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Georgia rallies to beat TCU 31-23 in Liberty Bowl

Georgia running back Nick Chubb runs over TCU defender Niko Small for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Liberty Bowl NCAA college football game, Friday, Dec. 30, 2016, in Memphis, Tenn. (Mark Weber / Associated Press)
Georgia running back Nick Chubb runs over TCU defender Niko Small for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Liberty Bowl NCAA college football game, Friday, Dec. 30, 2016, in Memphis, Tenn. (Mark Weber / Associated Press)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – No matter how difficult it was to find running room early on, Georgia kept trying to establish its ground attack.

That stubborn approach eventually paid off.

Nick Chubb and Sony Michel combined to rush for 229 yards and two touchdowns Friday as Georgia came from behind in the fourth quarter to beat TCU 31-23 in the Liberty Bowl.

“At the end of the day, we were able to run the ball when we had to run the ball and they knew we had to run the ball,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “That’s a mark of two good backs. That’s the mark of some tough guys up front.”

Chubb rushed for 142 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, while Michel ran for 87 yards and a score on 16 attempts. Michel also had a 33-yard touchdown catch. The two juniors already have announced that they plan to return to school for their senior seasons.

Held in check for much of the game, Chubb closed the third quarter with a 48-yard burst that set up Rodrigo Blankenship’s field goal to put Georgia ahead 24-23 with 13:27 left. Chubb then rushed for 57 yards in the final period, including a 13-yard touchdown with 2:48 remaining.

“We never stopped,” Chubb said. “Nobody on our offense stopped. Nobody on our team stopped. We kept pounding.”

Georgia (8-5) restored some pride to the Southeastern Conference. The SEC had entered the day with a 1-4 bowl record, a major step back for a league that went 9-2 in bowl games last year to set a record for bowl victories.

The Bulldogs also sent TCU (6-7) to only its third losing year in Gary Patterson’s 16 full seasons as coach. Missed opportunities proved costly for the Horned Frogs, who led 16-7 in the first half and carried a 23-21 advantage into the fourth quarter.


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