A lot of people said it. I was one of them. I always thought Georgia football could win with Stetson Bennett, just not win a national championship. However, after his performance on Oct. 9th, my mind has been changed.
Is Bennett a first-round NFL quarterback? No, but with Georgia’s defense and its rushing attack blossoming at the midway point this season, he may not have to be.
Bennett is an option in the run game and efficient in the passing game. He finished against Auburn 14-of-21 for 231 yards and two touchdowns. When Georgia needed it — he made the play with his arm and legs.
Auburn was loud Saturday. Jordan-Hare Stadium has not rocked like it was on Saturday since the Iron Bowl in 2019. Bennett has never had to play in these conditions, and not only did he play, but he also excelled.
After the game, Bennett acknowledged the challenging environment and just how tough it was in his post-game interview on the field. That humbleness is important to have, but it was his love for the team that shined through and made people think about the quarterback situation.
It is no secret Georgia is missing offensive weapons, and it seems when player one comes back, another goes down, but that has not stopped Bennett’s ability to run the offense at all.
This week we saw Bennett hit Ladd McConkey on a beautiful 60-yard touchdown pass. Smoke Monday hit him helmet to helmet when Bennett took off running, which set up Georgia’s first touchdown and gave the Dawgs a 10-3 lead.
We also saw him make two awe-inspiring runs. The first was a 10-yard run to Auburn’s 2-yard line. The other run was on 3rd and 2, which helped the Dawgs sustain a drive and keep Bo Nix off the field. He made a great read on the run-pass-option play where he kept it for a 30 yard gain which led to driving the final nail into Auburn’s coffin and gave Georgia a 34-10 lead.
Bennett does not make bad plays worse. He does not make bonehead plays. However, the biggest thing he brings is the players and coaches trust him. Bennett is a leader, and you can see it on his teammates’ faces.
For all the diamonds in the roughs, head coach Kirby Smart has found who would have ever thought the kid that left to play JUCCO after the 2017 season, who had no other SEC offers, would lead Georgia football to a No. 1 ranking.
Truth be told, this team may not need a Joe Burrow-type quarterback, and while we are honest, is that even who JT Daniels is? This team has an elite defense and tough running game. Maybe it needs a tough-as-nails quarterback from South Georgia that was born and raised a Dawg.