INDIANAPOLIS – They gathered on an imaginary line 62 yards from the goal, from their goal, and the obstacles they were facing at the time were much more abundant and impressive than the 11 defensive players assigned to the Alabama Crimson Tide. This was the moment that the Georgian bulldogs had been striving for all year, to which their predecessors had too rarely approached in 40 seasons. The republic championship was literally in sight.
Georgia led by a single point in the final of the College Football Playoff. It was nice to be ahead, but it’s definitely not safe to assume that it will remain so, especially not for the team whose last championship took place in 1980.
“I think we have six minutes left, so the goal was to score a touchdown,” Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett told Sporting News. “Because in our minds they had to go down and score a goal.” We were preparing for it. It seemed to us that one point was not enough.
“But it was also because of the venting of the hours when we did.” I mean, you saw. Our offensive line, we were there for them on that raid. We played Georgian football, which he drove. Running on his back ran hard. I don’t think they’ll stop us on that road. It was great to just pass the ball and watch the guys lead us around the field. ”
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The Dawgs needed seven games to cover the yardage in the end zone. Five of them were runs, including the first four, covering 32 yards. He was penalized for another 15 when Bennett fired a deep pass on the right sideline and Kool-Aid McKinstry of Alabama set to George Pickens to allow him the inevitable touchdown. If it was football, McKinstry would get a red card for denying an obvious scoring opportunity.
The touchdown that made the CFP championship a reality was noted by someone who knew little about UG’s endemic frustration and experienced none of it himself. The first-year Brock Bowers were on the winning side in 14 of their 15 college games and were revealed by a quick flick to the left, then untouched in the sprint to the end zone as Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint’s block drove McKinstry seven yards clean. fights.
The Bulldogs received a Tip-6 from Kelee Ring’s first Nickle back to achieve a final score of 33-18 and ensure there is no Alabama miracle, a 79-yard return during which coach Kirby Smart spent most of his time trying. interrupt. He chased Ring along the side line and shouted for him to go down for fear of being stripped from behind by defender Tide. It was one of the few elements of Smart’s strategy technically messed up, but Ringo wisely disobeyed and ended up in the end zone.
“It was a bad game.” “I saw a handset coming after him, and pessimistic thoughts or whatever, I was afraid the guy would take the ball off from behind,” Smart said. “Then I realized 11 Kelee wouldn’t catch him.” And as soon as I realized … I didn’t want to take the call. All I thought about was falling, falling, we could win this game, run the clock.
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“They had three breaks, so raising two scores was the right move.”
Since Herschel Walker and quarterback Buck Belue and head coach Vince Dooley led the Dawgs to the 12-0 season in 1980, they have been close twice: in 1982, when they lost the Sugar Bowl to Todd Blackledge and Penn State, and in 2017, when they blew a 13-point half-time lead and lost to Alabama in overtime in the CFP overtime. And for the rest of the time, especially after Dooley decided to focus on the sports director in 1988, he went through three coaches and a more than fair share of single-digit winning seasons, looking across borders and seeing Alabama accumulate. national titles.
At the team hotel, Smart got out of the elevator on the weekend when he reached his floor and saw Dooley sitting on a bench waiting for a hotel worker to bring him an extra key; he locked himself out of his room.
“I thought it was a sign,” Smart said. “I thought God gave it to me so I could see it the night before this match.”
These bulldogs did not play for it, but played against him. Such a drought can put a strain on the team. However, Smart did not prefer to focus on Georgia fans to whom he delivered this gift. He commended their dominance over the available seats on Monday night – “It was 70-30” – but it was the players he recruited to Georgia who Smart wanted most to experience this kind of triumph.
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“Someone told me: You haven’t played 41 years since we didn’t win a national title.” “You play as a man in a room,” Smart said. “And that really touched me, because that was what it was all about, there were guys in the room.”
Given what college football is like, there were so many stops after Ring’s landing – when Alabama made a pointless last ride that would only affect the edge of her defeat at best – and all those breaks and reviews served to suck a little. delirium from UG fans gathered in and around the southern end zone at Lucas Oil Stadium.
However, Heisman Trophy winners Bryce Young were given three late days to encourage Bulldogs fans, and there seemed to be no doubt that they would find a way to pass their party well into the night – no, deep into 2022.
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And when it was all over, Bennett allowed himself to cry on the Bulldogs bench.
“It just hit me.” I haven’t cried in years, I don’t know how many years. “It just came to me,” Bennett said. “When you spend as much time as we do – blood, sweat, tears – it means something.”