Georgia defense redeemed against Alabama in national title game – San Bernardino Sun
By CHARLES ODUM
Georgia won the long-awaited national championship the way they dominated an undefeated season – by leaning on their defence.
The Bulldogs only allowed 30 yards to beat Alabama, 33-18, on Monday night in Indianapolis. Georgia (14-1) won its first national championship since the 1980 season.
“I hope it doesn’t take that long,” said Georgia coach Kirby Smart.
The dramatic touchdown came after a 79-yard intercept by Kelee Ringo with less than a minute of play remaining.
Defender Stetson Bennett credited the defense for the championship.
“First of all, it was the defense that kept us in this game while we staggered ourselves in the first half,” said Bennett. “They won this game for us.”
It was a redemption for a unit that didn’t allow more than 17 points in a game before being knocked out in a 41-24 loss to Alabama in the Dec. 4 SEC championship game in Atlanta.
“We talked about putting it on our shoulders and it was on us,” said lineman Nakobe Dean. “We know when we’re in the lead if they don’t score any more they won’t win.”
The defense regained its flurry of form in the 34-11 semi-final victory over Michigan. Winning the rematch against Alabama (13-2) was the highest achievement for Smart and his defense.
The Bulldogs entered the championship game with a national best 9.6 per game.
“I think our defense is definitely going to be in the history books because of what we’ve been doing all year,” said Lewis Cine, who has been named the game’s defensive player. “Credit to the coaches. Credits to the players. We definitely made history books.”
Cine had seven tackles, including one he lost.
Drawn mercilessly in the loss to Alabama in Atlanta, Georgia’s defense appeared to be broken in the fourth round of the game.
Defensive save Jordan Davis touches Alabama defender Bryce Young for clear dismissal. Young lost control of the ball, and defender Nakobe Dean picked it up and ran for what officials called a touchdown.
Upon reconsideration, the play was deemed an incomplete pass. Officials ruled Young’s arm was pointing forward when he was thrown to the ground. The Crimson Tide’s race continued and ended with a throw-in.
Outfielder Channing Tindall gifted Georgia with Young’s long-awaited first bag, having lost 13 yards, in the second half as the Crimson Tide once again settled for Will Reichard’s goal.
Tindall and Quay Walker each had eight tackles.
Georgia took a 19-18 lead after Bennett’s 40-yard touchdown pass to Adonai Mitchell. The defense then stopped Alabama without a chance to attack first. A Crimson Tide hit set up Bennett’s 15-yard touchdown pass to close the Brock Bowers to extend the lead to eight points.
Defense dominates the rest of the game.
“We took the challenge,” said Dean. “We know every time they get to the red zone, we’ll bow our heads and do what we need to do.”
INTELLIGENT KEEPS IT SIMPLE
After struggling to stop Alabama in the SEC title game, Smart took a different approach. He wants his secondary to play more broadly with the man and commits to rotating defensive midfielders so they can put pressure on Young.
The plan worked perfectly.
“We felt if we could leave the field in the third minute, we would be fresher,” said Smart. “We’re really focused on person-to-person play and doing it better than they did, and these guys really bought it into it.”
Smart’s plan is to simplify the averages. He wanted his second to challenge a short-sleeved Alabama legion that took another big hit in the first half as Jameson Williams walked away with what appeared to be a left knee injury.
The Bulldogs responded by keeping Alabama out of the end zone for most of the game, and they also won big when the game was in the balance.
It was all by design after hearing from critics that the Bulldogs weren’t well qualified to trade off Alabama’s fast attack.
This time, however, they only endured the blows long enough until the offense became synchronous.
https://www.sbsun.com/2022/01/11/georgia-defense-redeems-itself-against-alabama-in-national-title-game/ Georgia defense redeemed against Alabama in national title game – San Bernardino Sun