Jan 9, 2023; Inglewood, CA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) holds the trophy after winning the CFP national championship game against the TCU Horned Frogs at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

CFP title game notebook: Georgia makes history with blowout

It didn’t even take a full half for Georgia to show that it was eager to defend its national championship against a TCU squad that was looking to cap a magical season on a high note.

The Bulldogs took just 21 1/2 minutes to establish a 24-7 lead, went into intermission up by 31 and went on to finish with the most points in a College Football Playoff title game, downing the Horned Frogs 65-7 to become the first-ever back-to-back CFP champions.

After being picked to finish seventh in the Big 12 Preseason Poll, TCU exceeded expectations to become the first team to represent the conference on the biggest stage.

However, the Horned Frogs were unable to oust the top team in the nation at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., where a number of players featured in Monday’s game could be spending a handful of their Sundays next season.

–The 58-point drubbing marked the largest margin of victory in a bowl game in college football history. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the win is also the second-largest margin over a top-five opponent, taking the back seat to No. 1 Army’s 59-0 victory over No. 5 Notre Dame back in 1944.

–Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett was stellar, completing 18 of 25 passes for 304 yards and four touchdowns. The Heisman Trophy finalist also rushed for a pair of scores to finish with six total, matching Joe Burrow’s CFP championship game record, which was set in 2020.

–Quarterback Max Duggan provided TCU’s only points, scoring on a 2-yard keeper with 4:45 left in the first quarter. The TD pulled the Horned Frogs within 10-7, but the Bulldogs went on to rattle off 55 unanswered points.

–Prior to Monday, TCU had scored at least 28 points in 13 of 14 games this season. In the other game — a win against Texas on Nov. 12 — the Horned Frogs totaled 17, but hadn’t scored less than 10 since a 24-6 loss to West Virginia on Nov. 14, 2020.

–Defensive back Javon Bullard was a defensive catalyst for Georgia in the first half, picking off Duggan twice and also recovering a fumble. He didn’t play in the second half, though, due to a shoulder injury.

–The Bulldogs outgained TCU 589-188 and picked up 32 first downs to the Horned Frogs’ nine. TCU’s offense was especially stagnant following the break, totaling just 67 yards, only 12 of which came on the ground.

–“As long as you don’t have entitlement in your program, you got a shot,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “And right now we don’t have that. It’s creeping — games like tonight make it that way — but we got a lot of humble guys.”

–Many sportsbooks had the over/under of Monday’s game at 62.5. Georgia covered the over by itself when Branson Robinson rushed for a 19-yard TD with 7:23 left to play.

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2021; New Orleans, LA, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) celebrates with head coach Ryan Day after defeating the Clemson Tigers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Ohio State COVID-19 issues could delay title game

The College Football Playoff championship game between Ohio State and Alabama set for Monday could get pushed back a week due to COVID-19 issues within the Buckeyes’ program, AL.com reported Tuesday.

The Buckeyes have communicated that they could be without a position group due to testing and COVID-19 protocols, per the report.

Jan. 18 has already been scheduled as a makeup date for the title game if it were postponed.

However, multiple news outlets reported that as of Tuesday afternoon, Ohio State is planning to play as scheduled on Jan. 11.

“We’re following the same protocols we followed all season long,” said Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith, per ESPN. “We intend to play on January 11th, and we continue to communicate with the Big Ten and now the CFP, so at this point in time, we see the game being played. But who knows what tomorrow will bring? That’s COVID. We’re on track right now.”

“I can tell you there are no changes,” College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock told ESPN on Tuesday. “The game is scheduled for January 11th as planned and we look forward to it.”

The game will be played at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

The Buckeyes were without 22 players in the Big Ten championship game and 16 in the CFP semifinal game against Clemson due to COVID-19 issues.

–Field Level Media