Georgia defeated TCU in the Liberty Bowl on Friday by a score of 31-23. Highlight reel plays by Georgia helped them overcome a somewhat sloppy game for them. Nick Chubb ran for 142 yards and a touchdown, while Sony Michel added 126 total yards and another 2 touchdowns. Jacob Eason threw for 164 yards and 2 scores, hooking up with Isaiah McKenzie for 103 of those yards.
However, TCU also had some offensive fireworks of their own. Kenny “Trill” Hill, the former Texas A&M standout, totaled 146 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air and 72 yards and another touchdown on the ground. John Diarse had a pair of short scores through the air for the Horned Frogs.
This was a back and forth affair, but TCU’s special teams proved to be their weak link. Two missed field goals and a missed extra point by Brandon Hatfield held TCU back.
After both teams exchanged punts to begin the game, Sony Michel was able to punch in a 4 yard touchdown two plays after a 77 yard connection from Eason to McKenzie. Another exchange of punts led to a long TCU drive that stalled at the Georgia 22 yard line. Hatfield connected on a 40 yard field goal to cut Georgia’s early lead to four points.
On the first play of the ensuing Georgia drive, Tipa Galeai sacked Eason and forced a fumble. Mat Boesen recovered it, and set TCU up at the Georgia 21 yard line. Hill took it in from 10 yards out to make it 9-7. Hatfield, looking to give the Horned Frogs a 3 point lead, proceeded to miss the extra point.
Hill later connected with Diarse for the first of his two scores. Yet another Georgia punt led to good starting field position for TCU. Hill ran 45 yards to get to the Georgia 20. However, the drive stalled, and Hatfield missed a 41 yard field goal.
Georgia then mounted a long drive, capping it off with a 33 yard touchdown catch by the elusive Michel to make the score 16-14, cutting their deficit down to two points.
Then, Lorenzo Carter strip-sacked Hill, and gave the Bulldogs some hope to take the lead before halftime. However, Rodrigo Blankenship was unable to connect on a 53 yard field goal as the half expired.
TCU received the kick for the second half, but proceeded to fumble again. The Bulldogs capitalized on the turnover, going 52 yards and scoring on a 4 yard touchdown to Javon Wims.
Later in the 3rd Quarter, John Diarse had his second touchdown of the day, making the score 23-21 in favor of the Frogs. It would be their last score of the day, as Georgia’s defense shut down TCU for the entire fourth quarter. Blankenship, the Georgia kicker known for his glasses, hit a 30 yard field goal to make the lead 24-23.
Chubb then had an elusive 48 yard run late in the game. He capped it off with a 13 yard touchdown a few plays later, and iced the game with 27 yard run for good measure.
DeAndre Baker broke up a 4th and 4 pass by Hill to seal the Liberty Bowl win. TCU finishes with a losing season for the third time in the last 16 seasons under Gary Patterson, while Georgia finishes at 8-5 in Kirby Smart’s first year at the helm for the Bulldogs.
Next: The offseason.
Notes: Georgia should be a contender in the SEC next year with a year of experience for Jacob Eason and Kirby Smart…TCU had a down year this year, as losing Trevone Boykin to the NFL has been a big blow. Patterson’s Horned Frogs hope to bounce back and be contenders next year.