Georgia beats Alabama to win first national title in 41 years
At long last, Dawg Nation's 41-year wait is over.
Driving the news: Georgia finally slayed the dragon Monday night in Indianapolis, beating an Alabama team it had lost to seven straight times to win its first national championship since 1981.
Quick recap: What began as a slugfest (9-6 Alabama at halftime) turned into a shootout, with both teams trading scores in the fourth quarter.
- Final: Georgia 33, Alabama 18
- Attendance: 68,311 (plus surrounding bars)
- Key injury: Alabama star WR Jameson Williams exited early in the second quarter with a leg injury (likely ACL).
- MVPs: Georgia QB Stetson Bennett (17/26, 224 yds, 2 TD) won offensive MVP. Safety Lewis Cine (seven tackles) won defensive MVP.
- Highlight: Kelee Ringo intercepted Bryce Young with 54 seconds left and returned it 79 yards, the longest pick-six in championship game history.
What they're saying:
- Kirby Smart: "There's gonna be some property torn up in Indianapolis tonight, baby!" (A nod to longtime Bulldogs announcer Larry Munson.)
- Bennett: "I hadn't cried in, I don't know, years," said the former walk-on, who got emotional on the sideline. He'll never buy a drink again in his home state of Georgia.
- Nick Saban: "If we had to lose a national championship, I'd rather lose to one of the former assistants who did a great job for us and has done a great job with his program. They deserve it."
- Young: "We didn't execute, and at the end of the day, that's on me," said the Heisman winner. "I love my guys. I wish I could have been better for them tonight."
By the numbers: The SEC has won 12 of the last 16 national championships, including the last three (LSU, Alabama, Georgia).
- Georgia is the second team in the AP Poll Era (since 1936) to win 13 games by 15+ points, joining 2018 Clemson.
- Alabama has been an underdog just three times in its last 96 games. All three were against Georgia, and this was the first time they lost.
Wild stat: This was the fifth time opponents have met twice in the same season as AP top-5 teams. The loser of the first game has now won every rematch.
- 1959-60: No. 1 LSU def. No. 3 Ole Miss, 7-3, on Oct. 31 ... No. 2 Ole Miss def. No. 3 LSU, 21-0, in the Sugar Bowl.
- 1996-97: No. 2 FSU def. No. 1 Florida, 24-21, on Nov. 30 ... No. 3 Florida def. No. 1 FSU, 52-20, in the Sugar Bowl.
- 2010-11: No. 1 LSU def. No. 2 Alabama, 9-6 (OT), on Nov. 5 ... No. 2 Alabama def. No. 1 LSU, 21-0, in the BCS title game.
- 2020-21: No. 4 Notre Dame def. No. 1 Clemson, 47-40 (2OT), on Nov. 7 ... No. 3 Clemson def. No. 2 Notre Dame, 34-10, in the ACC title game.
- 2021-22: No. 3 Alabama def. No. 1 Georgia, 41-24, on Dec. 4 ... No. 3 Georgia def. No. 1 Alabama, 33-18, in the CFP title game.
The last word: "College football has been chasing the Crimson Tide for more than a decade," writes The Ringer's Kevin Clark. "The Bulldogs caught up."
- Read: For Georgia fans, a title worth the wait (ESPN)
- 🎥 Watch: NSFW: Georgia fan going nuts (Twitter)
Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new details throughout.