Georgia quelled a late storm in Jacksonville to down Penn State, sealing a 24-17 TaxSlayer Bowl victory.
The Bulldogs were in firm command of the game for three quarters, but Penn State mounted a mini-comeback in the final 15 minutes before falling just short of drawing level.
The Bulldogs were dominating this game and had a comfortable two-touchdown lead at the half, but Penn State's defense came up big in the second half.
Also, the Nittany Lions lost starting quarterback Christian Hackenberg to a shoulder injury in the second quarter. Hackenberg, who has just announced his intentions to go pro, completed eight passes for 139 yards before exiting the game. He also threw a pick.
Yet the man, the myth, the backup Trace McSorley was flat-out balling from behind center, helping Penn State close the gap. Penn State trailed 24-3 entering the final quarter of play, but James Franklin's side showed tremendous fight to make this thing a ballgame.
McSorley showed excellent poise and threw some darts in the waning moments of the game to keep Penn State's hopes alive. The Big Ten side went 4-for-6 on fourth-down conversions in this game, as McSorley led the troops down the field for a pair of fourth-quarter TDs. Geno Lewis and DaeSean Hamilton each reeled in beautiful grabs for touchdowns, while Georgia fans grew increasingly restless.
The Penn State front seven was stingy in the second half, consistently stopping the run. Sony Michel and Keith Marshall had some nice runs in the second half, but there was a noticeable lack of explosive plays by UGA's offense in the latter stages of this game as interim coach Bryan McClendon tried to protect the lead.
Penn State deserves loads of credit for making this game interesting, and the fourth quarter was a neutral fan's bowl game dream (there has been, well, a paucity of these types of games this bowl season). Having said all that, Georgia played a sound game. UGA was strong all over the field, and this win could very well serve as a springboard for Kirby Smart and his staff as the Dawgs turn the page to the 2016 season.
Malcolm Mitchell wrapped up his Georgia career in sporty fashion, snagging five balls for 114 yards and a score. Penn State's leading receiver on the day, Chris Godwin, also put on a fine display with his six catches for 133 yards.
But Georgia's Godwin stole the show. Terry Godwin earned TaxSlayer Bowl MVP honors for his outstanding performance, as he caught a TD pass and threw one as well. It was the kind of all-around dominance that likely reminded UGA fans of Brandon Boykin's monster day against Michigan State in the Outback Bowl exactly four years ago.
Oh yeah, young Terry is just a freshman.
Godwin, along with Isaiah McKenzie, Sony Michel and a healthy Nick Chubb, should be borderline unstoppable next season.