so, you're telling me that the missed field goal in the Georgia-Ohio State game really happened when East Coast welcomed New Year??? pic.twitter.com/oQcYxjnj8L— ivan (@eyevaughnszn) January 1, 2023
Dawgs on top! We were gone. I gave up, you did too. We were out of it and gone. Miracle! - Larry Munson, November 8, 1980. Jacksonville, Florida.
I’m guilty as charged. I have a cousin who is a huge Ohio State fan. We were texting intermittently during the game. About the time the officials were reviewing the Javon Bullard hit on Marvin Harrison, Jr., I texted my congratulations, telling him to go win the whole enchilada. I had given up, figuring Bullard would be DQ’d and Ohio State would get the ball 1st and Goal on our 2 yard line.
Yes, I gave up. Nearly went to bed. The 2022 Georgia Bulldogs never gave up. There’s a life lesson in there somewhere.
Was this game better than the 2018 Rose Bowl? In many ways, yes. Soon, we have to turn our attention to one more game to be played for everything. Enjoy this, people. Live in this moment. These are special times.
I just got back from church and was asking God the same thing. https://t.co/Kuh7jYxrHg— Benjamin Watson (@BenjaminSWatson) January 1, 2023
On to some thoughts...
1. When big Darnell Washington went down with an apparent ankle injury in the first quarter, the game plan that offensive coordinator Todd Monken had devised over the past several weeks suddenly changed. Georgia’s run game is predicated upon having “Big 0” as an extra blocker that must be accounted for as a potential receiver, which frees up Brock Bowers and all the trickle down effects that forces the opposing defense to adapt to. Suddenly, in mid-game all of that changed. With Darnell removed from the equation, everything seemed to become more of a challenge. Monken ultimately adjusted because he had to - mid game - which gave us a chance. It took a while for all the adjustments to manifest into actual points...
2. ...and players had to make plays to get us to where we needed to be. They did.
3. A game like this is a collection of moments that if any single one moment turned out differently changes the outcome. I’m going to have to go back and re-watch with note pad in hand once I get enough sleep to function and actually comprehend what I just witnessed.
4. When Georgia got down 21-7 they truly were on the brink. We had no answer for Marvin Harrison, Jr. and all those incredible receivers. One more mistake, one more punt if we don’t answer probably sees the Buckeyes go up by 3 touchdowns. All the composure and resiliency in the world probably doesn’t come back from this. Yet, we did overcome the 14 point gap...twice. I wasn’t drinking bourbon last night, folks. I was drinking Mylanta.
5. I always thought that the long layoff for the Buckeyes dating back to November 25th when they lost to Michigan could affect them more in terms of "rust" than anything else. That team had caught a lot of crap from their own fanbase for how they performed in their loss vs. Michigan. To their credit, they showed up with their hair on fire and Ryan Day’s staff constructed a near-perfect game plan. How they lost to Michigan in their stadium still baffles me. That’s football. Congrats to the Buckeyes. That is a very good team.
6. I’m not a little bit stitious. I’m superstitious. I won’t wear anything orange during the season. I won’t drink orange juice during the season. I will only wear the same Georgia shirt on gameday that I started wearing prior to last year’s Natty (bought a new one after we lost to Bama in the SECCG) and will only retire the shirt I’m presently wearing if/when we lose again. I’m not sure where I’m going with this “thought,” but I figure some of you out there reading this is a little bit like me. Anyway, It’s early and I really haven’t slept and I feel glorious!
7. Back on point, It’s hard to believe we only punted twice last night. It’s hard to believe Ohio State actually punted 4 times last night. It’s hard to believe we had 4 sacks of C.J. Stroud, all of which were huge but none bigger than the sack that forced them to settle for a field goal just prior to Stetson Bennett’s heroics with just over 2 minutes to play. It’s hard to believe a lot of what happened last night and especially that we won this game.
