The Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs meet Monday in this season’s national championship.
Follow along as the Yahoo Sports college football squad breaks down all the action.
Georgia wins first national championship since 1980
Georgia did it.
The Georgia Bulldogs are the national champions of college football for the first time since 1980. They did it with a former walk-on at quarterback and one of the best defenses in recent memory.
In a 33-18 win over Alabama, the Georgia defense consistently held the Crimson Tide for field goals and pressured Heisman winner Bryce Young. Ultimately, UGA sealed the deal by intercepting Young. It was Kelee Ringo who returned 79 yards for the game-sealing touchdown.
There was also Stetson Bennett, the oft-doubted quarterback who put the game on the line to give his team the lead. He turned it around deep in his own territory to set up Alabama’s go-ahead touchdown. On the next two drives, Bennett made the pitches that mattered.
His stunning 40-yard touchdown pass to Adonai Mitchell gave UGA a 19-18 lead with 8:09 to go. And then he tied with freshman tight end Brock Bowers for a 15-yard touchdown with 3:33 to play, leaving the Bulldogs 26-18.
And when Ringo sealed the win with the interception, the lifelong Georgia fan couldn’t control his emotions.
Georgia seals national title with epic pick-six
With the ball in the hands of Bryce Young, the winner of the Heisman Trophy, Alabama had another chance.
Young completed a few strides to get the Tide into Georgia territory, but the comeback attempt ended abruptly. Young threw one into cover and Kelee Ringo took it.
Kirby Smart yelled for Ringo to lie down, but Ringo had other ideas. He sprinted 79 yards for a touchdown in Georgia, extending the lead to 33-18 and sealing Georgia’s first national championship since 1980.
Georgia adds to lead with another TD
After the go-ahead touchdown, the Georgia defense quickly forced a three-and-out and put the ball back in the hands of the offense with 7:10 left.
Would the offense go into clock kill mode? Or would Georgia remain aggressive? The answer was both.
Georgia’s run game was picking up significant chunks with every transfer. Time was running out and Georgia wanted to extend the lead. In the end, UGA faced a third-and-1 from the Alabama 15-yard line.
Then Todd called Monken the perfect RPO game. Stetson Bennett pulled the transfer and found Brock Bowers wide open. He took the first down yardage and ran in for a touchdown.
Instead of trying to get a two-point conversion to potentially move up nine points, Kirby Smart kicked the extra point to give his team a 26-18 lead with 3:33 left to play.
Can Georgia last?
Stetson Bennett, Georgia Violation Respond
After Alabama took the lead, the Georgia attack had to respond. It emphatically did.
Stetson Bennett came into the drive and had 141 yards on 22 attempts. On this drive, he racked up 68 passing yards on just three pitches, including a stunning 40-yard touchdown to Adonai Mitchell to give the Bulldogs the lead.
The subsequent two-point conversion attempt failed, but Georgia was back in front, 19-18, with 8:09 to play.
What a game this has been.
Controversial Call Helps Alabama Lead the Way
Georgia had avoided taking over on offense all night – until the fourth quarter. Both Will Anderson and Christian Harris came screaming from the edge and it was Harris who got a hit on Stetson Bennett.
At first it looked like Bennett had gotten rid of the ball due to an incomplete pass. But it was ruled by the officials as a fumble and recovery in Alabama just off the sidelines on the field.
After a review, both Alabama’s fumble and recovery were controversially confirmed, leading the Tide offense to get the ball into the red zone. This time, Bryce Young and the company cashed in.
On a third-and-goal game, he found Cameron Latu for a go-ahead three-yard touchdown. The score gave Alabama an 18-13 lead with 10:14 to play.
Will the Georgia Offensive Respond?
Georgia defense holds back in red zone
It wasn’t long before Alabama’s attack was back on Georgia territory, but the Bulldogs left the field when it mattered most.
Alabama had a first-and-goal from the Georgia 5-yard line, but had to settle for another field goal. This time, a perfectly timed blitz ruined what could have been a Bryce Young touchdown pass.
Nick Saban then opted to narrow Georgia’s lead to 13-12 with 12:59 to play instead of trying to get the leading touchdown from fourth behind.
Georgia is finally in the end zone
After the blocked staircase, Georgia decided to go back to the ground attack. It paid off as James Cook burst through the line for a 67-yard gain.
Cook raced all the way to the Alabama 13. Three games later, Cook’s backfield mate Zamir White scored the first touchdown of the game from afar to give Georgia a 13-9 lead with 1:20 remaining in the third quarter.
We are in for a blood-curdling fourth quarter.
Blocked FG ruins long drive in Alabama
Georgia pinned Alabama all the way to its own 2-yard line. Without Williams at the receiver, Alabama Offensive Coordinator Bill O’Brien and dwindling Brian Robinson involved – both as a runner and receiver from the backfield.
With Robinson leading the way, Alabama methodically moved into Georgia territory, but ended up facing a third and eleven of the UGA 30. That was when Young handed a dime to freshman Agiye Hall. The ball hit Hall right into the hands for what would have been a first down, but he dropped it.
