The No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs scored in their first six practices and outscored the No. 3 Texas Christian University 65-7 to win their second straight College Football Playoff Championship game on Monday night in Inglewood, Calif.
In the convincing win, Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback Stetson Bennett had four touchdowns and ran for two more to lead the Bulldogs (15-0), who became the first team to win back-to-back national titles since the Alabama in 2011 and 2012.
Bennett finished 18 of 25 with 304 passing yards in his last collegiate contest. He left the game with 1:25 to go in the fourth quarter.
Bennett told ESPN, which aired the title match, that he was just trying not to cry.
“Champions around the world,” he said as he struggled to find words to echo his emotions. “I don’t know. I’m just trying to see everyone for the last time, you know, kiss everyone.
Georgia built a 38-7 halftime lead, scoring the final 28 points before intermission after Heisman Trophy runner-up Max Duggan of TCU rushed for a touchdown that took the score to 10-7 with 5:45 left in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs controlled the game and the clock into the half, having the ball for nearly 19 of the first 30 minutes and outscoring the Horned Frogs (13-2) 354 yards at just 121.
The onslaught continued in the second half until Georgia head coach Kirby Smart called off the dogs and started using more second-team players in the fourth quarter. At that time, it was 52-7.
“We wanted our kids to play without fear,” Smart told ESPN. Smart said he told his players that as the top-ranked team in the country for much of the year, they were the hunted, but in this game they would be the hunters. They only had one last chance to do so.
“And we hunted tonight,” he said.
The Bulldogs are the first team to win back-to-back titles since the advent of the reformatted College Football Playoff in 2014.
“They had the will to work. They didn’t listen to what everyone was saying about them,” Smart said. “And everyone doubted it to start the year and that chip on the shoulder was just big enough to create an advantage for our team.”
Georgia’s Ladd McConkey, a sophomore receiver, had two touchdowns, including a 37-yard wide-open reception that netted the first six of the Bulldogs’ 55 straight points.
Sophomore tight end Brock Bowers, the National Player of the Year at his position, had one touchdown on seven receptions and 152 receiving yards.