No. 1 Georgia rallies to beat No. 4 Ohio State 42-41 in semi

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ATLANTA — Stetson Bennett capped No. 1 Georgia’s comeback from a two-touchdown, fourth-quarter deficit with a 10-yard, last-minute scoring pass to Adonai Mitchell in a 42-41 victory over No. 4 Ohio State for a shot at its second straight national title.

The comeback in the College Football Playoff Peach Bowl semifinal held just after midnight Sunday when Noah Ruggles’ 50-yard field goal attempt for Ohio State with three seconds remaining sailed wide left, setting off a celebration on the Georgia sideline.

Georgia (14-0) will play No. 3 TCU, which beat No. 2 Michigan 51-45 in the Fiesta Bowl semifinal, on Jan. 9 for the national championship. The Bulldogs, who won their first national title since 1980 last season, will play for the first back-to-back championships in school history.

C.J. Stroud threw four touchdown passes for Ohio State (11-2), which led 38-24 in the fourth quarter. Bennett’s 76-yard scoring pass to Arian Smith, followed by Bennett’s pass to Ladd McConkey on the 2-point play, cut it to 38-35.

Following Bennett’s go-ahead scoring pass to Mitchell with 54 seconds remaining, Stroud led the Buckeyes back with a 27-yard run to the Georgia 31. The missed field goal set off the Georgia celebration that left Bennett in tears.

Ruggles’ 48-yard field goal gave the Buckeyes a 41-35 lead, leaving only 2:36 for Bennett and Georgia’s offense.

Stroud completed 23 of 34 passes for 348 yards without an interception.

Stroud capped the Buckeyes’ first possession of the second half with a 10-yard scoring pass to Emeka Egbuka for a 35-24 lead — already the most points allowed in a full game by the Bulldogs this season.

Marvin Harrison Jr. had five catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Egbuka had eight catches for 112 yards and one score.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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Corey Perrine/USA TODAY NETWORK
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.