8. Stetson Bennett was far from perfect last night. He is lucky he only threw a single pick, especially just prior to the half when he got a bit too ambitious and reckless with under a minute to play. That would have been a disaster. Kirby decided to run the clock out and avoid a bad gaffe, which elicited this hot taek from someone who obviously isn’t a fan of #13 and probably hasn’t watched any Georgia Football all year:
In a shootout on third down with 40 seconds left and two TOs, Dawgs take a knee. Serious indictment of Bennett.— Mike Francesa (@MikeFrancesa) January 1, 2023
Stick to the NFL, Mike. I got your indictment right here, pal.
9. I have no idea what our defensive secondary was doing all night. Much of the problem was Stroud had way too much time in the pocket, so a lot of guys were on an island. Part of the problem was we just couldn’t match up in man coverage (which ain’t good when you can’t pressure the QB). Youth? Nah, it’s game 14. One thing if for certain: TCU doesn’t have the studs that Ohio State has at receiver. They’ve got good ones, but all those guys in white jerseys last night are on another level. We’ve got 8 days to figure it out.
10. Was Kirby’s timeout just prior to Ohio State’s “successful” fake punt the biggest moment in a game full of ‘em? It was certainly the most important time out of the season in any game, anywhere.
10A. Oh, and by the way: Ohio State had 12 men on the field just prior to the timeout.
Count ‘em. Twelve Buckeyes. That’s illegal.
The officials missed a false start on an Ohio State running back in the first half that kept a scoring drive alive (while penalizing Georgia for being offsides). They called a single obvious holding call on Smael Mondon late in the game, but missed the other 50. As bad as they were, they weren’t as bad as the SEC Crew that screwed Michigan earlier in the day. I hate even mentioning officiating because it’s an imperfect science and part of the game. But that crew was craptacular.
This was not called holding pic.twitter.com/FkG2rKyEv8— The Hunters (@OutOfKenTroll) January 1, 2023
11. We’ve got some really good receivers, too. If you had Arian Smith leading everyone in yards (3 rec./129 yards/1 TD) on your bingo card, you are AMAZING and I’d like you to pick my lottery numbers for me.
It was at this very moment that hope began to creep back in.
Ten different receivers caught at least one pass last night and the 4th quarter was one for the ages. This is something:
Stetson was 10/12, 190 YDS & 2 TD’s in the 4th quarter… 4/4 on throws 15+ YDS downfield— Graham Coffey (@DawgOutWest) January 1, 2023
I’m not sure if Ladd McConkey was still hampered by his knee tendonitis, or if he was just having an issue with getting separation, but he was certainly was limited. Having said that, his 2-point conversion catch was as big a play in the game as any. Like I said earlier, this game seemingly had a crucial moment on every possession throughout.
12. It took a while for Stetson and A.D. Mitchell to get on the same page. When they did, it literally provided the game winner.
Welcome back, #5.
13. A documentary should be made depicting Georgia’s final drive. Perhaps it will. A full length Hollywood movie should be made about The Mailman. Stetson was simply clutch. This play set the tone as Bennett managed to thread the needle just as the pressure nearly got to him. At this point, hope was turning into something more.
This pass to Kearis Jackson was the best throw of the night by any QB, in my humble opinion.
This throw to Kearis Jackson by Stetson Bennett was an absolute dime pic.twitter.com/S2tgSUTmZS— Graham Coffey (@DawgOutWest) January 1, 2023
Kearis had to have great concentration to not only come down with the ball, but to possess it. Stetson had to be confident enough to execute it. Wow.
Stetson Bennett's 190 pass yards are the most by any player in the 4th quarter of a playoff game. pic.twitter.com/01MIfHYgfc— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 1, 2023
In all my years of Georgia fandom, I can say this with certainty: Among all of the truly great Georgia quarterbacks in our history, there isn’t a single QB who has gone before that I would choose over Stetson Bennett with the game on the line. He has an uncanny ability to reset and refocus, even after after a mistake, to do what must be done. Stet was 23 of 34 for 398 yards and 3 scores and a single pick. Legend.
