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University of Georgia defensive lineman Jordan Davis (99) smiles with the national championship trophy. The University of Georgia football team beat Alabama 33-18 in the College Football National Championship on Jan. 10, 2022, in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo/ Kathryn Skeean, kskeean@randb.com)

Georgia football defeated Alabama 33-18 to win the National Championship for the first time since the 1980 season. Here are some observations from The Red & Black:

The wait is over

For the first time in over 40 years, the Georgia Bulldogs are atop college football after defeating Alabama 33-18 in the National Championship. The win breaks the Crimson Tide’s seven-game winning streak against the Bulldogs, and ends a national title drought decades in the making.

Georgia has come close to winning it all before, but came up just short to Alabama. Whether it was second-and-26 in the 2018 National Championship, or four yards short in the 2012 SEC Championship game.

Now, all those moments of coming up so short are over, they don’t matter. Georgia finally broke through to win the big one. Behind the arm of a walk-on quarterback, and one of the best defenses in college football, the Bulldogs are national champions.

The 2021 team now joins an elite class of Georgia teams as one of three teams to win a national championship. Now, the teams of 1942 and 1980 are joined by the newest national champions led by head coach Kirby Smart, who after playing at Georgia from 1995-1998, won a national title with his alma mater.

A new breed of Bulldogs

Georgia fans that were born after 1980 have never experienced the Bulldogs winning a national championship. Instead, they watched highlights from the season's past, and hoped that one day they would see Georgia on top.

Now, those fans can put away the old highlights and remember the moment when time ran out and Georgia was finally the champions of college football.

The Bulldogs earned the title behind the performance of multiple players including quarterback Stetson Bennett, running back Zamir White and defensive backs Christopher Smith and Kelee Ringo. All four made decisive plays and will live on in college football history.

Bennett threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns and zero interceptions. On the ground, White ran for 84 yards and one touchdown. Smith’s interception in the third quarter was Georgia’s first forced turnover of the game.

With Alabama driving to tie the game, Ringo intercepted Bryce Young and returned it 79 yards for a touchdown to seal the title and make it 33-18 with under a minute left.

Now, players on this season’s team join an exclusive group of Bulldogs from years past as national champions.

Historic block

With Alabama’s offense driving, and threatening to score the first touchdown of the game, the Bulldogs’ special teams broke through to keep Georgia within striking distance.

On fourth-and-11, Alabama kicker Will Reichard attempted a 48-yard field goal to extend Alabama’s lead to 12-6. Instead, Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter blocked the attempt to keep the Bulldogs down three.

That play sparked the first touchdown in the game for either team. The next play, running back James Cook earned a 66-yard run to take the ball to Alabama’s 13-yard line. Zamir White ran in a one-yard touchdown run to take a 13-9 lead before ending the game on top.

After the blocked field goal, Georgia outscored Alabama 27-9 leading to the Bulldogs’s victory.

Blocked kicks have become a theme for Georgia in the postseason. Last time Georgia was in the CFP, the Bulldogs defeated Oklahoma after a Sooners’ kick was blocked in overtime. Now, a blocked kick helped lead Georgia to a national title.

Drew Hubbard is the sports editor of The Red & Black. He is a senior at the University of Georgia majoring in journalism, minoring in sport management and pursuing the university's Sports Media Certificate.

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