ATLANTA, Georgia (WCMH) — The Ohio State Buckeyes season is over after falling to the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs 42-41 in the college football playoff semifinal at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta.
The Buckeyes entered the 4th quarter up by 14 points, but an 18-3 Georgia rally led the Bulldogs to the comeback and victory. OSU had a chance to win late with a 50-yard field goal by Noah Ruggles. His kick missed wide left and meant victory for the Bulldogs.
“I told the guys I’m proud of the way they played and I’m proud of the way they competed,” said Ohio State head coach Ryan Day. “I don’t think there is one guy in that locker room that doesn’t think we should have won that game.”
With the victory, Georgia will play TCU in Los Angeles for the national championship on Jan. 9. The Buckeyes end the season 11-2 with losses in its last two games against Michigan and Georgia.
Despite the loss, the Buckeyes offense put up huge numbers with 467 total yards of offense against one of the best defenses in college football. C.J. Stroud threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns while running for 34 yards. “That was the most fun game I’ve ever played in my life,” said Stroud. “We should have won the game.”
Wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. caught two touchdowns for 106 yards before leaving the game with an injury after taking a hard hit. Tight end Cade Stover also left the game early and was taken to the hospital for precautionary measures for back spasms.
In the postgame press conference, Day said Harrison Jr. did suffer a concussion but did not specify the severity of the injury.
A running game thread can be seen below:
13:11 Buckeyes start game with a punt
The Buckeyes started with the ball after Georgia deferred the coin toss. The first play was a quick 11-yard throw from C.J. Stroud to a slanting Marvin Harrison Jr. to move the chains. OSU was unable to grab another first down after three plays, with the drive ending with Stroud being sacked by Smael Mondon Jr., leading to a punt.
10:31: Georgia first drive ends with missed field goal
Georgia started fast on offense with Stetson Bennett completing three straight passes for 29 yards on three straight plays to get the Bulldogs past midfield. OSU’s defense was able to contain Georgia’s offensive momentum by forcing Bennett out of bounds on a 3rd and 1 scramble. Jack Podlesny stepped up and missed a 47-yard field goal wide right to keep the game scoreless.
8:16: Buckeyes take the lead through Harrison Jr. TD
Buckeyes began its next drive fast with Stroud finding a wide open Harrison Jr. for a 24 yard gain near midfield, followed by another first down throw to Riordin Stauffer for 13 yards to get past the Georgia 40. On the next play, Stroud scrambled right and pointed towards Harrison Jr., who got himself open in the end zone and catch a 31-yard touchdown to open the scoring.
The star Buckeye receiver got up to 66 yards on three catches after that touchdown.
3:15: Georgia answers with 75-yard TD drive
Ohio State added to its momentum with Zach Harrison swallowing Ladd McConkey in the backfield for a seven-yard loss. Georgia was able to keep the drive alive with Bennett finding Dominick Blaylock for a 20-yard gain on a fade route on 3rd and 10. Bulldogs kept it up getting two more first downs with a run from Daijun Edwards and the first catch and run for superstar tight end Brock Bowers.
The touchdown finally came on the eighth play of the drive as a quick screen pass to Kenny McIntosh and great blocking gave him a lane to a 25-yard touchdown.
0:00: Buckeyes convert third downs to end quarter
Three straight running plays got the Buckeyes a first down to avoid the first three-and-out of the game. Miyan Williams gained six yards on those three plays. On 3rd and 1 after a Cade Stover hurdle, Stroud found a darting Emeka Egbuka for another third down conversion on the final play of the quarter.
12:30: Williams powers Buckeyes back into lead
The second quarter began with another big catch and run from Harrison Jr. for 27 yards. He fumbled the ball as Kelee Ringo tackle him but the ball bounced out of bounds to remain with OSU. A 3rd down throw to the end zone went too far by the flags flew in favor of the Buckeyes as Georgia was called for pass interference.
After OSU’s first timeout, Williams powered through the Georgia defensive line to give the Buckeyes the lead back.
12:20: Steele Chambers picks off Bennett
The first play of Georgia’s drive was the game’s first turnover. Bennett threw it right to Steele Chambers for the interception, who returned it 15 yards to the Georgia 30.
10:56: Stroud dances, finds Harrison for another TD
Ohio State padded its lead after the INT with a third touchdown. Stroud faced pressure and danced around three Georgia defenders to avoid a sack and found Harrison Jr. in the corner of the end zone for his second TD. The extra point made it 21-7 OSU with both Stroud and Harrison Jr. eclipsing 100 yards.
9:16: Georgia quickly gets its second TD
Bulldogs regained its composure with an opening 21 yard run from McIntosh to begin this mid-second quarter drive. Bennett then completed a huge 47-yard throw to Arian Smith to get Georgia into the red zone. On the very next play, Kendall Milton put his shoulder down for an 11-yard TD run to make it a seven-point deficit.
7:41: Buckeyes go three-and-out, Stroud sacked
The first three-and-out of the game happened for the Buckeyes offense. The 3rd down play saw Stroud sacked by Mykel Williams, the second sack of the day for the Bulldogs defense. Jesse Mirco’s punt put Georgia back on its own 38.
6:07: Georgia ties it with third rushing TD
Just like that and it became a tie game. McIntosh ran free for what was going to be a long TD run until the turf monster got him and stopped him 10 yards shy of the end zone. Two plays later, Bennett scrambled for his second total touchdown to tie it at 21.