14. A shoutout to Kenny McIntosh, Kendall Milton and Daijun Edwards. These guys ran the ball hard, blocked when they had to and, most importantly, protected the football. On the night, 26 carries for 135 yards (5.2 ypc and 2 scores) is below the seasonal averages, but we had to throw it, didn’t we.
15. In the 4th quarter an inner strength revealed itself when we bent but didn’t break. On Ohio State’s last drive (yeah, we left too much time on the clock) we stiffened just enough to force missed field goal. Man, we got banged up though, didn’t we? Chaz Chambliss is rounding into a much more complete player late in the season and his injury was concerning. Not certain of the extent, but he was certainly in pain, although some reports had him walking just fine during the post-game ceremony. Robert Beal was cramping late in the game. Mykel Williams went down, too. Not sure how bad his injury is but we are getting dangerously thin at outside linebacker and defensive end. That was a brutal, physical affair and the injury report will be much anticipated.
Christopher Smith led the way in tackles with 8, 5 solos. Javon Bullard had the aforementioned hit of the night against Marvin Harrison, Jr. in the back of the end zone. After further review and about 130 different camera angles, the targeting call was overruled and the Buckeyes had to settle for 3 points. There’s a ton of talk on the internet as you can imagine suggesting this was a dirty play. It was a football play. There was some helmet to helmet contact, but that came a split-second after the initial contact that was a shoulder pad first hit. At any rate, Harrison got knocked out of the game (concussion protocol?).
Javon Bullard with a violent hit— RanDynasty (@ran_dynasty) January 1, 2023
Hope MHJ is fine pic.twitter.com/giqkCVTydD
This is a very good angle. Shoulder contact first. Helluva hit by #22.
Javon Bullard was not called for targeting after this hit on Marvin Harrison Jr. pic.twitter.com/COkUtGi6X1— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) January 1, 2023
Hey, ESPN. You had a million different camera angles. It was reviewed. Bias much?
What a game. What a comeback. It really won’t sink in until later, but for now I’m just going to enjoy the New Year’s Day slate of football knowing that we are in a great position to go back-to-back Natty’s. We are about a 2 touchdown favorite against TCU and the whole world will be pulling for them. There is a lot to fix and we’ve got to get some guys healthy. Some guys might not make it back, so we are likely to see some really talented youth out there. This game has the potential to be another shootout.
What a game. What a team.
- TCU is a tough nut. Kudos to them in a game that was every bit as thrilling as ours. Did Michigan underestimate the Horned Frogs? The SEC officiating crew certainly didn’t help the maize and blue.
- Jim Harbaugh has an abysmal record in big games. Maybe he should jump to The League.
- TCU was incredibly physical. I don’t think the Wolverines expected this, and it showed. That is totally on the coaches. Also, TCU belongs.
- Michigan’s first apparent touchdown was overturned. Replay says the receiver's butt landed on the 1⁄2 yard line. The rest of the world saw a receiver juggling the ball as his butt hit the 1 yard line, but gaining total possession as he rolled into the end zone. That right there is SEC officiating at its finest.
- J.J. McCarthy’s two pick-6’s were ultimately what doomed Michigan.
- The Nielsen ratings are in. No one in Kentucky watched their bowl game vs. Iowa. Only 36 people in Dubuque turned in as the Hawkeyes shutout Kentucky, 21-0. Do not look at UK’s box score, people. It’s hideous!
- Okay, I looked for you. Kentucky had 185 yards. Of total offense.
- Alabama totally outmanned Kansas State to no one’s surprise yesterday. And to think they did this without Williams and Metchie. Impressive.
- Mississippi State takes on Illinois in Tampa on Monday. Win one for The Pirate, you guys.
- One more .gif:
That’s all I’ve got. I’m exhausted. In a good way.