They did it. They freaking did it.
The Georgia Bulldogs are national champions for the first time in 41 years. Kirby Smart got the monkey named Nick Saban off his back after failing his first four tries. All is well in Athens.
The Dawgs were in prime position to take home the title when Stetson Bennett dished a 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Brock Bowers to go up 26-18 with 3:37 remaining in the fourth quarter. However, when you're playing Alabama, you can never be too certain.
That's why Kelee Ringo's 79-yard interception return for a touchdown, which extended the lead to 33-18 and put the game away, will be remembered as one of the greatest plays in program history.
Kelee Ringo's 79-Yard Pick Six Seals National Title
— ESPN (@espn) January 11, 2022
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young had been in a similar situation before. Young led a 12-play, 97-yard drive to tie Auburn at 10 apiece with 24 seconds left in regulation in the Tide's regular season finale. Then, his overtime heroics secured a 24-22 win and pretty much locked up the Heisman Trophy.
So, when Young and the Crimson Tide were down eight and had three and a half minutes to work with, Georgia wasn't counting their chickens just yet. The Heisman winner was still a threat even without top receivers John Metchie III, who tore his ACL in the SEC Championship Game, and Jameson Williams, who went down with a knee injury in the second quarter. Unlike the SEC title game though, the Georgia defense made Young feel their presence this time around.
The Heisman winner dropped back to pass with 1:09 left in the game. He looked for Traeshon Holden down the left sideline but underthrew him. Ringo leapt up to make the easy interception, then took off towards the end zone behind a wall of teammates.
Everyone wearing red and black lost their minds. ESPN play-by-play man Chris Fowler delivered a call for the ages. Smart sprinted in stride with Ringo and signaled him to go down. He must've been absent the day fellow Bulldog Todd Gurley lectured about sliding.
Kirby Smart's reaction to the Dawgs' pick-six is amazing ? pic.twitter.com/QEVnj72HKg
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 11, 2022
As for Ringo, he spoke about the play and what the win meant to him after the game:
"It still hasn't hit me yet. I like, 'man, I just gotta get it home and try to score for my team.' It's an honor to be a Bulldog, man."
Caught up with @KeleeRingo on his game-clinching interception to lock up a Georgia national title pic.twitter.com/j5wYyPnhVp
— Justin Felder (@Justin_FOX5) January 11, 2022
Georgia's fate hung in the balance when Bennett lost a fumble near the beginning of the fourth quarter. Alabama was able to capitalize with a touchdown to take an 18-13 lead. Last time I checked though, Stetson Bennett AKA "The Mailman" still delivers on Mondays. Bennett led two ensuing touchdown drives to give his team the lead and became a UGA legend in the process.
Ringo's pick-six was the cherry on top.
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