Georgia beats Michigan to set up Alabama rematch

We have a rematch for the national championship.

Georgia’s No. 3 knocked out Michigan’s No. 2 in the first half of the Orange Bowl, winning 34-11 on Friday night. The victory of Georgia prepares the match with the no. 1 Alabama for the national title on January 10.

Alabama beat Georgia, 41-24, to win the SEC title on December 4 and take the seed of the College Football Playoff. The rematch between the two teams is the first in the playoff era and only the second domestic title rematch since the BCS was established in 1998. The only other title rematch in the BCS and playoff era came in January. 2012 when Alabama beat LSU for the national title after LSU beat Crimson Tide in the regular season.

That Alabama win over LSU was their first all-SEC title game of the 2000s. The second came after the 2017 season, when Alabama beat Georgia in extra time to win the national title.

Michigan has never led the College Football Playoffs semifinal

It was clear from Georgia’s first two drives of the games that Michigan was overwhelmed. The Bulldogs (13-1) took the ball to start the game and made 80 yards in seven plays for a 7-0 lead. After Michigan (12-2) turned the ball downs in Georgian territory, Georgia then ran 59 yards out of six plays for a 14-0 lead with 4:41 left in the first quarter after running back Kendall McIntosh threw a TD pass to Adonai Mitchell.

From there the game is over.

The lead was 27-3 at half-time after Jermaine Burton received a 57-yard pass from Stetson Bennett with 1:38 to go halfway. The only half low point for the Bulldogs came right after that TD; Georgia quickly recovered the ball after an interception by Michigan’s Cade McNamara, but an apparent miscommunication between manager Kirby Smart and Bennett led Georgia to run time for the remainder of the first half instead of trying to get more points.

The great game of Stetson Bennett

Bennett had his worst game of the season in the SEC title match as Georgia was unable to return in the second half. The days between the title game and the Orange Bowl were filled with speculation from Georgia fans as to whether Bennett was actually the team’s best quarterback or whether JT Daniels, the USC transfer that supplanted him at the end of the season. last season and opened this season as a starter before an oblique injury – he should be the QB guy for the Bulldogs against the Wolverines.

Everything Bennett did in the first half on Friday night was a deal. He was 16 of 22 going through 234 yards and two touchdowns as the Bulldogs built that three touchdown advantage at half-time. He also had a 20-yard key scramble.

Barring the mess at halftime, Bennett was in command of the attack as Georgia knocked out early. This was evident in the way Georgia attacked the Michigan defense before the game got out of hand. The running Bulldogs threw the ball just 13 times in the first half, while Bennett and McIntosh combined to throw 23 passes.

Bennett finished the game 20 of 30 by going through three touchdowns after throwing a long TD pass to RB James Cook in the fourth quarter.

The Michigan line struggles with the Georgia front

The Michigan offensive line was one of the best in college football and won the Joe Moore Award for best line performance of the season. The UM line dominated Ohio State in the final game of the regular season and beat Iowa in the Big Ten title game. It would have withstood Georgia’s marauding front, right?

Not exactly. Georgia’s defense pushed Michigan on offense, intimidated McNamara, and Michigan’s powerful running game was stifled.

McNamara was at his best in 2021 when he was able to play against Hassan Haskins and one of the best running offenders in the country. But without a running game to scare Georgia’s defense, the Michigan attack was unable to turn back. The Wolverines had a chance to rejoin early in the third quarter, but McNamara communicated poorly with the receiver and was knocked out by Derion Kendrick in the end zone.

Georgia and Alabama’s dominance of recruiting pays off

The Michigan defeat also ensures that the national championship will be won by a southern team. A team from Louisiana, South Carolina, or Alabama has won every year since Ohio State won the first College Football Playoff at the end of the 2014 season. And Ohio State is the only team outside of these three states and Georgia to also appear in a College Football Playoff since the Buckeyes beat Oregon in January 2015.

The rematch between Georgia and Alabama is also another sign that the recruiting rankings matter. Both Georgia (3) and Alabama (2) finished with class no. 1 on the Rivals recruiting table over the past five seasons, and neither team finished outside the top seven at that interval.

Another chance for Kirby Smart against Nick Saban

Alabama manager Nick Saban’s famous unbeaten streak against his former assistants ended in early 2021, when Texas A&M and Jimbo Fisher defeated the Crimson Tide. Saban is 25-1 against his former assistants and four of those wins have come against Smart.

The latter two were also not particularly close. After Georgia lost a total of 10 points in Saban’s first two wins over Smart, the Bulldogs have lost 41-24 in each of their last two seasons with Bennett at the start of both games.

How will the rematch change things in 10 days? Georgia had plenty of time to see what went wrong in the SEC title game and Alabama will be without wide receiver John Metchie III after suffering a season-ending knee injury in that game on December 4. Alabama and Heisman winner Bryce Young hurt Georgia’s defense with a quick pass play in the conference title match. Metchie’s absence – and Georgia’s ability to adapt – could affect how Alabama prepares this time around.

Leave a Comment