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Defense earn redemption as Georgia end long title drought

Georgia won their long-awaited national championship the way they dominated in an unbeaten regular season – relying on their defense.

The Bulldogs allowed just 30 rushing yards, beating Alabama 33-18 Monday night in Indianapolis. Georgia (14-1) won their first national title since the 1980 season.

“I hope it won’t take so long any longer,” said Georgian coach Kirby Smart. “Come on guys! “

The deciding touchdown came on cornerback Kelee Ringo’s 79-yard intercept return with less than a minute to go.

It was a buyout for a defense that had not allowed more than 17 points in a game before being humiliated in its 41-24 loss to Alabama in the Southeastern Conference Championship game on December 4.

The defense regained its composure with its 34-11 semifinal victory over Michigan. Winning the rematch with Alabama (13-2) was the crowning achievement for Smart and his defense.

The Bulldogs entered the championship game allowing a national record of 9.6 points per game.

Held bagless in the loss to Alabama in Atlanta, the Georgian defense appeared to break through on game four of the game.

Defensive tackle Jordan Davis hit Alabama quarterback Bryce Young for an apparent sack. Young appeared to be fumbling and linebacker Nakobe Dean recovered the loose ball and ran for what was called a touchdown by officials.

After an examination, the play was judged to be an incomplete pass. Authorities decided that Young’s arm extended as he was thrown to the ground. The Crimson Tide training continued and ended with a basket.

Linebacker Channing Tindall gave Georgia their long-awaited first sack from Young, for a loss of 13 yards, in the second quarter as the Crimson Tide were once again content with a field goal from Will Reichard.

Georgia took a 19-18 lead on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Stetson Bennett to Adonai Mitchell. The defense then stopped Alabama without a first try. Crimson Tide’s punt allowed Bennett to pass a 15-yard touchdown to tight end Brock Bowers to increase the lead to eight points.

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