Georgia repeats as national champions with historic rout of TCU

Georgia repeats as national champions with historic rout of TCU originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The national title is heading back to Athens.

The No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs (15-0) completed an unblemished title defense in dominant fashion on Monday night, crushing the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs (13-2) 65-7 in the College Football Playoff national championship.

The triumph at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, made Kirby Smart’s team the first repeat national champs in school history and in the CFP era. The Alabama Crimson Tide were the last team to win consecutive national titles, doing so in 2011 and 2012.

The Bulldogs secured the repeat in record-setting fashion, too. The 58-point victory smashed the previous record for the largest margin of victory in a championship game. The previous record mark was Nebraska's 38-point win over Florida in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl. The prior record in the national title game era (since the start of the BCS in 1998) was USC's 36-point win over Oklahoma in 2004.

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett also pulled off a repeat of his own, taking home offensive MVP honors for the second straight title game. The Heisman Trophy finalist had a six-touchdown performance, completing 18 of 25 passes for 304 yards and four scores while rushing for 39 yards and two scores. Safety Javon Bullard earned defensive MVP honors after picking off Heisman finalist Max Duggan twice.

TCU was looking to cap an improbable season with its first national championship since 1938. After being picked to finish seventh in the Big 12 preseason poll, first-year head coach Sonny Dykes and Co. went 12-0 in the regular season and took down the previously unbeaten No. 2 Michigan Wolverines in the Fiesta Bowl.

But the underdog Horned Frogs were simply outmatched by the Bulldogs – so much so that the game was decided before halftime.

Georgia scored on all six of its first-half possessions to grab a commanding 38-7 lead. The Bulldogs outgained the Horned Frogs 354-121 in total yards while forcing three turnovers – two interceptions, one fumble – in the opening 30 minutes.

Bennett began the offensive onslaught with a 21-yard touchdown run on Georgia’s opening possession.

The Bulldogs then turned a fumble from TCU wideout Derius Davis into a 24-yard field goal from Jack Podlesny to make it 10-0.

TCU came up with a response on the ensuing possession, as a 60-yard hookup between Duggan and Davis set up a two-yard touchdown run for Duggan.

But the Bulldogs put any potential for an upset to bed with 28 unanswered points to close out the half. The four touchdowns came on a 37-yard catch by wideout Ladd McConkey, a six-yard run by Bennett, a one-yard run by halfback Kendall Milton and a one-handed 22-yard catch by wideout Adonai Mitchell.

After the teams traded three-and-outs to begin the second half, Georgia provided some more offensive fireworks. Bennett hit tight end Brock Bowers, who racked up 152 yards on seven catches, for a 22-yard score and McConkey for a 14-yard score on back-to-back possessions to stretch the lead to 52-7.

Bennett's touchdown pass to McConkey proved to be the final pass of his legendary Georgia career, as he was pulled from the game during the next offensive possession at the 13:25 mark of the fourth quarter and met with a standing ovation from Bulldogs fans.

Running back Branson Robinson added two fourth-quarter rushing touchdowns to close out Georgia's historic offensive showing. The Bulldogs finished with a staggering 589-188 advantage in total yards.