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Stetson Bennett

Stetson Bennett Has Silenced His Doubters For Now

  • Crissy Froyd
  • January 3, 2022
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Stetson Bennett’s SEC Championship Game performance left a lot of us unimpressed—and for good reason. The Georgia Bulldogs quarterback made a lot of mistakes that didn’t single-handedly cause the team’s 41-21 loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide but certainly played a large role in it. But then he came back and redeemed himself as Georgia easily put away Michigan, 34-11, in the Orange Bowl on Friday night. Bennett was 21-of-31 passing for 310 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. The first half of the game was one of the best in Bennett’s career and impressive by any measure of the imagination as he completed 16-of-22 passes for 234 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. That’s good for the second-most in a single half at any point in his college football career. This all came just one performance after Bennett completed 29-of-48 passes for 340 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in that loss to Alabama—not the worst game by the numbers, but some of the things in the film like accuracy problems, certain plays where there appeared to be decision-making issues, and the costliness of the interceptions tell a more dismal story. In the Orange Bowl, Bennett seemed to clean some things up and had a better outing overall. It’s one that he’ll need to build off of as he goes back up against the same Crimson Tide defense in the national championship that quieted him and the Bulldogs not long ago. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart and others have spoken to Bennett’s mobility, ability to evade pressure and throw on the run and how that helps this offense, and it’s something that has been on display several times this season. But what was most impressive was what he showed as a pure passer. The former walk-on quarterback has been knocked for plenty in his career—and especially as of late with the recent underperformance against Alabama—but one specific trait he’s been called out on is his arm strength. But that didn’t really appear to be an issue as he lofted this deep ball touchdown to wide receiver Jermaine Burton for 57 yards in the second quarter to extend Georgia’s lead to 27-3. He had the right amount of zip and good placement on this one. Bennett hit a lot of nice shots on a day that was all Georgia’s by the end of four quarters, standing tall in the pocket with good timing. Bennett has silenced his doubters for now, but he’ll have to prove it was more than just a postseason flash in the pan—and he’ll have to do it against the highest level of competition currently in college football in the battle for a national championship.

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Crissy Froyd