Ohio State

No. 4 Ohio State falls to No. 1 Georgia in CFP semifinal

ATLANTA — The Ohio State Buckeyes run in the 2022 College Football Playoff came to an end in a 42-41 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs Saturday night in the Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Buckeyes led 38-24 heading into the fourth quarter but Bulldog quarterback Stetson Bennett threw a pair of touchdown passes, including one to Adonai Mitchell with 54 seconds remaining. Ohio State had a chance to win it but Noah Ruggles missed a 50-yard field goal with three seconds left.

Georgia advances to the CFP National Championship game on January 9. They will play TCU at Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles. The Horned Frogs beat Michigan, 51-45, in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona.

Ohio State ends the season with an 11-2 record.

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The Buckeyes got on the board first when C.J. Stroud threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Harrison Jr to give them a 7-0 lead with 8:16 left in the first quarter. The Bulldogs responded with a 25-yard touchdown catch by Kenny McIntosh to tie the game at 7-7 after one quarter.

Miyan Williams’ two-yard touchdown run reclaimed the lead for Ohio State, 14-7. Steele Chambers intercepted Bennett’s pass on Georgia’s next drive and Stroud fired a 31-yard touchdown pass to Harrison to extend the lead to 21-7. Kendall Milton’s 11-yard touchdown run by the Bulldogs got them within seven, 21-14, with 9:16 left until halftime.

Bennett’s three-yard touchdown run tied the game at 21-21. Jack Podlesny made a 32-yard field goal to give the Bulldogs a 24-21 advantage with 1:44 remaining in the first half. But it took the Buckeyes only 55 seconds to back on top as Stroud found Xavier Johnson for a 37-yard touchdown strike to give the Buckeyes a 28-24 halftime lead.

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Georgia went three-and-out to start the third quarter and Stroud connected with Emeka Egbuka for a 10-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 35-24. Ruggles added a 25-yard field goal with 31 seconds left to put Ohio State ahead, 38-24, after three.

Harrison was hurt on the previous play on a hard hit by Bulldog defensive back Javon Bullard. It was initially called for targeting but replay officials reversed it setting up a fourth down and Ruggles’ field goal. Harrison did not return.

Podlesny’s 31-yard field goal with 10:14 left in the fourth quarter got Georgia within 11 points, 38-27. Ohio State went three-and-out and on Georgia’s next drive, Bennett threw a 76-yard touchdown to Arian Smith and the two-point conversion cut it to 38-35. The Buckeyes drove to the Bulldog 18-yard line but Stroud was sacked for loss of 12-yards and they had to settle for a 48-yard field by Ruggles to lead, 41-35, with 2:43 remaining.

Bennett threw a 35-yard pass to Kearis Jackson to the Buckeye 15-yard line and two plays later, Adonai Mitchell’s 10-yard touchdown pass gave the Bulldogs a 42-41 lead.

Ohio State drove to Georgia’s 31-yard line with 19 seconds left but Dallan Hayden was stopped for one-yard loss and Stroud threw two straight incomplete passes setting up Ruggles’ 50-yard field goal attempt with eight seconds to play. His attempt went wide left and the Bulldogs ran out the clock.

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Stroud went 23 of 34 for 348 yards and four touchdowns. Emeka Egbuka caught 8 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown. Harrison had five catches for 106 yards and a a pair of touchdowns.

Bennett also completed 23 of 34 passes for 398 yards and three touchdowns. Arian Smith had three receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown.

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