Dawgs Punch Ticket to LA with Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Win Over Ohio State

ATLANTA – In a true game of attrition, Georgia battled back to take their lone lead with less than a minute left. It was enough to punch their ticket to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in Los Angeles with a 42-41 win over Ohio State in the 55th Annual Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

Here’s how it all went down at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday night.

Georgia won the toss and deferred to the second half, giving the Buckeyes first crack at it. They would start their drive at the 25-yard line, and quarterback C.J. Stroud connected immediately with Marvin Harrison Jr. for an 11-yard gain.

However, after that, it was an incompletion from Stroud and a 10-yard sack on 3rd down. This forced their first drive to end in a punt.

The Bulldogs’ first drive started at their own 26-yard line. Stetson Bennett opened things up with three straight completions, including a 22-yard connection with Adoni Mitchell to set UGA up at the OSU 35-yard line.

However, this is where things would stall out. After a sack by Denzel Burke, the Dawgs would have to settle for a 47-yard field goal from Jack Podlezny. It would sail just left, and the Buckeyes took over at the 29.

Stroud would make quick work of the Georgia defense on this drive, going three for three, including hitting Marvin Harrison Jr. in the back right side of the endzone for a 31-yard TD connection. This made it 7-0 Ohio State with 8:16 left in the first quarter.

Bennett would get the offense rolling again for UGA, this time with more success. On a second and 17 from OSU 25, Bennett tossed it out to Kenny McIntosh, who worked his way through the defense, splitting his way into the endzone for the game-tying score with 3:15 left in the 1st quarter.

Ohio State’s ensuing possession would bleed into the second quarter as Stroud methodically led them downfield. On 3rd and 6 from the 12, an incomplete pass from Stroud would be redeemed after a pass interference call set them up at the 2-yard line with a 1st and goal. Two plays later, Miyan Williams would take it in for the score to cap off the 11-play 75-yard drive as the Buckeyes took a 14-7 lead.

Our first turnover of the game would soon follow as Steele Chambers picked off Bennett on the first play of their drive.

Setup 1st and ten at the UGA 30-yard line, OSU wasted no time capitalizing on the turnover. On the 3rd play of the drive, Stroud found Harrison Jr. in the back right of the endzone for a 16-yard touchdown connection to make it 21-7 Buckeyes.

On Georgia’s ensuing possession, they would get the ground game cranking. Daijun Edwards started the party with the drive’s first play, breaking off a 21-yard scamper. Then it was Kendall Milton three plays later, willing his way into the endzone from 11 yards out to cut the deficit to one score.

With momentum in full swing, the Dawgs’ defense started feeling it. They would force a quick three-and-out, helped by a nine-yard sack on 3rd down by Mykel Williams.

The momentum would continue to roll with the Dawgs. Starting at their 35-yard line, running back Kenny McIntosh found space to the left side and broke free for 52 yards, with the only thing stopping him being the turf, as he tripped at the 26-yard line. Two plays later, Bennett showed off his legs with an 11-yard TD scamper to tie this one up at 21 with 6:07 left to play.

Ohio State wouldn’t be able to answer with another three-and-out. This time it came after picking up a 4th down conversion only to be called back for an illegal shift on the offense.

Following yet another three-and-out from Ohio State, the Dawgs were able to put through the game’s first field goal. It came off the leg of Podlezny from 32 yards out and made it 24-21 Georgia with 1:44 left to play.

Though the 1st half excitement wasn’t over just yet, as Stroud led the Buckeyes on a lightning strick of a drive. He went four-for-four on the four-play, 75-yard drive, connecting with Xavier Johnson, who hit the spin stick at the ten-yard line to split two defenders before making his way into the endzone. Ohio State was back on top 28-24 with just 49 seconds left in the half.

This is where things would hold as the teams went into their respective locker rooms.

Georgia opened the second half with possession and were swiftly shown the sidelines with a three-and-out. Ohio State, however, was a different story.

Stroud started the drive with a 25-yard connection with Julian Fleming. Stroud would cap the drive five plays later with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Emeka Egbuka. This capped a six-play 70-yard drive and made it 35-24 Buckeyes with 10:37 left to play in the 3rd.

After ensuing failed drive’s from both teams, UGA set up for a 52-yard field goal on 4th and 12. Podlesny’s kick would miss short and wide right, giving the Buckeyes possession at their own 34 with 3:50 left in the 3rd.

It was back to the office for Stroud and the Buckeyes as they methodically marched downfield. They would get into the red zone, and things would fizzle out. They had to settle for a 25-yard Noah Ruggles field goal, which made it a 38-24 lead for Ohio State.

The Bulldogs were able to finally get on the board in the second half on their 4th drive of the quarter. It came off the foot of Podlesny and capped a 12-play 62-yard drive that ate 5:17 off the clock to make it 38-27 Buckeyes with 10:14 left to play.

Following a three-and-out from Ohio State, Bennett found a streaking Amari Smith on the left sideline, alone as his defender had fallen. He caught Smith in stride just past midfield, and Smith took it the rest of the way for a 76-yard touchdown to make it 38-33 Ohio State. Georgia would go for two and convert to cut the deficit to three with 8:41 left to play.

Then it was the Buckeyes’ turn to throw their punch again, with Stroud leading the charge. They would get into field goal position, where Noah Ruggles would drill one from 48 yards out to push their lead to six with only 2:43 left to play.

The defending champs had what seemed like one last chance to defend their title.

Starting from their own 28, Bennett and the Dawgs got to work. First, he connected with Kenny McIntosh on a quick two-yard gain. Then he hit Bowers up the middle for a 15-yard gain and a first down at the 45.

Following an offsides penalty against OSU, Bennett hit Keris Jackson for a 35-yard gainer, setting them up at the Buckeyes’ 15-yard line. He then went back to McIntosh for five yards to set up a second and five at the 10-yard line.

That’s when Bennett hit Adonai Mitchell for the touchdown to tie things up at 41. Podlesny knocked through the PAT to give Georgia their first lead of the game at 42-41 with only 54 seconds left to play.

Ohio State would start their final possession at their 25-yard line. Stroud scrambled for five yards on first down and then connected with Fleming on 2nd down for a 2 yard gain pushing to the 42-yard line.

Stroud then broke free for a 27-yard gain after all his receivers were covered to put them at UGA 31 with 24 seconds left. A rush on 1st down from Dallan Hayden took them back a yard. Back-to-back incomplete passes from Stroud followed, forcing the Buckeyes to settle for a 50-yard field goal with eight seconds left.

The kick was a wobbler and sailed well wide left, sealing Ohio State’s fate, and sending Georgia to the National Championship.

Written by Adrian Beecher

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