Georgia rallies to beat Ohio State in College Football Playoff semifinal
Jan. 1—ATLANTA — Georgia rallied from a 14-point deficit Saturday night to stun Ohio State and claim a spot in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
Stetson Bennett IV hit Adonai Mitchell with a 10-yard touchdown pass with 54 seconds left to tie the game, and Jack Podlesny's PAT kick gave the Bulldogs the lead 42-41.
Noah Ruggles had a chance to win it for the Buckeyes, but his 50-yard field goal was wide left with 3 seconds left.
Ohio State led 28-24 at halftime then forced a punt to start the third quarter and drove 70 yards to extend the lead to 11 points.
Stroud came out hot, completing all three of his passes, including a 10-yarder to Emeka Egbuka for a touchdown.
The Buckeyes added three more on a 25-yard field goal by Ruggles with 31 seconds left in the third to make it 38-24.
Meanwhile, the Ohio State defense that struggled in the first half forced a pair of punts and a missed field goal.
Prior to the field goal, Marvin Harrison Jr. nearly hauled in a touchdown pass but let the ball hit the ground after a hard hit from Javon Bullard. That sent Harrison to the injury tent but was not ruled targeting.
Georgia got three points back on a 31-yard field goal by Podlesny with 10:14 left in the game.
They made it a one-score game with a 76-yard bomb from Bennett to Arian Smith with 8:41 left. Ohio State safety Lathan Ransom fell down, leaving Smith wide open, and then Bennett hit Ladd McConkey for the two-point conversion to make it 38-35.
Ruggles extended Ohio State's lead back to six points with a 48-yard field goal with 2:43 to go.
FIRST HALF RECAP
Ohio State scored early and often to take a 28-24 lead over No. 1 Georgia into the locker room at halftime of the Peach Bowl.
Fourth-ranked Ohio State struck first on a 31-yard touchdown pass from C.J. Stroud to Marvin Harrison Jr., who shook a Georgia defender and found open space on a well-executed scramble drill as Stroud slid to his right to keep the play alive.
Georgia botched a scoring opportunity to start the game. After forcing an Ohio State punt, the Bulldogs drove to the Ohio State 26.
They looked poised to pick up a third-and-1, but Stetson Bennett IV kept the ball instead of handing off to Kenny McIntosh and was brought down for a three-yard loss as McIntosh ran through a big hole untouched but not having the ball.
On the next play, Jack Podlesny missed a 47-yard field goal.
The Bulldogs had a quick answer to Ohio State's score, though, going 75 yards in eight plays. McIntosh caught a short pass on the left then slashed up the middle for a 25-yard touchdown.
Ohio State responded with an 11-play, 75-yard drive Miyan Williams completed by pushing through multiple tacklers into the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown.
The Buckeyes got the ball right back when Georgia native Steele Chambers intercepted a Bennett pass and returned it to the Bulldogs 30.
Two plays later, Stroud sidestepped a rusher, scrambled forward a few steps then found Harrison in the end zone for a diving 16-yard touchdown pass.
That gave Ohio State a 21-7 lead with 10:56 to go in the second quarter.
Less than five minutes later, the game was tied as Georgia scored four- and three-play drives that covered 75 and 62 yards, respectively.
Bennett capped the second drive with a 3-yard quarterback sweep around left end with 6:02 to go in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs then took the lead on a 32-yard field goal by Podlesny with 1:44 left, but it didn't last long.
Stroud connected with Xavier Johnson on a deep ball down the middle for a 37-yard touchdown with :49 seconds left. Johnson lined up in the backfield and outran a linebacker to get open.
Stroud completed 15 of 19 passes for 238 yards in the first half while Harrison caught five passes for 106.
Bennett completed 12 of 19 passes for 191 yards, and McIntosh ran for 56 while Edwards added 48.