INDIANAPOLIS — They’d waited more than 40 years for Monday night, as Georgia last reached this perch when Herschel Walker pranced, Jimmy Carter lived in the White House and Vince Dooley wore a tie on the sideline.
Georgia football popped occasionally under Mark Richt, hit a ceiling with Jim Donnan and toiled in the late years of Ray Goff.
Georgia’s proud fan base accumulated a generation of scar tissue waiting for a national championship, as four decades of futility included the second-and-26 in the 2017 title game against Alabama and this season’s supposed destiny getting bulldozed into SEC title game misery.
When the moment finally arrived to give Georgia its first national title in 41 seasons, it arrived only after this Georgia team stared down its demons, teased another torturous chapter and spent the fourth quarter against Alabama on Monday night toggling the thin line between history and infamy.
In the end, 5-foot-11 senior quarterback Stetson Bennett got the ending right — for the game, for a career that began as a walk-on with a half locker and for the fairy tale that will be remembered as a signature moment in school history.
After a controversial fumble gave away the lead and momentum to Alabama with nearly 10 minutes remaining, Bennett re-wrote Georgia football history by taming the fan base’s fatalism and leading a pair of touchdown drives in a 33-18 national title victory.
“I wasn’t going to be the reason that we lost this game,” Bennett said.
Georgia’s Stetson Bennett withstood intense pressure from Alabama’s defense and delivered late with two touchdown passes to help lift the Bulldogs to the national championship. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
After that self-inflicted wound put Georgia behind 18-13, Bennett outdueled Bryce Young, the Heisman Trophy winner, and announced himself in…