Happy New Year: Georgia rallies to upend Cincinnati in bowl, end season on high note

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The final game of Georgia’s 2020 campaign played out much like the entire season.

The No. 9 Bulldogs (8-2) struggled through most of the first three quarters of the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl on Friday against No. 8 Cincinnati (9-1). Then, in the closing stretch, the Bulldogs erupted and emerged with a come-from-behind victory by a score of 24-21.

It started on Cincinnati’s first drive of the fourth quarter with Georgia trailing 21-10. On third-and-7, redshirt sophomore linebacker Azeez Ojulari flew around the edge and stripped Bearcat quarterback Desmond Ridder. Junior linebacker Adam Anderson recovered at the Cincinnati 25-yard line, putting the Bulldogs in business.

Two plays later, redshirt sophomore running back Zamir White scampered into the end zone from nine yards out. Georgia trailed 21-16 after a failed two-point conversion, but the team had woken up.

The defense kept Georgia in the game all afternoon, and they did so once again by forcing a Bearcat punt following the score. After passes of 42 yards to redshirt sophomore Kearis Jackson and 23 yards to sophomore George Pickens, the Bulldogs had a first down at the 10.

Georgia bogged down, with sophomore Jack Podlesny connecting on a field goal to make it 21-19. After a few punt exchanges, the Bulldogs took over on their own 20 with 1:28 to play and no timeouts.

Daniels led the team down the field, setting up a 53-yard field goal attempt from Podlesny. The first-year kicker drilled it, sending the ball through the uprights and Georgia into the offseason with a thrilling last-second victory.

The Bulldogs had to come back after an up-and-down first half. They rallied to take a 10-7 lead after falling behind 7-0, but a late Ridder touchdown pass gave the Bearcats a 14-10 lead at the break.

Cincinnati extended the lead to 21-10 with a 79-yard scoring run from Jerome Ford on the second play after the half. The Bulldogs struggled most of the third quarter, but then rallied for the win in the final period.

PEACH BOWL: 3 GEORGIA STARS OF THE GAME

J.T. Daniels – Daniels didn’t have his best game, as he threw one interception in the end zone and lost a fumble in the second half. Still, he proved he’s the man for the Georgia quarterback job going forward. He completed 26-of-38 passes for 392 yards and one touchdown, also leading the game-winning drive in the closing minutes.

George Pickens – There’s just something about bowl games for Georgia’s star sophomore receiver. Pickens followed up a huge Sugar Bowl performance last season with a strong Peach Bowl, hauling in seven receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown. He also provided a typical show-stopping highlight reel catch, hauling in a bomb from Daniels with a full layout grab.

Jack Podlesny – How could Podlesny not be a star? The guy that replaced Rodrigo Blankenship etched his own name in Georgia history, bombing in a 53-yard field goal with just three seconds to play to give the Bulldogs the comeback victory.

PEACH BOWL SCORE, STATS: GEORGIA VS. CINCINNATI

——First Quarter——

CIN—Pierce 14 pass from Ridder (Co.Smith kick), 4:38.

UGA—Pickens 16 pass from Daniels (Podlesny kick), :29.

——Second Quarter——

UGA—FG Podlesny 37, 3:46.

CIN—Whyle 11 pass from Ridder (Co.Smith kick), :06.

——Third Quarter——

CIN—Ford 79 run (Co.Smith kick), 14:11.

——Fourth Quarter——

UGA—Z.White 9 run (run failed), 13:20.

UGA—FG Podlesny 32, 6:43.

UGA—FG Podlesny 53, :07.

UGA—safety, :00.

——TEAM STATS——

  • First downs: UGA 19-16
  • Rush yards: CIN 99-45
  • Pass yards UGA 404-206
  • Time of possession: CIN 31:24-28:36

——INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS——

RUSHING—Georgia, Z.White 11-39, McIntosh 5-17, Milton 4-10, (Team) 1-(minus 1), Daniels 3-(minus 20). Cincinnati, Ford 8-97, Jam.Smith 1-9, Montgomery 1-7, Tucker 1-6, (Team) 1-(minus 3), Ridder 15-(minus 17).

PASSING—Georgia, Bennett 1-1-0-12, Daniels 26-38-1-392. Cincinnati, Ridder 24-37-0-206.

RECEIVING—Georgia, Pickens 7-135, McIntosh 5-43, FitzPatrick 4-41, K.Jackson 3-47, Washington 3-46, A.Smith 1-55, Milton 1-22, J.Burton 1-6, Z.White 1-5, Robertson 1-4. Cincinnati, J.Jackson 5-28, M.Young 4-59, Whyle 3-35, Pierce 3-28, Labelle 2-20, Ford 2-15, Montgomery 2-4, J.Jones 1-8, L.Taylor 1-5, T.Scott 1-4.

MISSED FIELD GOALS—Cincinnati, Co.Smith 33.

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