No. 3 TCU football drops national championship to No. 1 Georgia, historic season ends


Tristen Smith

The Hypnotoad became a famous theme throughout TCU’s playoff run. A Hypnotoad poster was left covered in Georgia confetti after TCU lost the national championship 65-7, Jan. 9, 2023. (Tristen Smith/Staff Photographer)

By Micah Pearce, Staff Writer

The TCU Horned Frogs couldn’t add a national title to their historic storyline, dropping the national championship 65-7 to the repeat-champion Georgia Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs put up the most points against an opponent in the College Football Playoff title game, breaking Alabama’s record of 35 against Ohio State in 2021.

The Bulldogs scored on every drive in the first half with five touchdowns and one field goal. They ended the first half with 371 total yards compared to TCU’s 121.

Georgia only punted once in the game, on the first drive of the second half.

TCU’s defense couldn’t keep up with Georgia’s offense. The Bulldogs had blockers where they needed to open up a lane for a running back or a receiver. TCU left open holes and Georgia’s offense found them every time.

“We dug such a big hole for ourselves [because] we never could get them stopped, defensively,” said head coach Sonny Dykes. “We never could get out of our own way on offense.”

The Frogs failed to get enough yardage to put themselves in a position to score.

Coming into the game, the Bulldogs gave up an average of 16 first downs per game. TCU’s offense only moved the chains nine times.

The Frogs allowed 20.4 first downs on average coming into the game. Georgia had 32 first downs against them on Monday.

Duggan was sacked five times, tying a season-high from games against SMU and Texas. He threw for 152 yards, his lowest of the season only behind his 124 yards against Texas.

“We were shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Duggan. “I held onto the ball a little bit too long which caused trouble for the [offensive] line.”

Duggan also couldn’t connect with his normal go-to wide receiver, Quentin Johnston. He had just one 3-yard reception on three targets.

TCU’s wide receiver Quentin Johnston had one reception on three targets in TCU’s 65-7 loss to Georgia in the national championship, Jan. 9, 2023. (Tristen Smith/Staff Photographer)

Johnston is a junior, but he is projected to be a first-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft. He can be added to the list of Horned Frogs that won’t return next year.

The Bulldogs only allowed one touchdown, which was a rushing touchdown via the legs of Duggan. It was the first game he started this season in which he didn’t record a passing touchdown.

The Frogs didn’t help their case, giving possession back to Georgia on two interceptions and a fumble. The Frog defense couldn’t make stops, so Georgia took advantage of the turnovers.

The Bulldogs had the ball for 18:47 of the first half. The Frogs only had possession for 11:13.

The work was done in the first half. The second half just added insult to injury. Georgia didn’t want to leave any doubt that it’s the best team in college football.

The team added 27 points to the board.

The Georgia media team took a shot at TCU’s Hypnotoad in the 3rd quarter.

After the end of the third quarter, the Bulldogs just had to run the ball and keep the clock rolling to clinch their second consecutive national title.

Georgia pulled senior quarter back Stetson Bennett so he could exit his last game to a standing ovation. The rest of the seniors got the same treatment when the next timeout was called.

Bennett finished the game with 304 yards passing, four passing touchdowns and zero interceptions.

He also added 39 yards rushing and two rushing touchdowns.

“He had the best game of his career,” said Georgia’s head coach Kirby Smart.

The Frogs tried a last-chance, desperate fourth-down conversion on their own 29-yard line six yards away from the marker. Duggan was sacked for a loss of 10.

Georgia took advantage of the tired TCU defense and scored on the very next play, making it 65-7.

“It was week 22 for us,” said Dykes. “For the players to practice like they did 22 weeks into the season, it’s a real credit to them.”

Whatever Frog faithfuls remained wore dismay amid the blowout.

TCU fans stand in a sea of empty seats while Georgia piles onto its lead in the national championship. Jan 9, 2023. (Tristen Smith/Staff Photographer)

For Dykes, that was one of the hardest parts about the outcome.

“It’s one of the things that’s most disappointing,” said Dykes. “You hate it for your players and your fans that traveled all the way to LA.”

He was appreciative of their support, though.

“I know flights and tickets were expensive and it was hard to do,” said Dykes. “And our fans answered the call every time we asked them to do something.”

Georgia ended up controlling the football for 36:59 compared to TCU’s 23:01.

The Frogs didn’t win the title and Dykes said it will sting for a while, but he and Duggan think the program has a bright future.

“We still have three or four recruits that we’re chasing,” said Dykes. “We’ll hopefully get those guys on board and continue to build and learn from tonight and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Dykes and Duggan shared the idea that this loss wasn’t indicative of the team’s efforts this season. It wasn’t how the Frogs drew it up, but Duggan said it won’t “define all the good memories and all the success that we had this season to put this program in the right direction.”

“I know this program is going to get back on this stage again,” said Duggan. “If we’re ever in a situation like that, I know we’re going to be able to get out of it and have some success.”

TCU quarterback Max Duggan runs in the only touchdown of the night for the Frogs in their 65-7 loss to Georgia in the national championship, Jan. 9, 2023. (Tristen Smith/Staff Photographer)

“I’m positive of that,” he said.