UGA beats TCU 31-23 in 2016 Liberty Bowl
The Georgia Bulldogs (8-5) grabbed the school's 30th all-time bowl victory in a 31-23 win over the TCU Horned Frogs (6-7) Friday afternoon in the Autozone Liberty Bowl at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Georgia Bulldogs (8-5) grabbed the school's 30th all-time bowl victory in a 31-23 win over the TCU Horned Frogs (6-7) Friday afternoon in the Autozone Liberty Bowl at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis.
Georgia junior tailbacks Nick Chubb and Sony Michel combined for 268 total yards and three touchdowns. Chubb amassed 142 yards on the ground including a 13-yard touchdown run that strengthened the Bulldogs' lead to eight points at 31-23 with 2:48 left in the game. The lead proved to be enough as the Georgia defense staved off the Horned Frogs last attack to secure the win. The Bulldogs outscored the Horned Frogs 10-0 in the fourth quarter. Michel, the Liberty Bowl Offensive MVP, supplied the Bulldogs with one rushing touchdown on 87 yards and a receiving score on 39 receiving yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore lineman Trenton Thompson collected three sacks, a Liberty Bowl record, and was named Liberty Bowl Overall MVP and defensive MVP. Georgia had two takeaways on two Lorenzo Carter forced fumbles and sophomore linebacker Roquan Smith led the team with 13 tackles.
"We just kept pounding the rock," said Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. "The guys just kept believing in what we were doing. Defensively they played hard and had some big stops. We were moving up front and giving different formations. We got some perimeter blocking and those two backs are special kids. I'm proud of this team. This means a lot for this Georgia program."
Freshman quarterback Jacob Eason threw for 164 yards and a touchdown. Junior wideout Isaiah McKenzie led all Georgia receivers with four catches and 103 yards including a 77-yard catch and run that set up Michel's first score. The throw and catch registered as career-longs for Eason and McKenzie.
The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard first with a 3-yard Michel touchdown run on their second drive of the game. Then to close out the first quarter on a 3rd-and-13 from the Horned Frogs' 33-yard line, Michel caught a pass out of the backfield, fought off multiple defenders and tumbled into the end zone. In the first half, TCU connected on a 40-yard field goal, while quarterback Kenny Hill ran and threw for 10-yard touchdowns.
At halftime, the Bulldogs trailed the Horned Frogs 14-16, but Georgia's Carter forced his second fumble of the game on TCU's opening possession of the second half. The Bulldogs then orchestrated a 12-play, 52-yard drive that included a fake field goal and concluded on a 6-yard Javon Wims touchdown reception to take their first lead of the game at 21-16.
In the subsequent possession, the Horned Frogs regained the lead, 23-21, at the 2:07 mark in the third quarter on a 9-yard touchdown reception by John Diarse, his second of the game. However, Georgia quickly went back on top, 24-23, with a 30-yard field goal by Rodrigo Blankenship in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.
Georgia erased a little over five minutes on the clock in its 9-play, 70-yard drive that Chubb capped off with the lead-strengthening touchdown in the final minutes.
The Bulldogs made their 52nd overall and 20th consecutive appearance in a bowl game today. Georgia's bowl record is now 30-19-3. Currently, 30 bowl wins and 20 straight bowl outings rank third nationally.