Georgia Wins Peach Bowl Over Ohio State: Reaction, Analysis, 5 Thoughts

Georgia beat Ohio State 42-41 to win the Peach Bowl. Five thoughts and analysis of the game, and what it all means.

Georgia beat Ohio State 42-41: Peach Bowl 5 Things That Matter

Peach Bowl College Football Playoff 5 Thoughts 
5. Ohio State had it, but …
4. Stetson Bennett’s big final drive
3. CJ Stroud’s great performance
2. This one was special
1. Georgia possibly making history
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5. Ohio State had it, but …

Yeah, of course, it’s the brutal reality in football. Kick goes one way, it’s a disastrous collapse after being up 14 going into fourth. Kick goes another way, and the Buckeyes pull off the huge win and probably go win the national title.

Ask Scott Norwood and the 1990s Buffalo Bills what one dumb kick means.

The ugly sports side of social media is all over Ohio State kicker Noah Ruggles for badly missing the game-winning field goal attempt – it would’ve been a career long – but 1) there were plenty of chances to put this away, 2) Ohio State didn’t do it and left the door open for 3) the best team in college football over the last two years to pull this off.

The play calling at the very end wasn’t exactly stellar. Ruggles has good range, but that was a 50-yard try in the most pressure-packed of circumstances. The Buckeyes had the ball at the 31 with 19 seconds to play and the time outs to try a few runs to do something to get it closer.

One run lost yards, two incomplete passes, 50-yard try. However, Ruggles nailed a 48-yarder on the team’s previous drive. That was a problem, too.

Ohio State went up six and not ten, partially because of an ill-timed sack on 2nd-and-5 to screw it all up.

The defense didn’t exactly help, either, allowing 18 points in the fourth quarter as Stetson Bennett and company marched at will.

But that’s all nitpicking the finer portions of the game that had a gajillion things go both ways.

The kid missed the kick. That’s the sport.

Peach Bowl College Football Playoff 5 Thoughts 
5. Ohio State had it, but …
4. Stetson Bennett’s big final drive
3. CJ Stroud’s great performance
2. This one was special
1. Georgia possibly making history

NEXT: Stetson Bennett’s amazing final drive

4. Stetson Bennett’s amazing final drive

He’s not CJ Stroud.

He’s not Bryce Young or Caleb Williams, and next-level talent-wise, he’s not Will Levis or Anthony Richardson.

But Stetson Bennett is probably going be a two-tine national champion starting quarterback.

He threw one really, really bad pick against Ohio State, but he also finishes with close to 400 yards – Stroud threw for 348 – and he ran for a touchdown. But it was the final drive that took his legend even further.

I didn’t put Bennett on my Heisman ballot – there are three spots – but I got into a slew of arguments and debates about why he deserved to be on there.

He gets dismissed because he’s not some sure-thing NFL starter with superhuman skills. He’s an old guy running the best team in college football, and he gets no credit whatsoever for being the leader and steadying force who makes it all go.

And he gets zero respect for pulling the Missouri game out of the fire earlier this year, and for putting Oregon away instantly. He’ll get respect for what he did to beat Ohio State, though.

Down 41-35 with just under two minutes per game, he was under tremendous pressure from the Ohio State pass rush. Boom … he hit two passes. Boom … got a free play and tried it deep. Boom … hit Kearis Jackson for a 35-yard strike. Boom – one short pass, and then the ten-yarder to tie it before the extra point gave them the lead for good.

Being the quarterback of that 2021 national championship game was great. Being the quarterback who got Georgia back in 2022 – and going undefeated along the way – was something special.

This might have been his finest hour, but he gets one final chance to do a little bit more.

Peach Bowl College Football Playoff 5 Thoughts 
5. Ohio State had it, but …
4. Stetson Bennett’s big final drive
3. CJ Stroud’s great performance
2. This one was special
1. Georgia possibly making history

NEXT: CJ Stroud’s amazing performance

3. CJ Stroud’s amazing performance

Stetson Bennett had the better game.

