2023 National Championship: Georgia, Stetson Bennett beat TCU for most dominant win in title game era

LOS ANGELES — No. 1 Georgia won the 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship in record fashion Monday night, dominating No. 3 TCU in a blistering 65-7 victory that marked the most dominant title game performance in the sport’s history. The win, which marked the Bulldogs’ most points in any national title game since the BCS began in 1998, makes Georgia the first back-to-back national champions in the CFP era and the first since Alabama in 2011-12.

The Bulldogs (15-0) were balanced on offense, scoring on every possession in the first half and 10 of 12 possessions overall (including the game-winning layup). They racked up a whopping 589 yards of offense (an average of 8.2 yards per play) while their defense held the Horned Frogs (13-2) to just 188 yards with three turnovers, five sacks and nine tackles for loss.

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett IV was a breakout star with 304 yards and six total touchdowns (four passing, two rushing). He took some individual records with him as he was celebrated with a curtain call early in the fourth quarter. Bennett tied LSU QB Joe Burrow for the most receiving touchdowns (six) in any BCS or CFP national title game.

The dominance began immediately as Georgia forced a three-and-out on TCU’s opening possession only for Bennett to rush for a 21-yard touchdown on his team’s first possession. Three plays later, TCU wide receiver Derius Davis was stripped by Chris Smith, and the Dawgs turned the fumble into quick points with a field goal. The Frogs finally offered an answer when QB Max Duggan connected with Davis for 60 yards; Duggan ran in a touchdown to cut TCU’s deficit to 10-7 and give some belief that the game would be less one-sided than it appeared in the first quarter.

However, what followed before halftime — from that 10-7 score onward — was one punt and two interceptions for TCU, leading to four straight touchdowns for Georgia. In less than 20 minutes of playing time, a 3-point deficit between two of college football’s best teams turned into a 38-7 rout heading into the locker room.

The second half was a slow march toward crowning the kings of college football on the game’s biggest stage. Georgia extended its lead to 52-7 by the end of the third quarter and quickly went ahead 65-7 with two touchdowns early in the fourth quarter.

Beyond Bennett’s call, Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart made similar send-offs by calling timeouts for numerous other stars, many of whom are headed to the 2023 NFL Draft after the game.

By winning the title in such dominant fashion, Georgia opened up all discussions of a new dynasty in college football and brought to the surface comparisons between Smart and his mentor, Alabama coach Nick Saban. It’s Saban with more national championships (seven) than Smart (two), but Georgia has won 29 of its last 30 games and is 72-10 since the start of the 2017 season with three SEC titles and five SEC East division crowns.

As it stood after the 2021 season, Smart’s Dawgs finish 2022 on top of the college football world; Monday’s dominant performance in is just a reminder of how much work needs to be done for the rest of the sport to catch up with Georgia.

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