January 1, 2023

No. 4 Ohio State Falls to No. 1 Georgia, 42-41, in CFP Semifinal


COLUMBUS, Ohio – No. 4 Ohio State (11-2) fell to No. 1 Georgia (14-0) in the second College Football Playoff semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Saturday.

The Buckeyes had a chance to win late but a 50-yard field goal attempt missed left, securing a 42-41 Georgia victory.

Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud completed 23-of-34 passes for 348 yards and four touchdowns. A pair of receivers went for more than 100 yards on the night with Emeka Egbuka leading with 112 yards and a touchdown. Marvin Harrison Jr. added 106 yards and two scores.

Lathan Ransom led the defense with nine tackles.

No. 4 Ohio State 7 | No. 1 Georgia 7

Georgia won the coin toss and deferred to the second half giving the Buckeyes the ball to open the game.

Ohio State started from its 25 after the touchback on the opening kickoff. After driving to the OSU39, Georgia sacked Buckeyes’ quarterback C.J. Stroud for a 10-yard loss at the OSU29, forcing Ohio State to punt.

The Bulldogs started their first drive at the UGA26 after a Jesse Mirco 45-yard punt.

Georgia drove to the Ohio State 29 before attempting a 47-yard field goal that missed wide left.

Stroud then hit Marvin Harrison Jr. for a 24-yard gain before Emeka Egbuka grabbed another Stroud pass for 13-yards to cross into Georgia territory at the UGA47.

Two plays later, Stroud and Harrison Jr. connected for a 31-yard score in the middle of the endzone. Stroud had ample protection from the Ohio State offensive line before Harrison Jr. found an opening and Stroud delivered the scoring strike.

WATCH: Marvin Harrison Jr. TD Reception

The drive covered 71 yards on four plays over 2:15 to give Ohio State the early 7-0 lead.

The Bulldogs answered on their next possession driving 75 yards on eight plays to make it 7-all. The final play was a 25-yard touchdown pass from Stetson Bennett to Kenny McIntosh with 3:15 left in the opening quarter.

The Buckeyes drove to the OSU47 on a 13-yard Stroud pass to Egbuka for a first down to end the quarter.

No. 4 Ohio State 28 | No. 1 Georgia 24

Stroud hit Harrison Jr. for a 24-yard gain to the UGA16 to open the second quarter.

Georgia was called for a pass interference on an Ohio State third-down play from the UGA12 to place the ball at the Bulldogs 2-yard line.

Two plays later Miyan Williams powered his way for a 2-yard rushing touchdown to put the Buckeyes up 14-7. The drive covered 75 yards on 11 plays over 5:45.

Bennett was intercepted by Ohio State’s Steel Chambers on the first play of Georgia’s next drive.

Chambers caught the ball at the UGA45 and returned it 15 yards to the UGA30.

On Ohio State’s third play after the turnover, Stroud scrambled and delivered a strike to Harrison Jr. in the back right corner of the endzone for a 16-yard touchdown.

The scoring drive, the third-consecutive for the Buckeyes, that made it 21-7 Ohio State covered 30 yards on three plays over 1:24.

Georgia scored quickly to make it 21-14 Buckeyes with an 11-yard Kendall Milton rushing touchdown. The big play of the drive was a 47-yard pass from Bennett to Arian Smith to set up the score. The four-play, 75-yard drive used 1:40.

The Bulldogs defense forced the Buckeyes to punt on Ohio State’s next possession. Mirco connected for a 43-yard effort to the give the Bulldogs the ball at the UGA38.

Georgia tied the game at 21-all on its next possession after a drive of 75 yards on three plays. Bennett scored on a 3-yard run after McIntosh rushed for 52-yards on the first play of the drive to set up the game-tying effort.

Ohio State punted on its next possession after driving to the OSU30. Georgia got the ball back after a 38-yard Mirco boot to the UGA32.

Georgia took the lead on a 32-yard field goal with 1:44 left in the half after an eight-play, 53-yard drive to give the Bulldogs a 24-21 advantage.

The Buckeyes quickly reclaimed the lead on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Stroud to Xavier Johnson to put Ohio State back on top 28-24. The drive took just 55 seconds and covered 75-yards on four plays.

Georgia was not able to move the ball on its final possession to end the half with Ohio State in the lead 28-24.

No. 4 Ohio State 38 | No. 1 Georgia 24

Georgia started the second half with the ball but Ohio State’s defense did not allow a first down. The Bulldogs punted giving the Buckeyes the ball at the OSU30 after a 37-yard punt.

Ohio State’s offensive line gave Stroud ample time to complete three passes during a six-play scoring drive that put the Buckeyes on top 35-24.

Stroud connected with Julian Fleming for 25 yards, Egbuka for 19 and then Egbuka again for a 10-yard touchdown to complete the 70-yard drive with 10:37 left in the third quarter.

WATCH: Emeka Egbuka TD Reception

Georgia punted again on its next possession. The Buckeyes took over after a 52-yard kick to the OSU10.

Ohio State did not move the ball and punted. Mirco, standing in the Ohio State endzone, delivered a 50-yard punt that was returned to the OSU32.

The Buckeye defense held again, sacking Bennett at the OSU34 to set up a 52-yard Georgia field goal attempt that missed wide right.

The Buckeyes then took over at its 34.

Stroud guided the Buckeyes to the UGA7 where Noah Ruggles connected on a 25-yard field goal to put Ohio State up 38-24 with 31 seconds to go.

The quarter ended after Georgia ran one play, a 17-yard pass to the UGA42.

No. 4 Ohio State 41 | No. 1 Georgia 42

Georgia converted on a fourth-and-6 from the OSU13 to the OSU7 to keep a drive alive deep in Ohio State territory but the Buckeye defense kept the Bulldogs out of the endzone nonetheless. Georgia made a 31-yard field goal to make it 38-27 Buckeyes with 10:14 to play.

The drive covered 62 yards on 12 plays over 5:17.

Ohio State had to punt on its next possession giving the Bulldogs the ball back at the UGA24.

Georgia struck on the first play of the drive with a 76-yard score from Bennett to Arian Smith to make it 38-35 after the Bulldogs converted on a 2-point conversion.

Stroud and the Buckeyes drove to UGA 30 where Ruggles connected on a 48-yard field goal to put the Buckeyes up 41-35 with 2:43 left to play.

Georgia returned the ensuing kickoff to the UGA28.

The Bulldogs then drove 72 yards to score the go-ahead touchdown with just under a minute to play to take a 42-41 lead. Bennett found Adonai Mitchell for the touchdown in the back left of the endzone.

Stroud drove the Buckeyes to the UGA32 with a 27-yard rush up the middle to set up a Ruggles 50-yard game-winning field goal attempt that missed the mark.