ATHENS — There’s a warm feeling in the air around The Classic City, the aftermath of a college football national championship a long time coming.
Georgia football fans showed up and showed out two weekends ago in Indianapolis, a 3-to-1 ratio of UGA fans to Alabama fans practically willing the Bulldogs to a 33-18 victory in Lucas Oil Stadium on Jan. 10.
The head coach, quarterbacks and historically dominant defense have led several conversations that most often transition into the latest recruiting buzz or speculation about the upcoming season.
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There will be plenty of books, paintings and souvenirs to help capture the memories, and then there are hard statistical numbers that leave no doubt of Georgia’s worthiness as the champion, as if eight weeks at No. 1 atop the polls during a perfect regular season wasn’t enough evidence.
The Big Winners
This outgoing senior class, led Jordan Davis, finished as UGA’s winningest class with a mark of 45-8.
Davis will likely be remembered as the biggest winner on the team, and not just because of his 6-foot-6, 350-pound frame.
Davis is the most likely 2021 Georgia Bulldog to end up in the College Football Hall of Fame, as he became the first SEC player in history to win the Outland Trophy and Bednarik Award.
Davis represented himself with class and dignity at the Outland Trophy ceremony in Omaha, Neb., earlier this month, word that traveled quickly and made UGA officials proud.
No doubt, Coach Kirby Smart knew what he was doing when he chose Davis and offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer to speak to the more than 80,000 who shivered together in Sanford Stadium for the team celebration last Saturday.
No one will ever forget how incredible the 2021 Georgia football defense played, its front seven most often compensating for an inexperienced and injured secondary that still somehow managed to make two of the biggest plays of the year.
The Georgia defense:
• Led the nation in scoring defense (10.2 points per game)
- The fewest average points per game of the CFP Era, which has seen rules shift favorably for offenses and higher scoring games.
• Twelve of Georgia’s 14 opponents were held to their season low in scoring, including Alabama which saw its 18-point total in the CFP title game rank as its lowest scoring output in more than three years.
• Led the nation in Red Zone defense, allowing just 9 touchdowns and 11 field goals in 32 trips inside the 20. Against Alabama, UGA held Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young to just one touchdown after the Tide reached the 30 six times.
• Finished second in rushing defense (78.9 yards per game) and pass efficiency defense (103.63), allowing just three rushing touchdowns and 10 passing touchdowns.
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Among the 21 school records set by Georgia football was …
• Fewest points allowed per game (12+ game season), 10.2
• Interceptions for touchdowns (4, ties record)
• Longest road winning streak (9 games)
• Pass efficiency rating (Stetson Bennett, 176.69)
• TD receptions (Brock Bowers, 13)’
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