Looking to cap off its perfect season, No. 8 Cincinnati was also looking to prove itself against No. 9 Georgia in the Peach Bowl.
The Bearcats controlled the game for three quarters, however, the Bulldogs put together a big fourth quarter to rally for a 24-21 victory.
Georgia kick Jack Podlesny kicked a 53-yard field goal with three seconds remaining — tying a Peach Bowl record for longest field goal — and the Bulldog defense recorded a safety to end the game and give Cincinnati its only loss of the season.
Georgia quarterback JT Daniels completed 26 of 38 passes for 392 yards and a touchdown and Zamir White added a touchdown on the ground to lead the Bulldogs to victory. George Pickens was Daniels’ favorite target as the speedy receiver hauled in seven catches for 135 yards and a touchdown, including an amazing diving catch in the first half.
With the win, Daniels, a transfer from USC, improved to 4-0 in starts for the Bulldogs this season as the team capped off the year with an 8-2 record.
Georgia’s defense also came to play as the Bulldogs tied a school record with eight sacks. Azeez Ojulari led the way with a game-high three sacks. Including the sacks, the defense held Cincinnati dual-threat quarterback Desmond Ridder to -17 yards rushing on 15 carries. Ridder came into the game with more than 600 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns on the season, but couldn’t break free against a stingy Georgia defense. Ridder did throw two touchdown passes, however, the junior only threw for 206 yards.
The Bearcats were motivated to use the Peach Bowl to gain national respect, with Cincinnati Head Coach Luke Fickell telling reporters that the game was a measuring stick for the program.
“We’re not there yet,” Fickell said. “That’s what keeps motivating you, and I think that, you know, there’s a lot of things we’re going to take from this that we know we can do.”
It didn’t help that Cincinnati was playing without two of its star defensive backs in cornerback Ahmad Gardner (back) and safety James Wiggins (calf). Both were two AP second-team All-Americans. The Bearcats were also without star running back Gerrid Doaks (ankle) who led the team in rushing (673 yards, 7 TDs).
Cincinnati: Ridder, is expected to announce his plans for 2021, a decision which could shape the Bearcats’ offseason. If he stays, the Bearcats will likely start in the Top 10 in the polls and could have a real shot at making the College Football Playoff.
Georgia: The Bulldogs, who are expected to return most of their top skill position players on offense, will open their 2021 season with a high-profile game against Clemson in Charlotte, North Carolina.