Georgia Defeats No. 1 Alabama For College Football National Championship

The two best teams in college football needed a dramatic ending to decided the national championship to cap the 2021 season. In the end, Georgia won the championship with a go-ahead touchdown on offense and a pick six to seal the game.

Georgia broke its 41-year national championship drought by knocking off No. 1 Alabama, 33-18, in the title game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Georgia Bulldogs
Kelee Ringo #5 of the Georgia Bulldogs carries the ball into the endzone after getting an interception in the fourth quarter of the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2022 CFP National Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The game was a field goal festival in the first half, with Alabama taking a 9-6 lead into the half.

Georgia scored the game's first touchdown in the third quarter when running back Zamir White bolted in for a 1-yard run and a 13-9 lead.

Alabama regained the lead in the fourth after Cameron Latu hauled in a pass from Heisman-winning quarterback Bryce Young to take an 18-13 lead—the 2-point conversion missed.

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett led the Bulldogs on a drive to take a 19-18 lead, then Bennett led another drive for a 26-18 lead.

Alabama had a little more than 3 minutes remaining to mount a drive, but Young tossed a pass downfield that Georgia's Kelee Ringo intercepted and returned 79 yards for a touchdown and 33-18 lead, one the Bulldogs wouldn't relinquish.

Alabama was already competing without its top receiver, John Metchie, who suffered a season-ending ACL late in the year. Against Georgia, Alabama lost its next best receiver, Jameson Williams, to an apparent leg injury. That took two top weapons from the Alabama offense while its offensive line had to face one of the best defensive lines in recent history.

Georgia had not won a national championship since the 1980 season when coach Vince Dooley and running back Herschel Walker led the Bulldogs to their only previous title.

Bennett was named the game's offensive MVP for his performance that included 17-of-26 passing for 226 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Alabama scored 12 of its 18 points from four field goals by Will Reichard.

Either Alabama and Georgia have been the No. 1 teams all season long, and the two SEC foes met in their conference championship last month in Atlanta, which Alabama won, 41-24.

That SEC title game catapulted Young to the Heisman Trophy and the Crimson Tide to the No. 1 ranking heading into the College Football Playoff (CFP) ranking.

Alabama defeated No. 4 Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl during the first semifinal while No. 3 Georgia beat No. 2 Michigan at the Orange Bowl game for the other semifinal. This set up an Alabama-Georgia national championship for the first time since the 2017 season, in which the Crimson Tide beat Georgia in overtime.

Monday night also marked just the second time a former assistant coach of Alabama coach Nick Saban defeated Saban. The other was earlier this season when Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher beat then-No. 1 Alabama on a last-second field goal. However, Georgia coach Kirby Smart is the only former Saban assistant at Alabama who defeated their former boss. Fisher was an assistant for Saban at LSU in 2002-04.