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Georgia Football

Bulldog Defense Proves To Be One of the All-Time Best in 33-18 Championship Win

January 10, 2022

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INDIANAPOLIS - *Bulldogs Return To CFP National Championship Game And Win It: Tonight Georgia made its second appearance in the College Football Playoff, again as a No. 3 seed, and this time beat top-ranked Alabama 33-18 for its third national title and first since 1980. The MVPs were senior QB Stetson Bennett on offense and junior Lewis Cine on defense. Georgia snaps a seven-game losing streak in the series with Alabama and head coach Kirby Smart notches his first win over the Crimson Tide in five tries. Smart improves to 66-15 in his sixth season at his alma mater and now has a national title too. The Bulldogs complete the season with a 14-1 record, the most wins in a season in school history. Georgia has won titles in 1942, 1980 and now 2021. Bennett was the Offensive MVP of the Capital One Orange Bowl last week too.


*2021 Senior Class Sets Win Mark:  With tonight’s national title win over top-ranked Alabama, Georgia’s senior class set the school record for most wins going 45-8. Also, Georgia is the first team school history to win a record 14 games in a year.


*Defensive Effort Leads To National Title: Georgia entered as the national leader in Scoring Defense at 9.6 ppg while UA was averaging 41.4 ppg. UA led 9-6 at the half on three field goals, gaining 216 yards on 36 plays. UA finished tonight with 18 points on 399 yards on 85 plays Coming in, Georgia allowed an FBS low 12 TDs on the year and gave up just one tonight. Georgia led the nation in Red Zone Defense, and while UA was 4-for-4, it was three field goals and a TD, making a pair of 37-yard field goals and one from 21 yards. Opponents made 32 trips this year and were held to a field goal 11 times with 9 TDs plus 12 times they have come away with no points. UA took over at the UGA 16 following a play ruled a turnover. It led to a TD and UA taking an 18-13 lead after a failed two-point conversion try with 10:14 left in the contest.

The leading tackler was seniors Channing Tindall and Quay Walker with eight stops. Tindall had 1.5 TFL and a sack. Tindall’s 13-yard sack came on 3rd-and goal from the 6 that forced a field goal as UA pushed its lead to 9-3 with 7:07 left in the first half.  Junior Lewis Cine was named the defensive MVP with seven tackles and one TFL.

In the second half, senior Christopher Smith notched an interception at the UA 43. It was his third of the season. It led to no points. Also, sophomore Jalen Carter blocked a field goal to end a scoring threat, and UGA took over at the UA 20, trailing 9-6 with 3:18 left in the 3rd quarter. Before tonight, Devonte Wyatt was the last Bulldog to block a field goal, coming against Kentucky this year. In that game, Carter had a blocked PAT. Georgia has five blocks this year (2 FG, 2 Punts, 1 PAT).

Redshirt freshman Kelee Ringo had a 79-yard Interception return for a TD to put Georgia in front 32-18 with 54 seconds left. It was Ringo’s second INT and the fourth pick-six by the defense this season. It was the first pick six since Nakobe Dean went 50 yards for a score in the rout of Florida this year. Ringo’s pick-six was the longest in a CFP National Championship Game. It was the 25th score by the defense or special teams in the Smart era, and Georgia is 22-1 when they tally a non-offensive score in a game.


*Review Of Offense: Coming in tonight, the Bulldogs were averaging 39.0 points per game while No. 1 Alabama was allowing just 19.2 ppg. Georgia finished the first half with six points (two field goals) on 153 yards of total offense on 30 plays, trailing 9-6. Georgia’s first scoring drive featured junior George Pickens hauling in a career-long 52-yard catch and ended with a 24-yard field goal by Jack Podlesny. The drive covered 87 yards on 11 plays in 5:51.

Senior QB Stetson Bennett finished 17-for-26 for 224 yards and 2 TDs, and he improves to 14-3 as a starter including 11-1 this season. The leading receiver was freshman TE Brock Bowers (4 rec., 36 yards), and the leading rusher was senior Zamir White with 84 yards on 13 carries.

In the second half, senior James Cook had a 67-yard rush, it was the longest rush this year by a Bulldog. Georgia ended up scoring a TD, coming on White’s 1-yard run, his 11th TD of the year and 25th of his career. Following the PAT, Georgia took a 13-9 advantage with 1:20 left, its first lead. It capped a four play, 80-yard drive in 1:58.

Trailing 18-13 with 10:14 left, Georgia answered with a 75-yard TD drive on four plays in 2:05. It was capped by a 40-yard TD catch from Bennett to freshman AD Mitchell, his fourth of the year. After a failed two-point conversion, Georgia led 19-18 with 8:09 left. He hit Brock Bowers for a 15-yard TD on 3rd-and 1 to put Georgia up 26-18 with 3:33 left. It completed a 62-yard drive in seven plays in 3:37. For Bowers, it extended his school record to 13 TD receptions this season.


*Summary of Specialists: Junior Jack Podlesny went 2-for-2 on field goals (24- and 49-yarder) and 3-for-3 on PATs. He is now 22-for-27 in FGs this year and 70-for-71 on PATs. His 49-yarder was a season-long that pulled the Bulldogs to within three at 9-6 in the 2nd quarter. Senior Jake Camarda had five punts for a 44.6 average with two inside the 20. His longest covered 55 yards plus he had a 38-yarder downed at the two. Camarda handled kickoffs too.


*Game Captains/Coin Toss: The captains were Jordan Davis, Nakobe Dean, Jamaree Salyer and Zamir White.  Georgia won the toss and deferred until the 2nd half


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