Georgia ends a four-decade wait by delivering championship momentum in the College Soccer League final

INDIANAPOLIS – They gathered in an imaginary line drawn 62 yards from goal, and the obstacles they faced in that moment were far more numerous and majestic than the 11 defenders allotted to Alabama Crimson Tide. This is the moment the Georgia Bulldogs have been looking for all year, which their 40-season predecessors have rarely approached. There’s a literal national championship in sight.

Georgia leads with a single point in the College Football Playoff final. It’s nice to be ahead, but it’s certainly not safe to assume it will continue to do so, especially with a team whose last championship came in 1980.

“I think we have six minutes left, so the goal is to score a goal,” Bulldogs defender Stetson Bennett told Sporting News. “Because in our mind they will go down and score. We are prepared for that. We don’t think one point is enough.

“But it also bleeds the clock while we’re doing it. I mean, you’ve seen. Our line of attack, we crushed them there on that driveway. We played Georgian football. Run back and forth. I don’t think we won’t be stopped on that path. It feels great to just serve and watch those guys lead us down the field. ”

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Dawgs needs seven plays to cover the distance to the final zone. Five of them are running tracks, including the first four, 32 yards long. They earned 15 more penalties when Bennett made a deep right pass and Alabama’s Kool-Aid McKinstry handled receiver George Pickens instead of allowing him the inevitable touchdown. If this were football, McKinstry would have received a red card for denying an obvious scoring opportunity.

The encounter that made the CFP championship a reality was scored by someone who understood little of UGa’s endemic frustration and hadn’t experienced it himself. Freshman Brock Bowers’ tight finish was on the winning side in 14 of his 15 college games and was spotted in a quick left slide, then left unaffected on the run sprint to the end zone because Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint’s block was wider that sent McKinstry over seven meters of the script.

beautiful pictures

The Bulldogs took a 6 pick from freshman Nickle back to Kelee Ringo for a final score of 33-18 and ensured there would be no Alabama miracles in this game, a 79-yard comeback that coached Coach Kirby Smart has spent a lot of time trying. to cancel. He chased Ringo on the sidelines and yelled at him to come down for fear he would be stripped from behind by a Tide defender. It was one of the few elements of a technically Smart strategy, but Ringo wisely didn’t listen and ended the attack.

“It was a false play there. I see the receiver approaching behind him and, I think pessimistically or whatever, I worry about him taking the ball from behind,” Smart said. “Then I realized 11 wouldn’t catch Kelee. And once I realized… I don’t want to receive a call on hold. All I can think about is down, down, we can win this game, run out of time.

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“They had three timeouts, so a two-point increase was the right move.”

Since Herschel Walker and quarterback Buck Belue and head coach Vince Dooley led the Dawgs to a 12-0 season in 1980, they’ve come close twice: in 1982, when they lost the Sugar Bowl to Todd Blackledge and Penn State, and in 2017, when they took a 13-point lead at halftime and fell to Alabama in the CFP final in injury time. And the rest of the time, especially after Dooley’s decision in 1988 to focus on sporting director duties, they went through three coaches and more than a fair single-digit win rate. of them, all while looking across the border to see Alabama ranked national titles.

At the team hotel for the weekend, Smart exits the elevator upon reaching his floor, and he finds Dooley sitting on a bench waiting for the hotel staff to bring him more keys; he locked himself in his room.

“I think that’s a sign,” Smart said. “I think God put him there for me to watch the night before this game.”

These Bulldogs didn’t play for that reason, but they did play against it. That kind of drought can weigh on a team. Clever, though not wanting to focus on the Georgia fans, to whom he sent this gift. He expressed appreciation for their dominance in the vacant seats Monday night – “It feels like 70-30” – but it is the players he has recruited to Georgia who are Smart wants to experience this kind of victory.

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“Someone said to me: You don’t play for 41 years without us winning a national title. You’re playing for the men in the room,” Smart said. “And that really moved me, because that’s all it happened, were the people in the room.”

Like college football, there were plenty of pauses after Ringo’s touchdown – as Alabama traded a pointless final that would, at best, affect only the margin of defeat – and All that waiting and evaluation has drained a little of the refreshment from the UGa fans gathered in and around the south end at Lucas Oil Stadium.

However, there have been three late sacks by Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young to revive Bulldogs fans, and it looks like they’ll find a way to throw their party deep into the night – no , deep to 2022.

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And when it was over, Bennett allowed himself to cry in the Bulldogs bench area.

“It just hit me. I have not cried inside me for how many years. It just came to me,” Bennett said. “When you spend as much time as we do on these things – blood, sweat, tears – it makes sense.”

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