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Orange Bowl recap: Georgia dominates Michigan to reach national title game

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

The rematch is set.

No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia will meet in the national championship game on Jan. 10 after the Bulldogs dominated No. 2 Michigan, jumping out early then cruising to a 34-11 victory in the Orange Bowl.

Stetson Bennett threw for 307 yards and three touchdowns as the Bulldogs (13-1) gained 515 total yards while their defense dominated, limiting Michigan’s rushing attack to just 88 yards as the Wolverines (12-2) turned the ball over three times allowed four sacks.

Cade McNamara threw for 106 yards and two interceptions and gave way to J.J. McCarthy for much of the fourth quarter. McCarthy had more success, going 7-for-17 for 131 yards and a touchdown, connecting with Andrel Anthony for a 35-yard touchdown with 4:25 left in the game.

Wolverines get late TD pass from McCarthy

Michigan finally found the end zone, though it won't likely affect the outcome of the game.

In for most of the fourth quarter, freshman quarterback J.J. McCarthy connected with fellow freshman Andrel Anthony for a 35-yard touchdown. A two-point conversion on a run from A.J. Henning capped off the drive.

Georgia 34, Michigan 11 (4:25 4th)

Another big play for the Bulldogs

The Bulldogs finally broke free and likely put the game away early in the fourth quarter as Stetson Bennett and James Cook connected for the second time.

This one was for 39 yards as Cook got behind the Michigan defense in what should ice the win for Georgia, which appears headed for the national title game.

Georgia 34, Michigan 3 (11:11 4th)

Michigan came close to the end zone, but even after J.J. McCarthy hit running back Donovan Edwards with a 43-yard pass to the Georgia 8, the Wolverines couldn't punch it in, turning it over on downs.

Georgia 34, Michigan 3 (7:00 4th)

Second turnover ends Michigan drive

Michigan opened the second half with one of its best drives of the game, however, once the Wolverines got inside the Georgia 20, things went the wrong way.

First, it was a false start penalty that pushed the ball back. Then it was Cade McNamara's second interception, this one in the end zone by Derion Kendrick, his second of the game, on a pass intended for Daylen Baldwin.

Georgia 27, Michigan 3 (10:02 3rd)

The Wolverines defense stood up for one of the first times in the game, forcing a three-and-out as the Bulldogs were forced to punt for the first time in the game.

Georgia 27, Michigan 3 (8:17 3rd)

The Wolverines were back to giving the ball away, unable to take advantage of the defensive stop.

This time it was a fumble by Blake Corum that the Bulldogs picked up at their 44.

Georgia 27, Michigan 3 (7:25 3rd)

Michigan got away with the turnover as Georgia was unable to put any points on the board. 

After moving to the Michigan 16, a pair of penalties pushed the Bulldogs back and Jack Podlesny missed a 45-yard field-goal attempt wide left.

Georgia 27, Michigan 3 (1:59 3rd)

The points have been tough to come by in the second half as Michigan's latest drive stalled at the Georgia at the Bulldogs' 41 when J.J. McCarthy's fourth-and-6 pass fell incomplete.

Georgia 27, Michigan 3 (14:46 4th)

All Georgia in the first half

Georgia dominated the first half, gaining 330 yards to just 101 for the Wolverines as Michigan had no answers for the Bulldogs' big plays.

Quarterback Stetson Bennett was outstanding, going 16-for-22 for 234 yards and two touchdowns as he had scoring passes of 9 yards and 57 yards.

On the other side, Michigan could do very little as its offensive line was being controlled by the Georgia defensive front.

The Wolverines managed just 29 rushing yards while Cade McNamara was 8-for-12 for 72 yards as he was under consistent pressure throughout the first half.

More: Watch: Highlights from Michigan-Georgia in the Orange Bowl

Georgia hits another big play to extend lead

Things are getting out hand late in the first half as the Bulldogs hit yet another big play, extending their lead less than two minutes before halftime.

This time it was a 57-yard pass from Stetson Bennett to Jermaine Burton as Michigan CB Vincent Gray appeared to quit on the play as Burton separated and raced into the end zone for the touchdown.

