primary half, Bennett was throwing to open receivers with out a defender in arm’s attain. He threw solely 4 incompletions within the first half and accounted for 2 passing touchdowns and two dashing touchdowns.
“The way he leads, the way he prepares, his mental makeup is such of a quarterback that believes he can make every throw, and what he did tonight was truly amazing,” Smart stated. “He probably had his best game of his career, in my opinion, with some of the checks he made, some of the decisions he made, it was really elite.”
Georgia outgained TCU by 233 yards within the first half, the biggest margin in any half of a nationwide championship recreation since at the very least the 2004 season. The Bulldogs had been shattering nationwide championship data left and proper. In the tip, Georgia scored essentially the most factors in a BCS/CFP nationwide championship — and the biggest margin of victory in any bowl recreation all time, together with nationwide championships. It was an utter meltdown for the Frogs, who had been making an attempt to win this system’s first nationwide title since 1938.
When TCU knocked off No. 2 Michigan within the CFP semifinal on the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl, it continued to transform critics into believers. It took just one half for Georgia to make it clear, although, that the hole between the SEC’s most elite program and TCU was as massive because the rating indicated.
Midway by way of the third quarter, Georgia had run as many performs (45) because it had factors, which explains why the Georgia followers in SoFi Stadium appeared as snug because the lead they had been looking at. Just about all the pieces collapsed for TCU, together with its protection within the first half, which allowed its most factors in a primary half since giving up 38 to Oklahoma in 2017.
Entering the second quarter, Georgia’s gamers had been waving their arms on the sphere and their white towels on the sideline, gesturing to the followers to get into the sport. They did it once more at first of the second half. Georgia’s 17 factors had been essentially the most scored within the first quarter by a group in a BCS or CFP nationwide championship recreation. Even with the resounding begin, although, there was nonetheless a way that TCU would put up a battle prefer it all the time does, and the primary quarter was far too early to jot down off the Frogs.
That occurred within the second quarter.
TCU carved its id this season by way of its relentless skill to seek out methods to win, however it was an insurmountable activity in opposition to a program that has solid its id as the most effective group within the nation.