Bulldogs Dominate TCU for Second Straight National Championship
INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- The No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs scored on their first six possessions, led by 31 at the half, and cruised to a 65-7 win over No. 3 TCU Monday night at SoFi Stadium to capture their second straight national championship.
Unlike last season's National Championship Game, in which the Bulldogs needed to rally to beat Alabama, Georgia jumped on the Horned Frogs from the outset. The lead was 17-7 after the first quarter and 38-7 at halftime, as quarterback Stetson Bennett and the offense started hot and stayed hot, and the defense produced its own dominating performance that included three first-half turnovers.
Georgia is the first team in the College Football Playoff era to win back-to-back national championships. The victory was the 17th in a row for the Bulldogs, tying the school record set during the 1945-47 seasons.
Bennett was named the Offensive MVP after throwing for 304 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for two scores. It was Bennett's fourth Offensive MVP award in four career CFP games.
Safety Javon Bullard was named the Defensive MVP after picking off a pair of passes and recovering a fumble, all in the first half. The defense finished with nine tackles for loss and five sacks.
Georgia (15-0) finished with 589 yards of offense to just 188 for TCU (13-2), which came in averaging 41.1 points and 474.1 yards per game. The Bulldogs' 65 points were the most ever in a CFP or BCS title game.
After Georgia's defense opened the game with a quick stop, the offense hit a couple of big plays before Bennett ran the ball in for a 21-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 11:01 left in the first quarter. Earlier in the drive, Bennett hit Bowers for 21 and 12 yards on consecutive plays to move deep into Horned Frogs territory.
Georgia's defense gave the offense the ball back at the TCU after safety Christopher Smith forced a fumble and Bullard recovered at the 33. After a Bowers 5-yard run and a 15-yard Bennett completion to Ladd McConkey, the drive stalled and Jack Podlesny kicked a 24-yard field goal to make it 10-0 Bulldogs with 6:51 remaining in the first.
TCU's high-powered offense connected on its first big play soon after, a 60-yard completion down to the Georgia 11. Three plays later, quarterback Max Duggan, a Heisman Trophy finalist like Bennett, ran the ball in from the 2 to make it 10-7 with 4:45 remaining in the quarter.
Georgia wasted no time answered with another touchdown. Bennett and McConkey twice connected on 11-yard receptions, with an 11-yard Kenny McIntosh run in between before Bennett hit a wide open McConkey in the end zone for a 37-yard score, pushing the lead to 17-7 with 2:39 remaining in a busy opening quarter.
The Bulldogs put together a dynamic 92-yard drive on their next possession, mixing the run and pass effectively as they marched in for another touchdown. Bowers had receptions of 10 and 35 yards, Bennett scrambled for 12, Daijun Edwards had an 8-yard catch and 7-yard run, McIntosh added a 12-yard run, and then Bennett finished it with a 6-yard touchdown run. Bennett's 10th rushing touchdown of the season made it 24-7 with 8:30 to play in the half.
Georgia's defense forced its second turnover of the half on TCU's next drive, with Bullard picking off a deep Duggan throw at the Bulldog 34. The offense then marched down, again effectively mixing the run and pass, and went up 31-7 on Kendall Milton's 1-yard plunge with 1:19 left in the half.
Bullard and the defense weren't done. Bullard intercepted a Duggan pass deep in TCU territory and the offense got the ball back at the 22 with :36 seconds left. On the second play of the drive, Bennett hit Adonai Mitchell for a 22-yard score with 26 seconds left, making it 38-7 at the half.
The Bulldogs amassed 371 yards and averaged 9.3 yards per play in the first two quarters while holding TCU to 121 yards and 4.5 yards per play.
After punting for the first and only time in the game on their first drive of the second half, the Bulldogs' offense found the end zone again with their second, with Bennett hitting Bowers for a 22-yard touchdown to make it 45-7 with 10:52 remaining in the third quarter. Bowers had a monster performance with seven receptions for 152 yards, plus two rushes for 15 yards
Georgia made it 52-7 with 2:17 left in the third when Bennett hit McConkey for a 14-yard touchdown. A 1-yard Branson Robinson rushing touchdown pushed Georgia's lead to 59-7 with 9:24 left. Robinson was the sixth Bulldog to score at least one touchdown in the game, and he added a second score on a 19-yard run with 7:23 remaining, making it 65-7.