Two teams from the south took over the city of Indianapolis for a couple days before their match-up in Lucas Oil Stadium. This is the second time in the last four years that the Georgia Bulldogs had to face the Alabama Crimson Tide in the National Championship and many of us remember how that game went at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The first half was tense as both defenses set the tone with physical play! It was all about field goals. Neither team was able to score any touchdowns but Alabama kicker Will Reichert and Georgia’s kicker Jack Podlesny had an opportunity to beef up the scoreboard. At the end of the first half, Alabama led Georgia 9-6, but no one could predict what would happen in the second half.
68,311 rabid fans witnessed both Southeastern Conference teams battled feverishly to establish some sort of momentum. A huge stop by the Bulldogs defense in the 3rd quarter where Jalen Carter blocked a 48 yard field goal attempt, causing the UGA fans to bark around the stadium. This is the moment when the momentum shifted Georgia’s way.
On their first play with 3 minutes left in the 3rd quarter the Dawgs had a 67 yard run for a first down near the goal line. A face mask penalty by Alabama gave UGA the edge. Georgia scores and the entire stadium erupts!
At the beginning of the 4th quarter, the Tide tried to answer back but had to kick a field goal. Georgia led Alabama 13-12.
Stetson Bennett committed a fumble that every UGA fan disapproved of (the referees confirmed it after review). Five plays later, Alabama quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young threw a three yard touchdown pass to tight end Cameron Latu. Alabama was unable to make the 2-pt conversion so the score was 18-13 with 10:14 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Georgia would promptly respond as ‘The Mailman,’ quarterback Stetson Bennett took the Bulldogs down the field. AD Mitchell caught a contested touchdown pass. The two point conversion failed and the ‘Dawgs led 19-18 with 8:09 left.
Alabama went three-and-out on their next possession. They’d punt it back to Georgia and this was where head coach Kirby Smart learned from his mentor, Alabama head coach Nick Saban. Georgia ran the ball six times in their seven play drive. It was capped off with Bennett finding stud freshman tight end Brock Bowers on a 15 yard touchdown strike with 3:33 left in the 4th quarter.
With those angel numbers you have to wonder if the Dawgs will pull this off. The score 26-18, Georgia.
With a huge play on the line, Bryce Young threw his second interception of the half, this time to cornerback Kelee Ringo and he returned it 79 yards for the touchdown! At that point, it was 33-18, Georgia. Georgia fans are screaming and even crying big tears because the moment they’ve been waiting for over 40 years is about to happen.
The celebration started before the clock struck 0:00 and it didn’t stop until around 1am in Lucas Oil Stadium.
Coach Smart told everyone, “There’s gonna be some property torn up in Indianapolis TO-NIGHT!”
Here are the most important stats: Kirby Smart is the 4th head coach in the last 60 seasons to win a National title at his alma mater. Also, Georgia won their first national championship in 41 years!