No matter how difficult it was to find running room early on, Georgia kept trying to establish its ground attack.
That stubborn approach eventually paid off.
Nick Chubb and Sony Michel combined to rush for 229 yards and two touchdowns Friday as Georgia came from behind in the fourth quarter to beat Texas Christian, 31-23, in the Liberty Bowl.
“At the end of the day, we were able to run the ball when we had to run the ball and they knew we had to run the ball,” Georgia Coach Kirby Smart said. “That’s a mark of two good backs. That’s the mark of some tough guys up front.”
Chubb rushed for 142 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, while Michel ran for 87 yards and a score on 16 attempts. The two juniors already have announced that they plan to return to school for their senior seasons.
Held in check for much of the game, Chubb closed the third quarter with a 48-yard burst that set up Rodrigo Blankenship’s field goal to put Georgia ahead 24-23 with 13:27 left. Chubb then rushed for 57 yards in the final period, including a 13-yard touchdown with 2:48 remaining.
“We never stopped,” Chubb said. “Nobody on our offense stopped. Nobody on our team stopped. We kept pounding.”
Georgia (8-5) restored some pride to the Southeastern Conference. The SEC had entered the day with a 1-4 bowl record, a major step back for a league that went 9-2 in bowl games last year to set a record for bowl victories.
The Bulldogs also sent TCU (6-7) to only its third losing year in Gary Patterson’s 16 full seasons as coach. Missed opportunities proved costly for the Horned Frogs, who led 16-7 in the first half and carried a 23-21 advantage into the fourth quarter.
“It was a game that we could have easily won, but you’ve got to make plays,” Patterson said. “For us, it’s kind of been the story of our season.”
Brandon Hatfield was wide right on a 47-yard field goal attempt that would have put TCU ahead with 7:57 remaining. He earlier had missed an extra point attempt as well as a 41-yard field goal.
After Hatfield missed his 47-yarder, Georgia went on a 70-yard touchdown drive to extend its lead to 31-23. Deandre Baker clinched the victory by breaking up Hill’s fourth-and-4 pass from the Georgia 44 with 1:14 remaining.
Hill threw a pair of touchdown passes to John Diarse and also ran for a third score, but he was sacked five times and lost a fumble. Georgia’s Jacob Eason was 12 of 21 for 164 yards with two touchdown passes.