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Georgia Football

Georgia Bullogs TE Brock Bowers - College Football's Best Player

May 14, 2023

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ATHENS - Brock Bowers and Kirby Smart‘s Georgia Bulldogs were coming off a blowout win over the Michigan Wolverines - heading to a winner-take-all fight with Alabama.

Bowers beat up Michigan to the tune of five catches for 55 yards. He scored the Dawgs’ first touchdown of the game - a nine-yard catch from Stetson Bennett. The 33-11 win over Michigan set up the second clash with Tide.

In the first game, Bennett two connected with Bowers ten times in the 2021 SEC Championship Game - a lopsided win that reinvigorated Alabama. Bowers had 139 yards and a touchdown against the Tide that night in Atlanta.

He was rolling, and Nick Saban knew it. 

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"He's one of the premier players in college football," Saban said before the second game with Georgia. "I know everyone knows all of the passes he catches, but he's a good blocker."

The catches get noticed the most. Bowers ended 2021 with seven touchdown receptions in his final five games - stomping the competition. The final catch of Bowers’ seven that night was the most critical against Saban and the Tide in the 2022 College Football National Championship Game

Clinging to a one-point lead Kirby Smart’s defense had just forced a three-and-out. The clock was clicking on the classic between the two SEC powers. Kearis Jackson’s fair catch set up Georgia at the Georgia 38-yard line. 

Georgia continued to hammer a tiring Alabama defense with runs that delivered body blow after body blow. First James Cook for four yards; then Zamir White for seven and a first down. White took the next carry for five yards into Alabama territory. He followed that up with another seven-yard run. 

A pass interference call set up White’s next seven-yard run. That was followed by Cook around the right edge for two yards. For only the second time in the fourth quarter Georgia was facing a third down. This time it was third and one from the Alabama 15-yard line. The Dawgs were in good position, but they wanted to be in a better one with time bleeding off the clock.

Jack Podlesny had done his part in keeping Georgia in striking distance from the Tide as UGA’s offense sputtered in the first half, but Kirby and company wanted more than three points. Bowers had three catches before the fourth quarter. It was time to go to the big man once more. 

“He does a good job of executing whatever he needs to do for his teammates to have success,” Saban said of Bowers leading into the game. 

Bowers was about to execute in the most painful way for the Tide. The beauty of Bowers is he can be moved around and positioned to hurt other teams. He can run routes after lining up beside an offensive tackle. He can take runs on end arounds. He can also be split out wide - creating a massive mismatch for the defense. 

That was the case on this - Georgia’s final offensive snap of the game. 

Bowers lined up behind left tackle. He immediately sprinted to his left. All 11 Alabama defenders were within four yards of the line of scrimmage. It sure felt like this play would decide the game.

A Bama blitz towards Bowers meant a clean release for the tight end. Bennett faked a handoff to Cook and tossed the ball to a wide open Bowers. After securing the ball a yard behind the line of scrimmage Bowers only had two players in front of him - Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint and Alabama’s Kool-Aid McKinstry , who Rosemy-Jacksaint was whipping with his blocking.  

Not that McKinstry had much of a shot to stop Bowers anyway. By the 12-yard line Bowers had built up enough steam - no one was stopping him. He was headed to the end zone. 

Was the coverage a mistake by Alabama’s Henry To’oTo’o? Better question: Does Bowers’ ability to move around the offense cause confusion for defenders?  Was To’oTo’o going to be able to stick with Bowers anyway?

“He's got wide receiver skills in every way, shape or form, which makes it difficult being a bigger guy for bigger guys to cover him,” Saban said. “And it makes it also difficult for smaller guys to cover him.”

Down eight, Alabama would probably only have one drive left to score a touchdown - something they had only done once that night. That score was one a short drive set up in the shadow of Georgia’s end zone. 

Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young maneuvered Alabama to the Georgia 44-yard line before throwing a pick six to Kelee Ringo on a third and long. 78 yards later the rest is history. Bowers and the Bulldogs have not lost since. 

“We just have to hate to lose,” Bowers told reporters at G Day. 

They’ve done a pretty good job of that, and Bowers is a big reason why.

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