Georgia Gets Revenge on Alabama (33-18) to Win 1st National Championship in 41 Years
Underdog, thy name is Stetson Bennett IV! Georgia and Alabama played a nail-biter through three-plus quarters before the Bulldogs exploded for 20 unanswered in the final 10 minutes to win their first National Championship since 1980. The CFP title game in Indy was one for the record books, featuring five lead changes and nothing but field goals until late in the third quarter. But that’s where Bennett IV bounced back from a crucial mistake to lead the ‘Dawgs to glory.
The 4th Quarter
The Georgia quarterback made a crucial error with a fumble on an attempted pass that was recovered by Alabama in the red zone. The Crimson Tide scored to take an 18-13 lead, but that would be Bennett’s last mistake. The undersized walk-on QB went 4-for-4 for 83 yards and 2 TDs in his final two drives to give Georgia a 26-18 advantage. On Alabama’s last life, a 79-yard pick-six from freshman CB Kelee Ringo sealed the celebration.
S. Bennett IV (GA): 17/26, 224 yards, 2 TDs
B. Young (ALA): 35/57, 369 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
Other Top Performers
RB Z. White (GA): 13 carries, 84 yards, 1 TD
WR C. Latu (ALA): 5 receptions, 102 yards, 1 TD
The Year of the Dawgs
The victory for Georgia wasn’t just payback for their SEC Championship loss to Alabama 37 days prior (41-24), but for the 2018 CFP National Championship and each of head coach Kirby Smart’s four losses against his former mentor, Nick Saban. Georgia finished the season 14-1 with the only loss coming in the SEC title match.
History for Georgia
Monday’s win marked the first college football title for Georgia since 1980 when Herschel Walker led the Bulldogs past Notre Dame. They also won the 1941 championship, making 2022 the third title in school history.
The Story of Stetson Bennett IV
A lifelong UGA fan, Stetson Bennett IV received just three minor college offers coming out of high school in southern Georgia. Instead, he chose UGA as a preferred walk-on and played junior college ball until earning a scholarship in 2019. Buried at the bottom of the depth chart, Bennett IV earned the starting job in 2021 and captained Georgia’s championship run. The Bulldogs were certainly known for their defense and run game, but in the 4th quarter of the National Championship against the Heisman Trophy winner, Alabama QB Bryce Young, it was Bennett IV who played hero.
*You can read more about Stetson Bennett IV in tomorrow’s Underdog feature.
That’s a wrap on the college football season. Congratulations to the Georgia Bulldogs, your 2022 College Football Playoff National Champions!
Photo: Andy Lyons / Getty Images