Georgia 27, Michigan 3 (1:38 2nd)

On Michigan's first play on the following possession, Cade McNamara had his pass intercepted by Derion Kendrick with 1:28 left in the half as the Bulldogs took over at the Michigan 49, which was pushed back to the Bulldogs' 36 after a targeting penalty.

Georgia 27, Michigan 3 (1:28 2nd)

Georgia answers with another FG

The Bulldogs responded to the Wolverines' field goal with one of their own as Jack Podlesny booted a 28-yarder to push Georgia's lead back to 17.

Georgia used another big play to spark the drive as Stetson Bennett hit James Cook with a 53-yard pass on third-and-3 to keep the Michigan defense on its heels.

Georgia 20, Michigan 3 (3:50 2nd)

Michigan went nowhere on its next drive, gaining just 2 yards as it went three-and-out and was forced to punt for the third time.

Georgia 20, Michigan 3 (2:15 2nd)

Moody field goal gets Michigan on the board

Michigan finally started getting something going offensively as Cade McNamara connected with Roman Wilson for a 42-yard pass that set up the Wolverines inside the Georgia 20.

A sack on the next play derailed the drive, however, and the Wolverines had to settle for a 36-yard field goal from Jake Moody

Georgia 17, Michigan 3 (7:16 2nd)

Michigan defense shows up, but Georgia extends lead

Michigan finally found a way to halt a Georgia drive, but the Bulldogs still managed to come away with points.

After failing to convert on third down at the Michigan 26, Jack Podlesny booted a 47-yard field goal to give the Bulldogs as 17-0 lead.

Georgia 17, Michigan 0 (12:26 2nd)

Georgia in control after one quarter

The first quarter was all Georgia as the No. 3 Bulldogs grabbed a 14-0 lead and were driving as the second quarter was about to begin.

Georgia has outgained Michigan, 141-42, while the Wolverines' running attack has yet to get going as Hassan Haskins has just 8 yards on three carries.

Trick play extends Georgia lead to 14-0

Things are getting out of hand quickly for the Wolverines. 

After failing on a fourth-down try on their first possession, Georgia kept its foot on the gas, using some trickery on its next drive as Kenny McIntosh threw a halfback pass to Adonai Mitchell for an 18-yard touchdown strike to put the Bulldogs up 14-0 just more than 10 minutes into the game. 

Georgia has outgained Michigan, 139-39.

Georgia 14, Michigan 0 (4:41 1st)

Michigan still can't find any offensive momentum, picking up just one first down on its second possession as Blake Corum goes nowhere on a short pass on third-and-16.

Georgia 14, Michigan 0 (1:10 1st)

Bulldogs strike first

It didn’t take the Bulldogs long to get on the board as Brock Bowers caught a 9-yard pass from Stetson Bennett to give Georgia a 7-0 lead on the first drive of the game.

Bowers was hard to stop on the opening possession with three catches, including a 35-yarder.

Georgia 7, Michigan 0 (10:49 1st)

Michigan took a risk early in the game, attempting to convert on a fourth-and-4 from the Georgia 41, but Cade McNamara's pass went incomplete to tight end Erick All.

Georgia 7, Michigan 0 (7:59 1st)


Just a few months ago, few expected a whole lot out of Michigan this season. Predictions varied, but the idea of winning the Big Ten East seemed far-fetched, let alone anything beyond that.

Yet, here are the Wolverines, Big Ten champions and the No. 2 team in the nation, set to take on No. 3 Georgia in the College Football Playoffs. The Orange Bowl matchup, the second of two semifinals, is an intriguing one, to be sure. It pits strength against strength as Michigan’s powerful offensive line and run game slams head on into Georgia’s No. 1-in-the-nation defense.

More: Dax Hill warms up with Michigan teammates, appears poised to play vs. Georgia

That matchup will be fascinating to see play out, but the bigger picture his what’s truly amazing. Jim Harbaugh’s team is in position to get another big win in a season full of them. Do that, and the Wolverines will play for a national championship.

That, alone, is a heck of a story, one the Wolverines hope doesn’t end in South Florida.

Follow along here for live updates from Matt Charboneau of The Detroit News.

No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 Georgia


Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida

TV/radio: ESPN/950

Records: UM 12-1; Georgia 12-1

Line: Georgia by 7.5