Bennett threw for more yards on the same 23-of-34 day, and he ran for a score – and he got the win,

However, Stroud ran for 34 yards and kept a slew of big drives alive, threw four touchdown passes to Bennett’s three, and didn’t throw a pick.

The arm strength, direction of the attack, and all that makes Stroud a special passer came through. Emeka Egbuka caught eight passes for 112 yards and a score, and Marvin Harrison Jr. caught five passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns.

Stroud didn’t spread it around like Bennett did, but he was under a lot more pressure – Stroud got sacked four times – and he still kept firing. Just as important for the NFL types, it’s what he didn’t do.

He didn’t turn the ball over, he didn’t put the ball in harm’s way, and he was trusted enough in key spots to not make the bad read.

This was almost his moment. This was almost his game to make his mark in a crowded field of tremendous college quarterbacks. He wasn’t any less terrific because the final kick went the wrong way.

Peach Bowl College Football Playoff 5 Thoughts 
5. Ohio State had it, but …
4. Stetson Bennett’s big final drive
3. CJ Stroud’s great performance
2. This one was special
1. Georgia possibly making history

NEXT: That College Football Playoff Peach Bowl is as good as it gets

2. That’s as good as the College Football Playoff gets

The 2018 Rose Bowl – for the 2017 season – between Georgia and Oklahoma was a subjectively better game.

Some of the College Football Playoff National Championships might be greater because they meant more, but that double-overtime thriller between Baker Mayfield’s Sooners and the Georgia team with a backfield of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel is the CFP’s gold standard.

If this one doesn’t beat that, it’s really, really close.

The undercard between Michigan and TCU in the Fiesta was amazing, but it was also weird.

Not taking anything away from the Horned Frogs, but that was hardly representative of Michigan’s best work. There were bad calls, missed tackles, and overall the quality wasn’t there compared to to this.

There was the Stetson Bennett interception, but that was the lone turnover. The two teams each got flagged just four times, the defenses were okay despite giving up a combined 1,000 yards – really, they were, especially on third downs – and the NFL talent on the field took the level up a few notches.

42-41 with the defending national champion scoring in the final two minutes on a great drive, the strong challenger marching back to set up a possible game-winning kick …

Nah, that 2018 Rose Bowl was better. This was second, though.

Peach Bowl College Football Playoff 5 Thoughts 
5. Ohio State had it, but …
4. Stetson Bennett’s big final drive
3. CJ Stroud’s great performance
2. This one was special
1. Georgia possibly making history

NEXT: Georgia’s shot at back-to-back national titles

1. Georgia now gets its chance to go back-to-back

With this win, it has a chance to be just the third school to be the unquestioned unanimous repeat champion in close to 70 years. That’s all that was riding on the last Ohio State kick, and the Georgia scoring drive that led up to it.

Alabama did it in 2011 and 2012, but that was before the College Football Playoff era.

There were split titles in the BCS and Poll and Bowl eras, but Nebraska in 1994 and 1995 was the only other time a school other than ’11-’12 Bama went back to back in both major polls. Before that, it was 1955 and 1956 Oklahoma. Before that, 1944-1945 Army, and 1940-1941 Minnesota.

That’s what Georgia might potentially do.

The 2022 and 2023 Bulldogs aren’t as feared as some of the Miami teams of the 1990s – Miami never went back-to-back, even in a co-championship way – and they certainly aren’t as celebrated as Pete Carroll’s 2003-2004 USC teams, or as respected as Saban’s best run at Bama, but they’re here.

They’re one win away from having one of the greatest two-year runs in the history of college football. They’re doing it without the easily recognizable hours old names, but they got the job done.

They’re one win away from a perfect season.

Peach Bowl College Football Playoff 5 Thoughts 
5. Ohio State had it, but …
4. Stetson Bennett’s big final drive
3. CJ Stroud’s great performance
2. This one was special
1. Georgia possibly making history

Story originally appeared on College Football News