Sunday April 21st, 2024 10:13AM

Dogs break own bowl record, rout Seminoles in Orange Bowl

By Alanis Thames AP Sports Writer

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Carson Beck passed for 203 yards and two touchdowns, backup QB Gunnar Stockton passed for two more scores and No. 6 Georgia routed previously undefeated and fourth-ranked Florida State 63-3 in the Orange Bowl on Saturday night in a matchup of teams missing out on the College Football Playoff.

Georgia scored on nine of 12 drives and gained 673 total yards against the short-handed Seminoles, who were without more than two dozen players because of opt-outs and transfers, including five starters in their defensive front seven, their top two running backs and top three receivers.

The Bulldogs (13-1) were used to competing for championships this time of year, having won the last two national titles. But Georgia lost to Alabama in the Southeastern Conference championship game — the Bulldogs' first loss since the 2021 season — and missed out on one of the four spots in the CFP rankings. Instead, they settled for the seventh New Year's Six bowl appearance in program history.

Florida (13-1) failed to make the CFP cut despite winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title, and because of transfers, opt-outs and injuries, the Seminoles were without players who were responsible for 97% of their passing yards, 88% of their rushing yards and 84% of their receptions this season

The Orange Bowl provided Georgia a chance to make a statement. The Bulldogs charged out to a 39-point halftime lead, the largest in the bowl's 90-year history, beating West Virginia's 29-point halftime lead over Clemson in 2012. It was also the largest margin of defeat in Florida State's history. The Bulldogs' win also was the largest in the history of the bowl era (60-point margin), breaking their own record set last year at 58 points in their 65-7 win over TCU.

Beck, who had touchdown passes of 12 and 2 yards, did not play in the second half. Stockton, a freshman, started in the third quarter and immediately ushered another touchdown drive. He finished with 96 yards passing and 46 yards rushing, and the Bulldogs became the first program to score at least 55 points in back-to-back bowl games (they beat TCU 65-7 in the Peach Bowl last season).

The Bulldogs' Kendall Milton rushed for 104 yards on nine carries and had two touchdowns. Daijun Edwards added two more rushing scores and 62 yards. Both were part of a senior class that picked up its school-record 50th win.

In what could be his last game for the Bulldogs, receiver Ladd McConkey had 49 all-purpose yards. He scored on a 27-yard rush in which he caught a pass from Beck behind the line of scrimmage, looked to complete another pass but took off running instead, weaving through stumbling Florida State defenders and into the end zone to put Georgia up 38-3 in the second quarter.

Bulldogs players knew the story of the team on the other side of the field: The Seminoles entered the game having beaten all 13 teams on their schedule, including then-No. 15 Louisville in the ACC title game, but were left out of the College Football Playoff partly due to a season-ending leg injury to starting quarterback Jordan Travis. Florida State became the first Power Five conference champion to finish with an undefeated record and still be left out of the playoff.

In the week leading up to the bowl game, Georgia players expressed their understanding of the Seminoles' frustrations, while acknowledging that they, too, felt slighted.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart had lobbied for the selection committee to consider the Bulldogs' full resume in making their final decision: Georgia won 29 straight games before the SEC title matchup and finished the season with the eighth-best offense in the country and the No. 9 defense.

It wasn't enough. And the Bulldogs vented frustrations in the Orange Bowl — possession by possession.


Georgia: As dominant as the Bulldogs were on offense, their defense was just as impactful. They intercepted Seminoles quarterback Brock Glenn twice and recovered two fumbles. They also limited Florida State to 63 yards rushing.

Florida State: The Seminoles were outmatched in all three phases as they fell short of completing their first 14-win season since 2013. Glenn struggled in his second career start, completing 9 of 26 passes for 139 yards.


Georgia: The Bulldogs open the 2024 season against Clemson in Atlanta. Beck is returning for his senior season.

Florida State: The Seminoles will start the 2024 season against Georgia Tech in Dublin, Ireland, marking the second time that two ACC teams have opened the season in Ireland.

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