Georgia football: Dawgs defense proved why it was the best in the country

Mykel Williams #13 of the Georgia Bulldogs (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Mykel Williams #13 of the Georgia Bulldogs (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Georgia football has become known for stifling defense, but there were doubters as the Dawgs took the field against TCU.

Prior to the National Championship game on Monday, many fans were wondering which Georgia football defense would show up against TCU. Would it be the one that gave up an average of 11 points per game to teams in the regular season? Or, would it be the one that had given up a combined 850 passing yards and 71 points in their last two games?

It didn’t take long for the answer to be seen. Georgia was a team on a mission, and the defense was a unit out to prove they were indeed elite.

The Dawgs forced a three-and-out and a fumble on the Horned Frogs’ first two offensive possession. After building a 10-0 lead, however, Georgia gave up a 60-yard pass due to busted coverage in the secondary, which led to a Max Duggan score.

I’m sure many fans began to have flashbacks to the Peach Bowl and were preparing for this game to turn into yet another shootout. That anticipated shootout never happened.

But that long pass would be the extent of any damage done by this vaunted TCU offense. The Dawgs completely, thoroughly, utterly shut down Duggan and his cohorts en route to a 65-7 beatdown.

There aren’t enough words in the dictionary to describe that kind of beating. It’s safe to say that this unit was tired of hearing about their performances against LSU and Ohio State.

Just look at these stats for TCU’s offense in the National Championship Game:

  • 7 points
  • 188 total yards
  • 9 first downs
  • 2-for-11 on 3rd down
  • 1.3 yards per carry on the ground
  • 3 turnovers (2 interceptions by Javon Bullard, 1 forced fumble by Christopher Smith)

The 188 yards was the lowest by a team in the National Championship game since LSU was held to 92 yards against Alabama in the 2011 BCS title game. Remember, Georgia lost five defensive players to the first round of the NFL Draft.

Georgia football was all about smothering defense in the big game

When it came to offense, TCU was no slouch. The Horned Frogs were ranked in the top five in scoring offense and had the Heisman Trophy runner-up at quarterback. Besides being a great passer, Max Duggan was a threat with his legs, something that the Bulldogs struggled with against CJ Stroud and Ohio State.

Duggan finished with 152 yards passing and two interceptions. His only big run was his two-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

Georgia also sacked him five times in the game and had nine tackles for loss. The front seven of Jalen Carter, Nazir Stackhouse, Warren Brinson, and even true freshman Bear Alexander made Duggan’s life miserable all game long. Mykel Williams, another true freshman, shined again for the Dawgs as he will enter the 2023 season as one of the best young pass rushers in the nation.

Quentin Johnson, their number one receiver and a player who will likely be a first-round NFL Draft pick this year, had one catch for three yards. This was a far cry from what Marvin Harrison Jr. and Kayshon Boutte did to the Georgia secondary.

When looking back on this game, people will be reminiscing about the offense that put up 65 points, and rightfully so. However, let’s never forget about the young but dominant defense that shut down one of the nation’s best offenses for four quarters.

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