ATLANTA (AP) — Stetson Bennett capped No. 1 Georgia’s comeback from a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter with a last-minute 10-yard touchdown pass to Adonai Mitchell in a 42-41 win over No. 4 Ohio State for a shot at their second straight national title.
The comeback in the College Football Playoff Peach Bowl semifinal took place shortly after midnight Sunday when Noah Ruggles’ 50-yard field goal attempt for Ohio State with three seconds remaining went wide left, sparked a celebration on the Georgia sideline.
Georgia (14-0) will play No. 3 TCU, which defeated No. 2 Michigan 51-45 in the Fiesta Bowl semifinal on Jan. 9 for the national championship. The Bulldogs, who won their first national title since 1980 last season, will play for the first back-to-back championships in school history.
CJ Stroud threw four touchdown passes for Ohio State (11-2), which led 38-24 in the fourth quarter. Bennett’s 76-yard touchdown pass to Arian Smith, followed by Bennett’s pass to Ladd McConkey on the 2-point play, cut the score to 38-35.
After Bennett’s touchdown pass to Mitchell with 54 seconds remaining, Stroud led the Buckeyes with a 27-yard run to the Georgia 31-yard line. The missed field goal started Georgia’s celebration that left Bennett in tears.
Ruggles’ 48-yard field goal gave the Buckeyes a 41–35 lead, leaving just 2:36 for the Bennett and Georgia offense.
Stroud completed 23 of 34 passes for 348 yards with no interception.
Stroud capped the Buckeyes’ first possession of the second half with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Emeka Egbuka for a 35-24 lead, already the most points allowed in a complete game by the Bulldogs this season.
Marvin Harrison Jr. had five receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Egbuka had eight catches for 112 yards and a score.
Ohio State shutout Georgia in the third quarter as the Buckeyes pulled away with 10 points.
Bennett, who joined Stroud as one of the four Heisman Trophy finalists, finished the game strong, completing 23 of 34 passes for 398 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
Stroud’s second touchdown pass, a 16-yard pass to Harrison, gave the Buckeyes a 21-7 lead. Stroud escaped the pressure on the play before diving past Harrison in the end zone.
Georgia scored the next 17 points for a 24-21 lead. The Bulldogs had touchdown runs of 11 yards from Kendall Milton and 3 yards from Bennett during the run.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes scored with devastating speed at times. A quick 75-yard touchdown gave Ohio State a 28-24 halftime lead. Stroud completed four straight passes on the drive, including a 37-yard TD pass from Stroud to Xavier Johnson.
Georgia: The Bulldogs rushed for 135 yards and finished with 533 total yards, winning on offense on a night their proud defense couldn’t stop Stroud.
Ohio State TE Cade Stover, suffering from back spasms, was taken to a hospital for precautionary reasons, the team announced early in the second half. There was no immediate update.
Georgia OLB Chaz Chambliss left the game late in the first half with an apparent left knee injury. Chambliss needed help getting off the field. Georgia TE Darnell Washington was on crutches on the sideline after suffering a sprained left ankle in the second period.
Georgia WR Ladd McConkey (knee) had limited playing time and RT Warren McClendon (knee) was in uniform but did not start.
Buckeyes running back Miyan Williams, who missed practice this week with a stomach issue while recovering from an ankle injury, had just three carries for eight yards, including a touchdown drop from the 2 in the first. half.
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