Revamped Georgia beat Michigan to advance to national title game

It was supposed to be Friday’s prizefight, a college football playoff semi-final bout that could actually stay close.

Then no. Georgia has visibly recovered from its Nightmare of the Southeastern Conference Championship Game against Alabama, appeared at the Orange Bowl and made almost everyone remember how No. 2 Michigan started the season unranked.

Or maybe the reason is that the Bulldogs, after a four-week break, made everyone remember why they were considered the best team in the country for most of the season. Through any lens, the result in Miami Gardens, Florida was evidence of a demolition, not just a showdown: 34-11, Georgia.

“They played damn well all round,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said, adding, “It wasn’t our best result, but it was definitely theirs.”

Now the Bulldogs, chasing their first national championship since the 1980 season, must once again face their not-so-distant enemy, Alabama. Championship will be decided The conditions of the coronavirus pandemic allow, in Jan. 10 in Indianapolis, where Alabama will fight for their second title in a row. The Crimson Tide, who have won six national championships under Coach Nick Saban since 2009 season beat No. 4 Cincinnati27-6 at the Cotton Bowl on Friday.

So, the Southeastern Conference will capture its fifth national title in the playoff era since the 2014 season. The last time the league enjoyed such regal confidence ahead of the championship game was in the 2017 season, when Alabama ultimately edged Georgia in an exciting overtime duel.

With time? Against Georgia? A new idea for Michigan, who didn’t reach the end zone until there were less than five minutes left in Friday’s rout. (Perhaps this is too harsh: after all, Georgia’s Derion Kendrick was in the end zone when he intercepted Cade McNamara’s pass early in the third quarter.)

The Bulldogs, however, almost made a poolside gazebo there – it was 77 degrees in the beginning – and the offensive burst, marked 518 yards, 328 of which in the air, was a remarkable achievement. It was a rebuke to weeks of grumbling and doubts about Stetson Bennett’s status as Georgia’s starting quarterback.

“It’s amazing when a guy his age blocks out all the noise and just focuses more,” said Kirby Smart, a Georgia coach. “Almost every time he hears noise, he just focuses more on the game plan and what he needs to do to execute it.”

Bennett, who said he focused on the game not to respond to critics but because his team needed it, completed 21 of 31 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns.

The onslaught began shortly after Michigan, who ended the night with 325 yards and three losses, won the toss.

The Wolverines went to Georgia, and the Bulldogs started their first possession with their 20 points. The first play, a 9-yard Zameer White shot, looked promising enough. Bennett then started throwing.

Adonai Mitchell caught a 16-yard pass. Brock Bowers hit 35 and then another 7. A pair of white shots pushed Georgia to the first goal.

Bennett, starting the game just over four minutes later, quickly threw the ball to Bowers, who scored Georgia’s first touchdown. No Wolverine touched him.

In Georgia’s second run, Bennett completed three passes before successfully passing to Kenny McIntosh, a junior quarterback. McIntosh ran for a bit, mostly towards the sideline, before he raised his right hand and made a pass towards the end zone. Mitchell caught an 18-yard throw for a corn-painted Michigan block “A” in the end zone.

This gave Georgia a 14-point lead in the first quarter. It became clearer in the second quarter that the magic that Michigan could have been doing all season was missing.

McNamara, a junior with 2,470 passing yards to his name who advanced to Friday’s semi-final, connected with Roman Wilson for 42 yards and pushed Michigan to 19 yards from Georgia.

Nineteen yards, of course, offered 19 yards of potential guy lines to account for. But Michigan may not have counted on Nakobee Dean, the nation’s finest linebacker behind the line of scrimmage. After all, Dean came to Florida with 6.5 sacks in his entire three-season career—that’s not even half of Aidan Hutchinson’s score this season in Michigan.

But Dean pulled ahead and shot The Michigan offensive line that so blinded John Madden a little over a month ago when The Wolverines took apart the state of Ohio. McNamara fell to the ground, 8 yards down. The Wolverines, who did not record their own sack on Friday, soon agreed to a field goal.

Michigan later replaced McNamara as the third quarter drew to a close and brought in JJ McCarthy, a freshman who had only 42 assists that season.

Georgia, however, had already added a couple of field goals and then a 57-yard shot to Jermaine Burton with another touchdown. In the fourth quarter, Bennett crashed to the turf after being hit by the blue-shirted Wolverine, but only after the quarterback threw another touchdown, this time for 39 yards to James Cook, the younger brother of the Minnesota Vikings star, running back. Dalvin Cook.

It was only in November. 27 that Michigan crushed Ohio State, beating the Buckeyes for the first time in a decade. Next Week Wolverines crushed Iowa win the Big Ten championship and secure first place in the playoffs of their program. It was a team that thought they could fight, thanks to players like Hutchinson, who finished second in the Heisman Trophy, and Hassan Haskins, the running record holder.

However, on Friday night in Michigan, there were more errors than meaningful responses. And Georgia blocked what it craved: another chance in Alabama, this time with the fate of the entire season in the balance.

But Smart turned down the Gatorade soaked at the end of the Orange Bowl. Much like Saban, his boss during nine seasons in Alabama, Smart said, “I wanted to take a real shower, not a Gatorade bath, because I want to focus on Alabama.”

According to him, Saban’s team finished the game a few hours early and had a head start.