Nick Chubb and Sony Michel came back for this moment.
Up to this point, their careers were only statistically great. But they were never on a team that played for anything major. Entering Monday's national championship against Alabama, the two star running backs and close friends had the chance to go out the way every young football player dreams of.
And for a moment, it looked like the two might go out as national champions. But in an instant, with Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa hitting receiver DeVonta Smith for a 41-yard touchdown in overtime, Chubb and Michel could only think about what could have been.
The Crimson Tide, which didn't lead until the end, came out with a 26-23 victory and a national title.
"We didn't do a good job of finishing," Chubb said. "We had some drives and were out of momentum, and we ended up punting the ball. That hurts us, the momentum. That was a great defense we went up against. A lot of respect for what they do. A lot of big bodies up front, makes it hard to run. But at the end of the day, it just comes down to us not executing well."
Chubb's numbers on the ground weren't what Georgia was accustomed to this season. He carried the ball 18 times for only 25 yards. Michel, however, had a sound day and a strong first half. He finished with 14 carries and 98 yards.
But when it came to running the ball, Georgia could not get the job done in the second half. Through the first two quarters, the Bulldogs racked up 97 total rushing yards. In the second half, Georgia only totaled 36 yards on the ground.
"We had times where we were executing well and we had times where we weren't," Michel said. "In the second half, we had a lot of times where we weren't. I think that's what really hurt us."
Against Alabama's stout run defense, Georgia wasn't expected to run the ball as well as it had in most of its other games. The Bulldogs knew this coming in. It's why they opened the game with seven consecutive passing plays.
While the game didn't end the way Chubb and Michel would have wanted it to, they reflected on what their time at Georgia has meant.
"It's just a blessing to be able to play for the University of Georgia," Chubb said. "So many great people we've met through the past four years and great teammates like Sony and great coaching staff -- Coach (Mark) Richt, Coach (Kirby) Smart and those guys. It's great to play for good coaches and meet amazing new people. It's something I know we'll never forget."