Alabama, Georgia advance to College Football Playoff National Championship

Alabama, Georgia advance to CFP National Championship originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

It will be an all-SEC battle in this season’s College Football Playoff National Championship. 

The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide and the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs will square off for a national title in a rematch of this year’s SEC Championship. The Crimson Tide have a chance to defend their championship from last season, while the Bulldogs are in the big game for the first time since 2017, where they fell to Alabama 26-23. 

While Georgia hasn’t won a national championship since 1980, Alabama has won three in the last six seasons. Nick Saban’s squad defeated Kirby Smart’s unit in the SEC Championship 41-24 a few weeks ago. 

Alabama advanced to its sixth national championship game in seven years after defeating No. 4 Cincinnati 27-6 on Friday in the Cotton Bowl.

Brian Robinson Jr. ran for a career-high 204 yards on 26 carries, allowing the Crimson Tide (13-1) to keep the ball on the ground and neutralize the Bearcats’ standout cornerback tandem of Ahmad Gardner and Coby Bryant.

Bryce Young completed 17 of 28 passes for 181 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Young connected with Slade Bolden for an eight-yard touchdown pass top open the scoring in the first. A 44-yard catch-and-run TD by Ja’Corey Brooks pushed the Alabama lead to 17-3 late in the second quarter. Young’s nine-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Latu early in the fourth made it 24-6, helping to seal the victory and put the Crimson Tide one win away from a second straight championship.

Brooks finished with 66 yards on four catches and Jameson Williams added 62 yards on seven catches.

It was the first loss of the season for the senior-laden Bearcats (13-1). Desmond Ridder went 17-for-32 for 144 yards, while Jerome Ford rushed for 77 yards on 15 carries.

Georgia took down Michigan 34-11 in the Orange Bowl to advance to the national championship. 

The Bulldogs jumped out to a 27-3 lead after the first half and didn’t look back. Stetson Bennett hit Brock Bowers with a nine-yard touchdown on Georgia’s opening drive for the early 7-0 lead. A trick play with wide receiver Kenny McIntosh throwing to Adonai Mitchell for an 18-yard catch-and-score doubled their lead. After two Georgia field goals and a Michigan field goal, Bennett hit Jermaine Burton for a 57-yard touchdown near the end of the first half to put an early dagger into the Wolverines. 

Bennett finished the game tossing 310 yards and three touchdowns while James Cook led all receivers in yards with 109 on four catches and a touchdown. The Bulldog’s backfield totaled 190 yards on the ground thanks to contributions from seven different rushers. 

Georgia’s defense was stellar yet again, allowing one touchdown that came in garbage time while forcing three turnovers, including two interceptions by Derion Kendrick.  

For Michigan, Cade McNamara struggled in the bright lights, ending the day completing 11 of 19 passes for 106 yards and two interceptions, including one in the Georgia end zone. J.J. McCarthy took over at QB in the third quarter and finished throwing for 131 yards and a touchdown. 

The Wolverines finished their season 12-2, missing out on a chance for their first national title since the 1997 season. 

Alabama and Georgia will meet in the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday, Jan. 10 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET.