The Dawgs topped the Buckeyes 42-41 on Saturday night in the Peach Bowl.
ATLANTA — The Georgia Bulldogs did not turn into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight, as Ohio State missed a chance to win the Peach Bowl Saturday night literally as the Peach dropped in Atlanta to ring in 2023.
A field goal attempt with 8 seconds to go was shanked left, and the Dawgs’ dreams of a repeat national championship stayed alive.
The final score was 42-41, with Georgia going ahead with just under a minute to go on a touchdown drive capped by a 10-yard pass from Stetson Bennett to Adonai Mitchell.
It was a “remarkable, sensational” game as ESPN’s Reece Davis put it during the trophy presentation to Georgia coach Kirby Smart (who is now $250,000 richer thanks to the win.)
The Bulldogs had to mount two significant comebacks – the first, coming back early from 21-7. They took a 24-21 lead in the second quarter only for Ohio State to rally back ahead. The Buckeyes were decidedly better after halftime as well, going into the fourth with a 38-24 lead.
The Dawgs scratched back three points on a disjointed red zone drive to make it 38-27, before getting the ball back and then really finding life about two minutes later. On the first play of their drive, Stetson Bennett went long to a wide, wide open Arian Smith for a 76 yard touchdown to make it 38-35.
Ohio State would drive themselves, having to settle for a field goal when a touchdown probably would have put the game away.
That opened the door for Bennett to again drive his team to victory – finding Mitchell for the score that put the Dawgs ahead 42-41.
The Buckeyes were with plenty of time, though. They drove to about the UGA 30 in roughly 30 seconds. But from there, their attempts to go any farther ran into a Dawgs pass rush that found its way to Buckeyes QB C.J. Stroud at exactly the time they needed – forcing OSU into their fateful 50-yard attempt.
Noah Ruggles wasn’t even close – shanking the attempt way wide left.
As the ball sailed wide, the peach dropped to signal in midnight a few steps away in Downtown Atlanta – an incredible confluence to cap an incredible game.
Tale of the tape
Stroud was remarkable for OSU – 23/34 for 348 yards and four touchdowns, surely boosting his draft stock in the process.
But Bennett responded – at times seeming a bit frazzled, he nailed his plays when he needed to in a 23/34 performance with 398 yards, three TDs and one interception.
Kenny McIntosh and Daijun Edwards combined for 128 yards rushing for the Dawgs, while Ohio State combined for 119 and never really truly got going on the ground.
Bennett spread the love to his receivers – Smith, Brock Bowers, McIntosh and Mitchell all had at least three receptions, with another six players recording at least one.