That incompletion resulted in a 48-yard field goal, a kick that was blocked by Georgia’s Jalen Carter to keep the score at 9-6.
Georgia makes it to INT, but can’t take advantage
The game’s first sales came early in the third quarter, but Georgia’s attack failed to cash in on points.
On Alabama’s second game of scrimmage in the second half, Bryce Young was knocked out by Christopher Smith when he knocked over Jahleel Billingsley from the right.
That INT gave Georgia the ball at the Alabama 43, but the Bulldogs couldn’t take advantage of that. The Alabama defense, with Will Anderson making his presence felt, quickly forced a three-and-out and Georgia coach Kirby Smart decided to kick on the fourth and 7th of 40 rather than keep his charge on the field .
Alabama takes a 9-6 lead at halftime
Georgia was able to tackle a field goal with 3:09 to go in the first half, reducing Alabama’s lead to 9-6.
From there, both coaching staff went conservative. Alabama chose to kick on the fourth and 8 of the Georgia 41 and then Georgia ran up the clock instead of trying to be aggressive in the last 1:33 of the first half.
Alabama defeated Georgia 216 yards to 153 in the first half. Nearly all of those yards came through the air — 206 for Alabama and 127 for Georgia.
Both defenses came in big in third place. Alabama converted on just three of his nine third-down attempts. Georgia went 3-for-8.
Alabama hits big, Georgia defense gets pocket money
Bend, but do not break.
On the next offensive possession, Alabama hit another big play. This time, Bryce Young punched Cameron Latu’s tight end into the pass for a 61-meter catch-and-run.
That game put Alabama on the UGA 8-yard line, but Channing Tindall made a great play chasing Young for a sack to force another field goal. That short field goal gave Alabama a 9-3 lead.
Alabama WR Jameson Williams injures knee
Alabama regained the lead early in the second quarter, but it came at a cost.
In Alabama’s first game following the UGA field goal, Bryce Young hit Jameson Williams for a big game. Williams got a free release from the line and was wide open for a 40-yard gain.
Williams tried to make a cut and his knee collapsed. He immediately made his way to the turf and had to be helped to the sidelines. Shortly after, he went into the injury tent and later back to the locker room.
The drive culminated in a 45-yard field goal to give Alabama a 6-3 lead, but most of the stadium attention was focused on Williams’ standings. Alabama already misses John Metchie, who along with Williams formed one of the best receiving duos in the country.
Now Alabama could be tasked with winning the national title with both on the sidelines.
Bennett to Picken’s deep ball ignites Georgia attack
Georgia gained a total of one yard on his first two possessions, while quarterback Stetson Bennett looked very shaky in the face of the Alabama pass rush.
And on Georgia’s third possession, the attack was supported on its own 8-yard line to start. The Bulldogs got some space when Bennett found Darnell Washington for their first down of the game. A few plays later, Bennett finally had a clean sack. He released one and found George Pickens behind the defense for a 52-yard gain.
Pickens, expected to be UGA’s No. 1 receiver, missed most of the season with a knee injury. He showed why with this play, fully extending to bring in a beautiful ball from Bennett.
A few plays after the Bennett-to-Pickens connection, Georgia was set to have a first-and-go goal, but eventually had to settle for a 24-yard field goal. That tied the score at 3-3 with 12:35 left in the top half.
Georgia defensive TD recalls, Alabama takes 3-0 lead
In the SEC title game, Georgia struggled to pressure Bryce Young. Early Monday night, the Bulldogs got a hit on Heisman Trophy winner Young and appeared to have opened the game for the national title with a defensive touchdown.
Jordan Davis shot through the Alabama front and knocked the ball free from Young. Nakobe Dean then scooped up the loose ball and rolled in for a touchdown.
However, after an assessment, it was determined that Young’s arm was going forward. It was judged to be an incomplete pass and the ball went back to the Alabama offense.
From there, Alabama marched off the field and opened the scoring with a field goal from Will Reichard at 37 yards. The drive went on for 14 plays and 56 yards to give Alabama an early 3-0 lead.
Can Georgia Finally Break The National Championship Drought?
It’s finally game day!
The College Football Playoff National Championship is here and it features a rematch of the SEC title game. Georgia was undefeated at the time and was the number 1 in the country at the time, but was upset by Alabama 41-27. Over a month later, Georgia gets its chance for revenge on the biggest stage.
Alabama, which defeated Cincinnati 27-6 in the semifinals, is on the hunt for its seventh national championship in the past 13 seasons, all under Nick Saban. Georgia, on the heels of a 34-11 blowout over Michigan, is chasing its first national title since 1980.
Georgia has lost seven in a row to Alabama, including four during the tenure of Kirby Smart, who was a longtime assistant to Saban before becoming UGA’s head coach. The Bulldogs have led all four Saban-Smart clashes, but the Tide has always come out on top.
Can the Bulldogs Reverse That Fortune Monday Night in Indianapolis? We are all curious to find out.