ATHENS, Ga. — The entire state is celebrating the Georgia Bulldogs as they arrived home in Athens as national champs Tuesday afternoon.
The Georgia Bulldogs secured their national championship for the first time in more than four decades on Monday night, beating Alabama 33-18.
They landed at the Atlanta airport Tuesday afternoon and arrived at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall in Athens around 3 p.m. 11Alive Skytracker followed the team as they made their way home.
By the time the championship team arrived home, fans were ready to celebrate their big win with them – showing how proud they were by holding up homemade signs and newspapers while screaming the names of the players as they got off the buses.
The players said all of the support from the fans means so much to them.
"When that clock's winding down it really hits you, you know it's nice to go hug it out with everyone. Me and Stet, you know, we had a really good time, a good passionate exchange, everything that we all have been through as a team, as a quarterback group, running backs... it's awesome that it all comes together," quarterback JT Daniels said.
UGA linebacker Nakobe Dean added, "It's great to be a part of something like this, this is why I came to Georgia."
Defensive lineman Jalen Carter said the team has been grinding all season.
"All season, we just worked hard, this is what we wanted," Carter said.
Earlier in the day, head coach Kirby Smart reflected on the championship game and how historic the win is.
"The last couple of years have been tough with COVID and different things," Smart said. "I thought that our team embodied resiliency, fight, toughness, overcoming a tough loss. There were a lot of battle cries throughout the year that our guys really kind of personified for the state, and for the people of the state. That and what the Braves did made it a special year."
UGA quarterback Stetson Bennett also spoke about why he got so emotional after the team won the championship title.
Bennett said all their practices and 6 a.m. workouts have prepared them for a moment like this.
"What all the players in this program have went through in the past since Natty has got us to this point," Bennett said. "You always wonder, 'why are we doing this?' And this is why."
You can watch a replay of the national champs arriving home and more coverage of the Georgia Bulldogs here on 11Alive.com and 11Alive's YouTube Channel.