No. 1 Georgia, No. 3 TCU Advance To College Football Playoff Championship Game

January 1, 2023


No team has won back-to-back national championships in the College Football Playoff era.

Now Georgia will get its chance.

The No. 1 Bulldogs (14-0) overcame a 14-point second-half deficit to beat No. 4 Ohio State, 42-41, in the Peach Bowl and will face No. 3 No. 3 Texas Christian (13-1) — a 51-45 winner over No. 2 Michigan — in the College Football Playoff championship game on Jan. 9 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

“We’ll see you there,” Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett, who threw for 398 yards and three touchdowns and keyed the largest fourth-quarter comeback in the nine-year history of the Playoff, said on ESPN.

No. 1 seed Georgia entered as a 5.5-point favorite over Ohio State. But in another high-scoring affair, C.J. Stroud and the Buckeyes offense stormed out to a 38-24 lead.

A 10-yard touchdown pass from Bennett to AD Mitchell in the left corner of the end zone put Georgia ahead 42-41 with 54 seconds remaining.

Stroud led Ohio State on a drive to the Georgia 32-yard line that included a big run by the quarterback.

Buckeyes kicker Noah Ruggles then walked out for a 50-yard field goal after having made 15 of 17 on the season. But after getting iced with a timeout, he missed the kick wide left, allowing Georgia the right to defend their national championship in Los Angeles.

“What a game, what a game,” Bennett said. “That might be better than the ‘17 Rose Bowl [in which Georgia beat Oklahoma in double-overtime] but good lord.

“We came back and we needed to make a play and then AD came back, unbelievable.”

Georgia led for just 1 minute, 49 seconds of the game.

“Ohio State probably deserved to win the game but we never quit,” said Georgia coach Kirby Smart. “We stayed in the game, made some big plays. I couldn’t be prouder of these kids.”

Big 12 regular-season champion TCU entered the first semifinal in the Fiesta Bowl as a 7.5-point underdog to No. 2 Michigan (13-1), the Big Ten champions, but emerged with a thrilling 51-45 victory. The combined 96 points was the most ever for a CFP semifinal or final. The four teams combined for 179 points on the day.

“All week we heard about Big Ten football and how they were going to line up and run over us, and defensively, they made some plays, but we did a great job stopping the run and force them to do some things they weren’t comfortable doing,” first-year coach Sonny Dykes said. “Couldn’t be more proud of the defense, thought they played incredibly hard and just like we expected them to.”

Dykes also paid homage to his mentor Mike Leach, the Mississippi State coach who passed away on December 12 following a heart attack.

“I think he would’ve gotten a kick out of it,” Dykes said of the high-scoring game.

TCU, which wasn’t even in the AP Preseason Top 25, will play in the championship game after going 5-7 last season

And they will play against the defending champs.

“I don’t know that we’re ready for TCU right now based on what i saw,” Smart said on ESPN. “We got a lot of work to do. I have tremendous respect for their program.”



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