After all of the chaos and arguing, after a season of two Faculty Soccer Playoff first-timers, and simply when it seemed like some new blood might break by way of to the highest tier of the game, it’s Georgia and Alabama. Once more, and emphatically so.
The third-ranked Bulldogs clobbered No. 2 Michigan, 34-11, on the Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens, Fla. on Friday night time to arrange a rematch of the SEC title recreation in subsequent Monday’s nationwide championship. Georgia will attempt to win its first nationwide title for the reason that halcyon days of Herschel Walker and 1980, and its coach, former Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Good, will get a fifth shot at his outdated boss, Nick Saban.
The primary 4 conferences haven’t gone nicely for Good, the newest disappointment coming final month with a 41-24 loss in Atlanta. And Georgia’s biggest disappointment on this rivalry — through which Alabama holds a seven-game win streak relationship again to 2008 — got here on a second-and-26 within the 2018 title recreation, when Tua Tagovailoa threw a championship-winning go to DeVonta Smith.
As time wound down Friday, Good sidestepped a Gatorade bathtub. His focus already had turned forward.
“I used to be eager to get an actual bathe and never a Gatorade bathtub trigger I wish to get centered on Alabama,” Good mentioned. “They bought a five-, six-hour head begin.
“I’ll be sincere with you guys, I’m not focused on celebrating that. We’ll look again on that win, that’ll be nice, however we’re centered on the duty at hand.”
Final month’s version of Alabama-Georgia, through which Bryce Younger proved that the Bulldogs’ vaunted protection was something however unbeatable, prompted the Wolverines to assume that they had an opportunity of their first-ever CFP look. How cruelly mistaken.
From the sport’s very first drive, through which the Dawgs drove down the sphere and scored because of consecutive performs of 9, 16, 35, 7, 2, 2 and 9 yards, this was an entire mismatch of expertise.
Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken put collectively a recreation plan that neutralized edge rushers Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo, and maximized tight finish Brock Bowers and working again James Cook dinner within the passing recreation. For now, quarterback Stetson Bennett has silenced the critics, throwing for 313 yards and three touchdowns, exhibiting the cool management of domination.
“It wasn’t our greatest,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh mentioned. “But it surely actually was theirs.”
Bowers put up 68 receiving yards and a landing, Cook dinner completed with 99 receiving yards and a landing — because of Monken taking fixed benefit of a bunch of Michigan linebackers that couldn’t maintain tempo.
“The swing path to Bowers and it seemed like they hit a [slant and go] there with their working again on our linebacker,” Harbaugh mentioned. “Identical precise play now we have in our offense. … That matchup we had been in search of, they bought.”
Such a degree of output required Michigan to maintain up. The Wolverines couldn’t.
Their tried-and-true run recreation met a wall in Georgia’s entrance seven, which stonewalled Michigan to the tune of 88 dashing yards, the primary time all 12 months it was held underneath 100. As soon as quarterback Cade McNamara needed to make performs — which was early on, for the reason that Wolverines had been down 14-0 earlier than the primary quarter ended — he discovered himself in a consistently collapsing pocket with nowhere to flee.
In the meantime, the Dawgs had been piling up factors — on a tough working again go to go up 14-0, on a 57-yard Bennett-to-Jermaine Burton bomb to make it 27-3 — so simply that Good lit into his quarterback at halftime for letting the clock run down with a 24-point lead.
Regardless of that second, the sport was a triumph for Bennett, the scout staff quarterback when Georgia received the Rose Bowl 4 years in the past.
Requested if he might have imagined this then, Bennett replied: “I imply, no.”
“I actually give attention to efficiency and do issues primarily based on efficiency,” Good mentioned. “And I believed he carried out at a very excessive degree right this moment.”
An in any other case quiet second half did function one unusual sight: a Georgia punt.
However Michigan’s Blake Corum fumbled the ball away on the following drive, proving that momentum means nothing when a university offense faces a protection full of NFL expertise.
And so once more, the playoff featured two video games of expertise mismatches and fourth quarters missing in competitiveness — this one that includes the kind of SEC dominance that confirms a actuality the remainder of the nation want to neglect:
In one another, Georgia and Alabama may now have the one opponents through which expertise alone doesn’t show overwhelming sufficient to win.