Georgia Uses Late Push to Beat Alabama 33-18 in CFP Title Game
The Georgia Bulldogs scored 20 straight points in the fourth quarter to beat the Alabama Crimson Tide 33-18 to win their first national championship in 41 years by dethroning the defending champions.
The fourth quarter was hectic, but the first half was entirely punts and field goals between the two SEC squads. It was a defensive slugfest for the first 30 minutes of game time.
The national championship started with controversy. Alabama quarterback Bryce Young was under pressure and threw the ball into the ground. Georgia picked it up and ran it back for a touchdown, but it was called an incompletion after review.
Following the incompletion, Alabama capped off a 14-play drive with a 37-yard field goal to take an early 3-0 lead. After that, both teams traded multiple punts. The Bulldogs offense was unable to get anything going in their first two drives, managing only one net yard in six plays.
At the end of one quarter, the Tide held that slight three-point lead, but Georgia tied it with their own long field goal drive which featured a massive 52-yard completion between quarterback Stetson Bennett and wide receiver George Pickens.
On the first play of Alabama's next drive, Young completed a 40-yard pass to star wide receiver Jameson Williams, but Williams got injured on the play. He did not return in the game after leaving early in the second quarter, and Alabama's offense struggled without him.
Alabama finished off that drive with a 48-yard field goal to regain the lead at 6-3. After Georgia went three-and-out, Young hit tight end Cameron Metu for a 61-yard gain to the Bulldogs eight yard-line. However, on third-and-goal from the six, Young was sacked for a 13-yard loss and Alabama settled for another field goal to make it 9-3.
Georgia responded with a field goal drive, but the Crimson Tide went into halftime with a 9-6 lead. The defenses controlled the game early, and neither team found the end zone before the break. This picture of the Georgia bulldog Uga at the game summed up many fans' reactions to the first half.
According to ESPN, Alabama entered the game with a winning streak of 23 games when they held the lead at halftime. Neither team ran the ball well in the first half. Georgia had 26 yards on 13 carries while the Tide had only 10 yards on 10 attempts.
The Bulldogs made a point of turning that around by starting the third quarter with runs of 11 and 18 yards to get into Alabama territory. However, an intentional grounding penalty ruined the drive, and Georgia punted from the Tide 43.
On the second play of Alabama's next offensive possession, Young sailed his intended receiver and Bulldogs defensive back Christopher Smith intercepted it. It was the first turnover of the game, but Georgia's offense did nothing with the gift, going three-and-out and punting again. This time, they pinned Alabama's offense at their own four yard-line.
The Tide went on a long 17-play drive that took nearly eight minutes off the clock, and running back Brian Robinson Jr. was the one who stepped up. He had 53 of Alabama's 68 yards during the possession, but a pair of big drops by the Crimson Tide receivers stalled the drive. Alabama attempted a 48-yard field goal which was blocked by Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter. The Bulldogs took over and Alabama left the field with a disappointing ending to an excellent drive.
Georgia running back James Cook opened the Bulldogs next possession with a massive 67-yard run to the Alabama 13.
Three plays later, running back Zamir White ran in from one yard out for the first touchdown of the entire game, taking their first lead at 13-9 late in the third quarter. It capped off a massive momentum shift following the blocked field goal and huge run by Cook.
The fourth quarter was very exciting as the two teams came down to clutch time in a tightly-contested finish.
Alabama's offense responded to the touchdown with a big 10-play, 73-yard drive where a personal foul and a 28-yard completion from Young to wide receiver Agiye Hall set up a first-and-goal at Georgia's five. However, an incompletion set up a fourth-and-goal at the three, and Alabama settled for a 21-yard field goal, cutting the Georgia lead to 13-12.
In another controversial play, Bennett was sacked for a loss of 11 yards and fumbled. After review, it was determined that the ball was coming out of his hands before he completed the forward passing motion, and the ball was recovered by an Alabama defender before he stepped out of bounds at the Georgia 16. It was a huge momentum shift back towards Alabama.
On third-and-goal, Young hit Metu for a three-yard touchdown, and Alabama's offense finally broke through into the end zone. They attempted a two-point conversion and failed, so the lead for the Tide was 18-13.
It took less than two minutes of game time for Georgia to retake the lead. Bennett completed all three of his passing attempts for 75 yards on the drive, including a 40-yard touchdown to wide receiver Adonai Mitchell. They attempted a two-point conversion that also failed, so the score was 19-18 with eight minutes left. However, this ended up being the game-winning score.
Alabama quickly went three-and-out in response, punting to give Georgia the ball back. The Bulldogs had all the momentum with the lead and the ball, and they imposed their will on their second consecutive touchdown drive. A 62-yard drive in seven plays was capped off by a 15-yard touchdown pass between Bennett and tight end Brock Bowers. The extra point was good, and Georgia's lead ballooned to 26-18.
Young connected on a pair of 12-yard completions during a two-minute drill, but Bulldogs defensive back Kelee Ringo sealed Georgia's first national championship victory since 1980 with an interception returned 79 yards for a touchdown.
The clock ran out on Alabama's final possession, and the University of Georgia won the 2022 National Championship Game 33-18 after a hectic fourth quarter flurry. The Bulldogs scored 20 straight points to seal the win and avenge their SEC Championship Game loss.