Georgia shows off Bulldog mentality in beating Alabama for first title since 1980

Written by on January 11, 2022

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Telling an athlete to have a brief reminiscence, to overlook that godawful final play or that embarrassing final loss, is simple. Really doing it, now that is a unique story — particularly when there’s a nationwide championship on the road.

Until you are Stetson Bennett, that’s. 

Shaking off the fumble that might have doomed Georgia’s possibilities for its first nationwide title in 41 years, he uncorked a 40-yard TD move on the very subsequent drive.

“There was going to be no approach I used to be going to let a turnover like that cease us from profitable a nationwide championship,” stated Bennett, who was named the offensive participant of the sport. “I wasn’t going to let that occur. I wasn’t going to be the explanation we misplaced.”

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Bennett threw for one more landing for good measure on Georgia’s drive after that and, in a little bit of poetic irony, Kelee Ringo had a pick-six to complete off the 33-18 victory over Alabama on Monday night time.

It was Georgia’s first nationwide title since 1981, when Herschel Walker and the Bulldogs capped their undefeated season with a 17-10 victory over Notre Dame within the Sugar Bowl. 

Georgia was within the nationwide championship recreation 4 years in the past, solely to lose to Alabama in additional time. 

“That one was with me for a very long time,” stated Georgia coach Kirby Sensible, who had by no means earlier than crushed mentor Nick Saban. 

“This one might be with me for for much longer.”

And this recreation might be remembered for its frenzied and fabulous end. Fortunately, as a result of it was a dud for a lot of the primary three quarters. 

Faculty soccer’s showcase has gotten stale, with the identical few groups exhibiting up and the video games ending in blowouts the previous few years. This was speculated to be higher, a matchup of the 2 greatest groups from the very best convention.

For Bennett and the Bulldogs, it additionally supplied an opportunity for redemption. 

That they had been the nation’s prime workforce for a lot of the common season, edging Clemson within the season opener after which bulldozing their solution to the highest of the SEC East. However Alabama made them – and Bennett specifically – look lower than one-dimensional within the SEC title recreation final month. 

Bennett threw two interceptions in that recreation, one occurring within the pink zone and the opposite leading to a pick-six for the Crimson Tide. 

“Life’s powerful,” stated Bennett, who grew up dreaming of enjoying for Georgia. “Simply acquired to combat via it.”

His whole profession is a testomony to that. 

Neglected by nearly everybody out of highschool, Bennett walked on at Georgia and ran the scout squad. When he noticed that he was by no means going to be thought-about as a starter, he left, transferring to a junior faculty. 

A 12 months later, he was again, solely to be handed over time and time and time once more. He solely labored his approach into the beginning lineup this season as a result of JT Daniels was damage, and even then followers grumbled about him.

After the SEC championship, these grumbles become full-throated roars. 

However Bennett has an unshakeable perception in himself — “I feel I am the very best quarterback,” he stated Monday — and never even his fumble, which Alabama become a fast, go-ahead TD, might shake it.

“That was simply soccer,” Bennett stated. “I put my head down and stated, `That is not going to be how we lose this recreation.'”

Exhibiting that his confidence had not been damaged, he opened Georgia’s subsequent drive with an 18-yard completion. Three performs later, he discovered a streaking Adonai Mitchell for the 40-yard rating.

“I needed to. Needed to in any other case we have been going to lose,” Bennett stated. “They capitalized on (the fumble) and I believed, ‘I gotta repair this.'”

When Ringo picked off Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Younger, Bennett did not see him streak into the tip zone as a result of he was sobbing on the sideline. It is the primary time in years he can bear in mind shedding tears. 

“It simply hit me,” he stated.

There have been so many setbacks Bennett has needed to overcome, and errors he is needed to erase from his mind. Lastly there is a reminiscence he can hold onto, and it is one he and Georgia followers will savor eternally.

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