It’s official: The honor of being named college football‘s national champions will be determined in a rematch. After Alabama blew out Cincinnati earlier on New Year’s Eve in the Cotton Bowl to earn a spot in the College Football Playoff title game, Georgia put on a show in the evening at the Orange Bowl, blowing out the Big Ten champion Michigan Wolverines to put themselves in position to get a measure of revenge for their SEC championship game loss to the Crimson Tide earlier this year.
From the jump, Georgia made clear it was not particularly interested in letting this game be close. The Bulldogs overwhelmed a good Michigan defense with its physicality and speed on offense, while the Wolverine offense struggled to get off the ground against the nastiest defense in all of college football. By the time the clock hit zero, the Bulldogs walked off the field with a 34-11 win.
There just wasn’t all that much Michigan could do on the evening — Georgia outgained them, 518-321, with Bulldogs starting signal caller Stetson Bennett putting on a show. A former walk-on and lifelong Georgia fan, Bennett went 20-for-30 with 310 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions.
Bennett wasn’t the only one getting things done through the air, as the Bulldogs’ second score of the evening came via some trickery. Kenny McIntosh, one of the handful of options Georgia has in its running back room, took a handoff from Bennett and looked like he was going to try and run a standard outside zone. Instead, McIntosh let it fly, throwing a dime to Adonai Mitchell for six.
Georgia boasts the best defense in America, and unfortunately for Michigan, that lesson had to be learned the hard way. The rushing attack that ground Ohio State to dust and ran wild on Iowa in the Big Ten title game couldn’t get going against the Bulldogs’ front seven, with standout running back Hassan Haskins toting the rock nine times for 39 yards and his co-pilots, Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards, combining to run the ball seven times for 22 yards. They couldn’t get into a rhythm through the air, either, as Cade McNamara and his backup-turned-replacement once the game got out of hand, JJ McCarthy, combined to go 18-for-36 with 237 yards and a pair of picks.
Their only touchdown came late in the game, when McCarthy threw a strike to fellow freshman Andrel Anthony to get the Wolverines into double digits on the day.
Now, the Bulldogs and the Crimson Tide will get some time to recharge before heading to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Jan. 10 with a national championship on the line. The game is a rematch of their SEC title game showdown, when Georgia, then undefeated and the top-ranked team in the nation, got blown out by Alabama, 41-24.