INGLEWOOD, Calif. — This time, Brock Bowers was a big part of Georgia’s game plan.
The star tight end was dominant in No. 1 Georgia’s second consecutive College Football Playoff championship, a 65-7 victory over No. 3 TCU on Monday night at SoFi Stadium. Bowers was little used in the Bulldogs’ victory over Ohio State in the national semifinal, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, nine days ago.
Georgia fans wondered what to make of the limited use of their star. Not anymore.
Bowers, still a sophomore, dominated the Horned Frogs’ linebackers and secondary. It didn’t matter which player tried to defend him based upon where he lined up. He was used as a traditional tight end, a slot receiver, an H-back and in the backfield. Bowers had seven receptions on seven targets for 152 yards, 2 yards short of tying his career high, and a touchdown. It was Bowers’ seventh game with at least 100 yards receiving. He also rushed two times for 15 yards.
“It just kind of happened that way,” he said. “I mean, I just kind of played my game and just ended up open.”
Surely it wasn’t that easy?
“It was about like that,” he said.
There were big plays: He had five receptions of at least 20 yards, the longest a 35-yard reception in the second quarter.
And there were small plays that turned into bigger plays: He had 58 yards after the catch. Tackling well was something that TCU’s players stressed they needed to do well during the week. They didn’t in large part, but especially in attempting to contain Bowers.
“I thought their quarterback really played an outstanding game,” TCU coach Sonny Dykes said. “Tight end obviously played an outstanding game as well.”
Bowers’ touchdown was a 22-yard reception that gave the Bulldogs a 45-7 lead with 10:52 remaining in the third quarter.
Bowers, a native of Napa, Calif., said winning in his native state made it ever better.
“It was awesome,” he said. “I mean, this is probably one of the only games that that’s gonna be on the West Coast when I’m here.”
TCU knew what was coming.
Dykes was wary of Bowers and teammate Darnell Washington during his pregame remarks Sunday. He described them as “two of the best tight ends in college football and some really exceptional athletes.”
Washington added one reception for 28 yards.
TCU defensive coordinator Joe Gillespie on Saturday compared Bowers with a Swiss Army knife because of his ability to do anything. Gillespie said he expected the Bulldogs would line up in one formation and then use motion to try to create mismatches.
“If you got a lot of stuff called with that particular play and they’re doing a lot of the shifting and motioning, you’re going to have be very disciplined with your communication, very disciplined with your eyes; everybody is going to have to be on the same page,” he said.
Bowers, who had four receptions for 64 yards in the Peach Bowl, credited offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s play-calling for Monday’s success.
“I think Monken does such a good job like scheming up and just seeing seeing different things on their side of the ball and seeing what’s open,” Bowers said.
What’s better than back-to-back national championships? Bowers will come back for one more season, still not eligible for the NFL.