4:12: Penalty negates 4th down conversion
After not gaining 10 yards on the first three plays, Buckeyes went for it on 4th and 1 and Stroud had an easy lane for a first down. The play was called back on an illegal motion penalty by Mitch Rossi, negating the play and forcing OSU’s third punt of the day.
1:44: Georgia takes first lead
Georgia continued punishing the Buckeyes on big plays, converting a 3rd down with a 28-yard gain on a Rosemy-Jacksaint catch. OSU’s defense forced a Georgia 4th down and Day called the Buckeyes last timeout before the play. Georgia tried to force OSU’s defensive line to jump put called a timeout instead and brought on the special teams unit.
Podlesny kicked a 32-yard field goal to give Georgia a 24-21 lead, its first lead and extend to 17 unanswered points.
0:49: Buckeyes score on 49-second drive
With no timeouts, Stroud completed four straight passes in 49 seconds on a 75-yard drive. It ended with a 37-yard lob to Xavier Johnson for Stroud’s third TD of the first half and to give OSU the lead back.
Passing: OSU’s C.J. Stroud (15-19, 238 yds, 3 TD) – UGA’s Stetson Bennett (12-19, 191 yds, TD, INT)
Rushing: OSU’s Dallan Hayden (5 carries, 12 yds) – UGA’s Kenny McIntosh (2 carries, 56 yds)
Receiving: OSU’s Marvin Harrison Jr. (5 catches, 106 yds, 2 TD) – UGA’s Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint (2 catches, 34 yards)
Total Yards: Ohio State (248) – Georgia (313)
3rd Downs: Ohio State (2-5) – Georgia (1-5)
Turnovers: Ohio State (0) – Georgia (1)
Red Zone: Ohio State (2-2) – Georgia (4-4)
Average Yards/Play: Ohio State (7.8 yds) – Georgia (9.8 yds)
13:56: Bulldogs punt to begin second half
Georgia received the ball to begin the second half and did nothing on its first drive. Bulldogs punted after going three-and-out, getting the Buckeyes behind their own 30-yard line.
10:37: Stroud finds Egbuka for another TD
Stroud stayed hot to start the third quarter as he executed a six-play, 70-yard touchdown drive to give the Buckeyes a 35-24 lead. The TD was a 10-yard run and catch for Egbuka to give Stroud his fourth TD pass of the day.
Shortly after the TD, news came through that tight end Cade Stover was taken to a local hospital for precautionary reasons with back spasms.
8:15: OSU defense stops Georgia again
The Buckeyes defense just raised the hype for OSU fans as they stopped Georgia’s offense again. After a first play, first down run by McIntosh, Bulldogs were stopped on three straight plays and punted back to a red-hot Buckeye offense.
6:07: Buckeyes punt out of own end zone
Georgia got a key stop on the Buckeyes thanks to a blind side sack by Javon Bullard and an illegal substitution penalty, which pinned OSU back inside its own 5. The punt was returned by Georgia’s Kearis Jackson to the Buckeye 32.
3:50: 3rd down sack forces Georgia missed field goal
With a short field, Georgia could not capitalize and get six points. Bennett had the pocket collapse on him on 3rd down with Harrison and Javontae Jean-Baptiste sacking him. On the 52-yard field goal attempt, Podlesy missed it to the right, his second miss of the day.
0:31: Harrison Jr. takes big hit, heads to medical tent
The Buckeyes drove down to the red zone again but fans held their collective breath after star receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. took a big hit. On 3rd and goal, Stroud just launched the ball out of the back of the end zone and Harrison was hit hard by Bullard, causing him to stay down injured.
On 4th and goal, Noah Ruggles hit a chip shot field goal to extend the Buckeyes lead to 14 points. Bullard’s hit was not called for targeting.
10:14: Georgia cuts into OSU lead
The first drive of the fourth quarter was another dead end for the Bulldogs. On 4th and 1 in the red zone, Bennett threw to Brock Bowers who the refs initially said missed the first down by one-yard before a review reversed the decision.
Georgia still could not get into the end zone for six with OSU’s defense holding them again to a field goal attempt. Podlesny nailed a 31-yard kick to make it a 38-27 Buckeye lead.
8:58: Fake punt stopped by timeout
Buckeyes had a quick three-and-out on its first fourth quarter drive. On the punt play, they ran a gutsy fake that resulted in a first down, but Georgia head coach Kirby Smart called a timeout before the snap got off. Mirco’s punt after the timeout got the Bulldogs inside its own 25.
8:41: Georgia scores 76-yard TD to make it three-point game
The first explosive passing TD allowed by OSU happened in the fourth as Bennett threw a bomb down to a glaringly wide open Arian Smith for a 76-yard touchdown. A two-point conversion successfully executed by Georgia made is a three-point game.
2:43: Buckeyes go up six late
Buckeyes executed a good clock killing drive, but were unable to seal the game with a touchdown. Ruggles kicked a 48-yard field goal attempt down the middle to give OSU a six-point lead with less than three minutes left.
Georgia scores go-ahead touchdown with 54 seconds left
After being down 14 to start the quarter, the Bulldogs took the lead after Bennett threw a 10-yard TD pass to Mitchell to tie the game. The extra point gave Georgia a one-point lead and OSU 54 seconds to drive down the field for a field goal.
Ruggles misses 50-yard field goal in final seconds
Stroud had a huge 27 yard scramble to get the Buckeyes in field goal range with 24 seconds left. With five seconds remaining, Ruggles lined up for a 50-yard field goal that would have won the game for Ohio State. He missed it wide left which sealed the victory for the Bulldogs, whose 18-3 fourth quarter rally took them to its second straight national championship game.