ATHENS — After a night Georgia football fans will never forget, it didn’t matter to many of them that it was 15 degrees early Tuesday morning in Athens.
They were out to welcome home their Rose Bowl champions as the Bulldogs returned to Athens after Monday’s thrilling 54-48 win over Oklahoma in double-overtime.
Stacy Bridges, a football letterman in the 1980s as a trainer, was one of the many Bulldogs fans who braved the cold outside the Butts-Mehre Building to welcome home the team.
“I just happened to be up [Tuesday] morning and didn’t have to work, so I thought I’d just swing by,” said Bridges, who lives in Athens.
Georgia trailed 31-17 at the half against Oklahoma but dominated the third quarter to pull even going into the fourth quarter tied at 31-31. After a back-and-forth fourth quarter, the game was tied 45-45, and the Bulldogs had to work (double) overtime for their first College Football Playoff victory.
“My heart was fluttering that whole second half. It was tough that first half,” Bridges said. “They got down, and they really fought hard and played great in the second half.”
Now, the Bulldogs are one win away from the program’s first national title since the 1980 season. Georgia earned a spot in Monday’s National Championship Game against SEC rival Alabama.
Alabama beat Clemson 24-6 in the semifinals and will play for the national title for the third straight season.
The championship game will be played Monday at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
“Oh, it’s amazing. It’s been a long time coming ever since the other national championship, so we’re really hoping we can pull this one out,” said Bridges, who graduated from Georgia in 1987.