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41 Years

By Mike Branch Sports Editor

On Monday night the demons were laid to rest. The University of Georgia and their mighty Bulldogs not only overcame that 41-year drought that had been haunting them, but they also did it by finally getting that big win over Alabama and Nick Saban.

And it was fitting of this year’s team that the final touchdown to clinch the win came from the defense. A defense that has led this team all year and is considered one of the best in the history of college football.

This win also solidified Stetson Bennett IV as a hero in Georgia history. For much of this season he has been maligned by not only the commentators and the analysts, but also by the fans. The former walk-on took UGA to the promised land. His is a story that one day may very well be turned into a movie.

As for the game on Monday night, it was a battle. After the embarrassing defeat in the SEC Championship Game to Alabama, the Bulldogs came out in the CFP National Championship and were able to get pressure on Alabama’s quarterback Bryce Young and disrupt the Tide’s offense. Young threw two interceptions on the night, and it was his first game this season that he had thrown multiple picks. That second interception came at the hands of Kelee Ringo, who then returned it for a touchdown with one minute left in the game to seal the Bulldog victory, 33-18.

The UGA defense held Alabama to just one touchdown on the night and forced five field goals. The only touchdown for the Tide came after a “fumble” by Bennett deep in UGA territory. It was recovered by Alabama. They went in for the touchdown to take an 18-13 lead over the Bulldogs.

But UGA and Bennett responded. Bennett hit Jermaine Burton for a big gain to get the drive going, and then a pass interference put the Dawgs in Bama territory. Two plays later Bennett found Adonai Mitchell in the back of the end zone for a 40-yard touchdown. UGA failed on the two-point try, but they had retaken the lead, 19-18.

The Bulldogs ended up outscoring Alabama 20-9 in the fourth quarter, including that final interception return for a touchdown. Bennett was 17/26 on the night passing for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns. Zamir White ran for 84 yards and a touchdown; and James Cook added 77 yards, 67 of those coming on one run, the longest Alabama had given up in five years. Bennett spread the ball around to nine different receivers on the night with Mitchell and Brock Bowers scoring touchdowns.

It was a great night to be a Dawg. It was a night that many will never forget. It was a night that the emotions of the past 41 years, and the many close calls came flowing out as the game was clinched. As David Pollack, a former UGA All-American and now TV analyst noted, he saw many in the stands visibly crying after that final interception to seal the win.

All of those across the Bulldog Na- continued from page

tion will enjoy this one for quite a while and will relish in it just a bit more that it came along with a defeat of Alabama. Kirby Smart has brought a title to UGA, and in the process he has built a program that looks to compete for the title every year.

Let’s just hope the next one doesn’t take another 41 years.

There will be a parade in Athens for the Bulldogs tentatively scheduled for this Saturday.

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