Georgia Bulldogs lose to Longhorns in Sugar Bowl 28-21

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Tre Watson #5 of the Texas Longhorns is tackled by Azeez Ojulari #38 of the Georgia Bulldogs during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 01, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

A second half push couldn't help the Georgia Bulldogs make up a 13 point deficit in the Sugar Bowl.

Texas scored on the opening drive and seemed to have all the momentum. It wasn't until later in the second quarter with the Longhorns up 17-0 that the Bulldogs scored on a throw to Brian Herrien.

The Bulldogs attempted a comeback, scoring two touchdowns in the second half, but lost in the end 28-21.

This loss for the fifth-ranked Bulldogs comes after a close loss to Alabama in the Southeastern Conference championship game that knocked them out of the four-team field of the College Football Playoff. Georgia had come into the game 11 and 2, facing a Longhorn team that was 14th in the nation.

Sam Ehlinger was the star of a gritty win, running for a 2-yard touchdown in the first quarter, a 9-yard score in the second, and a 1-yard TD in the fourth. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound sophomore finished with 64 yards rushing on 21 carries and also threw for 169 yards.

No. 14 Texas (10-4) continued its quick rise under coach Tom Herman, capping his second season with a Sugar Bowl win that will surely send expectations soaring after nearly a decade of mostly mediocrity.

Texas stretched its lead to 28-7 with 11:49 left in the fourth quarter on Ehlinger's 1-yard run, finally scoring on fourth down after his first three attempts at running for the score fell just short of the end zone.

No. 6 Georgia (11-3) was a 12 1/2-point favorite and claimed it would be ready for the Sugar Bowl despite just missing a spot in the College Football Playoff after a loss in the Southeastern Conference championship game. But a sloppy opening sequence indicated otherwise.

Texas jumped out to a 17-0 lead by early in the second quarter, largely because of Georgia's mistakes on special teams and offense.

The most costly was when D'Andre Swift fumbled deep in Georgia's own territory, giving Texas possession at the 12. Three plays later, Ehlinger deftly escaped trouble in the pocket and scored on a 9-yard run to give the Longhorns a 17-point advantage with 14:53 left in the second quarter.

Georgia got back into the game with a methodical 12-play drive that ended with Jake Fromm finding Brian Herrien for a 17-yard touchdown, but Texas still took a 20-7 advantage into halftime.

Fromm completed 20 of 34 passes for 212 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The Bulldogs scored a touchdown with 14 seconds left to pull within 28-21 but Texas recovered the ensuing onside kick.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.