Max Duggan was determined. So usually throughout this most unbelievable of soccer seasons for Texas Christian, the Horned Frogs’ fearless Heisman Trophy finalist was at his most harmful in these significantly grim moments, overwhelmed and bruised along with his again towards the wall, pressured to dig down deep, conjuring no matter miracle he might handle by means of a mixture of sheer will and intestinal fortitude.
But no quantity of coronary heart or hope or, heck, even divine intervention might compete with the crushing inevitability of the Georgia Bulldogs, who left no discernible doubt about who belonged atop the game as they rolled to a 65-7 victory on Monday at SoFi Stadium, probably the most lopsided within the historical past of the Faculty Soccer Playoff.
Georgia (15-0) had spent all of their title protection this season particularly stomping out such miracles, profitable 14 straight in scorched-earth vogue forward of Monday, when a determined Duggan dropped again simply earlier than half of the nationwide title sport, hoping his Horned Frogs would possibly nonetheless have a shot and a prayer.
Besides that acquainted model of hope, which had saved TCU (13-2) alive all season, wouldn’t do a lot good right here. Not towards a dominant Georgia protection that held TCU underneath 200 yards or its well-oiled machine on offense, which racked up almost 600. Not towards the defending nationwide champions, who hadn’t misplaced since final yr’s Southeastern Convention Championship sport. Not towards Stetson Bennett, one other Heisman finalist at quarterback whose personal underdog story certainly will likely be recounted for years to return.
In Georgia’s case, there was by no means any want this season to depend on hope or maintain out for miracles. Prefer it had so many instances earlier than on its strategy to changing into the primary repeat school champion in over a decade, Georgia would overwhelm TCU in each different side of the sport. By the point Duggan threw that ill-fated third-down go right into a crowd of Georgia defenders, the Bulldogs had already left little doubt. The interception — his second — solely sped up the method.
Quickly sufficient, Bennett would do the remaining.
The sixth-year senior quarterback had way back already cemented his place in Georgia lore. A former walk-on who dreamed of at some point quarterbacking the Bulldogs had already carried the storied program to a nationwide title the yr earlier than, ending a 40-year drought. He’d confirmed almost everybody mistaken within the course of, his personal coaches included, leaving little about his collegiate legacy in query.
However leaving on prime final season had by no means settled proper with Bennett. Virtually one yr in the past precisely, he confirmed up in Georgia coach Kirby Good’s workplace, asking the coach if he ought to return.
“He said, ‘I don’t understand everybody’s telling me I should just ride off into the sunset and be the legendary quarterback who won a national title,’” Good recalled. “‘That’s not who I am. I don’t get it. Why should I do that if I have an opportunity to play again? Why don’t we go win it again?’”
That bulletproof self-assurance was on show from the beginning Monday as Bennett put collectively a career-defining efficiency. He accounted for six touchdowns himself, two of which got here on the bottom, tying a Faculty Soccer Playoff report. He threw for 304 yards and added 39 along with his legs.
“Stetson speaks for himself, the way he leads and prepares,” Good mentioned. “His mental makeup is such of a quarterback that believes he can make every throw, and what he did tonight was truly amazing. Probably had his best game of his career, in my opinion.”
The stellar stats alone couldn’t fairly seize how utterly and confidently the quarterback had quelled issues of an upset on Monday night time. Bennett marched Georgia down the sector in simply 5 performs on its opening drive, ending it himself with a 21-yard keeper for a rating.
He added one other landing on a 37-yard deep ball to Ladd McConkey and one other on a second keeper for a rating earlier than Duggan handed the ball again simply earlier than the half, with the Bulldogs already main 31-7.
It was in that second that Georgia and its quarterback determined to douse any lingering hope of a comeback with kerosene. Bennett launched a go effortlessly towards the tip zone, the place Adonai Mitchell got here down with a landing whereas preventing with a TCU defender.
There was little struggle left within the Horned Frogs after that. They managed simply 67 yards within the second half, stifled by a dominant Georgia protection.
“They’re a great team,” Duggan mentioned. “Obviously that’s not what we thought was going to happen or wanted to happen or what we worked for. But it was just one of those nights we couldn’t really do much on our end.”
Ultimately, it was as soon as once more purple confetti that fell from the sky, a conclusion that every one school soccer season had felt inevitable. The plucky upstarts had been pummeled. A second nationwide title had been secured. And now, there was no query of the place he would go from right here. So Stetson Bennett took a puff from his cigar and took within the scene, realizing he and Georgia had rolled their method into the report books as soon as once more.