ATLANTA (AP) Jack Poles told Georgia coaches before Friday’s Peach Bowl that he felt confident attempting field goals from 55 yards, 4 yards beyond his career-best mark.
Poles made good on his claim, kicking a 53-yard field goal with three seconds remaining, and No. 11 Georgia gave No. 6 Cincinnati its only loss of the season with a dramatic 24-21 victory at the Peach Bowl.
Poles fell to one knee after his entire career kick as his teammates took to the field. When asked what he was thinking while kneeling, Poles said he wanted to “try to remember why I’m here.” … God is good and it’s amazing to be here. ”
Georgia was trailing 21-10 in the fourth quarter, but their defense held down Desmond Ridder and Cincinnati and JT Daniels helped win the Bulldogs back with his arm. Daniels, a transfer from Southern California, threw for 392 yards while improving to a perfect 4-0 in four starts for Georgia.
Poles’s winning kick tied a Peach Bowl record for longest field goal and gave Georgia a 22-21 lead. Azeez Ojulari fired Ridder for a safety on the final play. It was Ojulari’s third sack. Georgia tied a school record with eight sacks.
Ridder completed 24 of 37 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns. Jerome Ford added a career-long 79-yard touchdown run early in the second half, but it wasn’t enough for the Bearcats.
Cincinnati (9-1, No. 8 CFP) was motivated to use the Peach Bowl to earn national respect. Coach Luke Fickell said the game was a yardstick for his team.
” We are not there yet,” Fickell said. “That’s what keeps motivating you, and I think that, you know, there are a lot of things that we’re going to get out of this that we know we can do.”
Georgia (8-2, No. 9 CFP) won despite rushing just 45 yards.
” I’d feel a lot better if we played our best game,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. ” I don’t think we played our best game. I want to give Cincinnati credit for that. They created some of it. ”
On Georgia’s final play before the decisive field goal, Daniels attempted a deep pass that was incomplete. When asked why he didn’t attempt a shorter pass that could have made the kick more manageable, Smart said: ” I felt comfortable with where I was, that I would have the strength in my legs to get there.”
He was correct.
Ridder threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Alec Pierce in the first quarter and added an 11-yard touchdown pass to Josh Wyle late in the first half.
” We have been ready to play this game for a long time,” Ridder said. “ It’s just, you know, disappointing, obviously, the way it ended. ”
Daniels overcame an interception and a fumble to lead the comeback.
Georgia’s defense helped propel the rally. Ridder fumbled on a catch by Ojulari, and Adam Anderson rebounded for the Bearcats 25. Zamir White’s 9-yard touchdown run cut Cincinnati’s lead to 21-16.
Cincinnati: Led by Ridder, the Bearcats answered any questions that the Group of Five team could face Georgia of the Southeastern Conference. Ridder frustrated the Georgia defense with his mobility. Ford used his power to get across the line and his speed to outrun the Bulldogs defense on his 79-yard scoring run early in the second half.
Georgia: White’s scoring run in the fourth quarter was a rare highlight for a rushing attack that averaged just 1.9 yards on 24 carries. The Bulldogs played without backup running back James Cook, who was with his family after his father died. Running backs coach Dell McGee war Cook’s No. 4 jersey on the bench.
The Cincinnati secondary played without two AP second-team All-America picks due to injuries: cornerback Ahmad Gardner (back) and safety James Wiggins (calf). Cincinnati was also without running back Ger rid Docks (ankle).
OTHER B ILL ING
Coby Bryant’s interception of Daniels ‘pass destined for George Pickens in the first quarter extended the Bearcats’ streak of forcing a loss to 20 straight games. It is the longest active streak among FBS teams.
Bearcats left tackle James Hudson was called up and sent off late in the first half. Hudson lowered his helmet in a blow that dropped Georgia cornerback Tyson Campbell.
Despite the penalty, Ridder kept the series alive with two more passes, including an 11-yard touchdown pass to While.
UNT IL NEXT T IME
Cincinnati: Ridder, a junior, is expected to announce his plans for 2021, a decision that could shape the Bearcats’ offseason. The Bearcats are scheduled to open next season on September 4 against Miami of Ohio.
Georgia: The Bulldogs, who are expected to bring most of their best position players back on offense, will open their 2021 season with a high-profile game against Clemson in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.