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Georgia Bulldogs repeat as college football's national champion, thrashing TCU

Xavier Truss of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates with teammates after his team's first touchdown against the TCU Horned Frogs in the College Football Playoff National Championship game on January 09, 2023 in Inglewood, Calif.
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Xavier Truss of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates with teammates after his team's first touchdown against the TCU Horned Frogs in the College Football Playoff National Championship game on January 09, 2023 in Inglewood, Calif.

The University of Georgia Bulldogs showed why they're the best team in college football — again. With an unrelenting and dominant performance in the national championship game, Georgia swamped Texas Christian University 65-7 to finish undefeated and repeat as national champions.

The 65 points scored by Georgia are the most in a (BCS/College Football Playoff) championship game.

TCU came in as a huge underdog and the team had no answer for Georgia. After the kickoff, Georgia stopped TCU's opening drive, and then scored first with a 21-yard rushing touchdown by senior quarterback Stetson Bennett. The Bulldogs marched down the field in less than three minutes slicing through TCU's defense.

It was a sign of things to come.

TCU quarterback Max Duggan is sacked in the second quarter during the College Football Playoff National Championship game on January 09, 2023.
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TCU quarterback Max Duggan is sacked in the second quarter during the College Football Playoff National Championship game on Jan. 9, 2023.

UGA forced a fumble on the Horned Frogs next offensive effort and the turnover led to another Georgia score — a 24-yard field goal to go up 10-0 midway through the 1st quarter.

But third-ranked TCU answered on its next drive. Quarterback Max Duggan marched the Horned Frogs 75-yards for a score. Like the Georgia QB, Duggan, the Heisman runner-up, rushed for a touchdown to cut the Bulldog lead to 10-7. It would be TCU's only points of the game.

Georgia responded right away with a 37-yard Bennett touchdown pass to extend the lead to 17-7. The Bulldog defense stopped TCU on its next series and then marched 92-yards for another Stetson Bennett rushing touchdown for a 24-7 Georgia lead in the second quarter.

A Duggan interception led to one more Bulldog touchdown before halftime.

Quarterback Stetson Bennett #13 of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts after a touchdown pass in the first quarter against the TCU Horned Frogs in the College Football Playoff National Championship game on January 09, 2023.
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Quarterback Stetson Bennett #13 of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts after a touchdown pass in the first quarter against the TCU Horned Frogs in the College Football Playoff National Championship game on Jan. 9, 2023.

Georgia simply dominated to lead 38-7 at the break, scoring on all six of its possessions (the first team to do that in the playoffs). The Bulldogs racked up 354 yards of offense in the half and averaged 9 yards per play.

TCU started the second half on a positive note — forcing a Georgia punt. But the Horned Frog offense was stymied yet again and the Bulldogs picked up where they left off — with another touchdown pass by Bennett to extend the lead to 45-7.

With 11-minutes left in the third quarter, the game was essentially over.

Bulldog quarterback Stetson Bennett would account for six touchdowns (two rushing and four passing) and was taken out of the game 95-seconds into the fourth quarter.

Georgia came into the contest undefeated (14-0) and the defending national champions. Led by Bennett (a former walk-on QB), Georgia overwhelmed the Southeastern Conference — the best conference in college football. Georgia was ranked number one for most of the season.

Texas Christian is a private university in Fort Worth, Texas, with an enrollment of about 12,000. It came in to the title game with a 13-1 record - the only loss coming in the Big 12 Conference championship. Before the season began, TCU was picked to finish seventh in the conference and was a 200-to-1 longshot to win the national championship. But the Horned Frogs surprised legions of football fans all season long with their ability to win. They couldn't find a way past Georgia though in the most important game of the year.

The Southeastern Conference has dominated the Division I FBS college football playoffs. Since 2014 when the CFP began, an SEC team has won the title six times. Before Georgia, no team had repeated as national champion in the CFP era.

One notable Bulldog didn't get to witness the victory. Georgia's famous mascot, Uga X, did not make the trip to southern California for the championship game. The bulldog is a common fixture at Georgia games wearing a UGA uniform and hanging out in an air-conditioned doghouse on the sidelines. His owners told WTOC television the cross-country flight would have been too difficult for the 9-year-old bulldog.

It's safe to say Uga X will enjoy the upcoming victory parade in Athens, Ga.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: January 10, 2023 at 11:00 PM CST
We initially reported TCU won the Big 12 Conference championship. The Horned Frogs lost to Kansas State in that game.
Russell Lewis
As NPR's Southern Bureau chief, Russell Lewis covers issues and people of the Southeast for NPR — from Florida to Virginia to Texas, including West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma. His work brings context and dimension to issues ranging from immigration, transportation, and oil and gas drilling for NPR listeners across the nation and around the world.
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