Stetson Bennett rallies No. 3 Georgia past No. 1 Alabama for CFP title
Bulldogs win their first national title since the Herschel Walker-led team captured the 1980 crown
INDIANAPOLIS -- Stetson Bennett tossed two fourth-quarter touchdown passes and Kelee Ringo clinched the win with an interception return for touchdown as No. 3 Georgia recorded a 33-18 victory over No. 1 Alabama in the College Football Playoff title game on Monday night at Indianapolis.
Bennett's 40-yard scoring pass to Adonai Mitchell with 8:09 remaining put Georgia ahead to stay, and the Bulldogs (14-1) piled on to win their first national title since the Herschel Walker-led team captured the 1980 crown.
Bennett threw a 15-yard scoring pass to Brock Bowers to make it 26-18 with 3:33 remaining before Ringo picked off a pass from Alabama's Bryce Young and returned it 79 yards for another score with 54 seconds remaining.
Zamir White ran for a touchdown and Bennett completed 17 of 26 passes for 224 yards as the Bulldogs avenged a 41-24 loss to Alabama in last month's Southeastern Conference title game.
Young, the Heisman Trophy winner, finished 35 of 57 for 369 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for Alabama (13-2). Cameron Latu caught the touchdown pass among his five grabs for 102 yards, and Will Reichard kicked four field goals.
Crimson Tide star wideout Jameson Williams had four receptions for 65 yards in the first 17 1/2 minutes before leaving for good due to a left knee injury.
Alabama outgained the Bulldogs 399 yards to 364.
This was the second time in five seasons that these teams met in the CFP championship game. Alabama defeated Georgia 26-23 in overtime in the 2016-17 final.
The Bulldogs led 13-12 in the fourth quarter when Alabama's Christian Harris pressured Bennett and forced him to fumble, with a review upholding the call. The Crimson Tide's Brian Branch recovered the ball just before going out of bounds at the Bulldogs' 16-yard line with 11:35 left in the game.
Four plays later, Young hit Latu for a 3-yard scoring pass to give Alabama a five-point lead with 10:14 remaining. The ensuing two-point conversion pass by Young failed.
Georgia moved back ahead just more than two minutes later when Bennett connected on the strike to Mitchell. James Cook's two-point conversion run was stuffed, and the Bulldogs led 19-18.
The Crimson Tide were on top 9-6 in the third quarter when Reichard's 48-yard field-goal attempt was blocked by Georgia's Jalen Carter with 3:18 left.
Georgia took advantage as Cook broke free on the next play for a 67-yard run to the Crimson Tide 13. Three plays later, White scored from the 1 to give the Bulldogs a 13-9 advantage with 1:20 remaining in the quarter.
Alabama reached the Georgia 3 on its next drive but settled for Reichard's 21-yard field goal with 12:59 left in the game.
The teams combined for five first-half field goals -- three by Reichard, two by Georgia's Jack Podlesny -- and Alabama held a 9-6 lead at the break.