Georgia Was THE Team, Stetson Bennett: 5 National Championship Thoughts

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Was THE Team, Stetson Bennett: 5 National Championship Thoughts

Bowls College Football Playoff

Georgia Was THE Team, Stetson Bennett: 5 National Championship Thoughts


4. Stetson Bennett wasn’t good until he absolutely had to be

It wasn’t Justin Fields. It wasn’t Jake Fromm. It wasn’t Jacob Eason, Matthew Stafford, DJ Shockley, Aaron Murray, D’Wan Mathis, Jamie Newman. Brock Vandagriff, or any one of a number of big-time four-and-five-star quarterback recruits or transfers who got Georgia its first national title in over 40 years.

However, it was almost JT Daniels who got a shot to be the hero.

Stetson Bennett wasn’t playing well.

The smallish former walk-on stepped in when Daniels went down early in the season and never gave up the gig the rest of the way, but he was really, really shaky.

He didn’t want a repeat of the key mistakes made in the SEC Championship game, he didn’t force anything that wasn’t there, and he played in the national championship like he was trying not to lose.

The Crimson Tide figured that out fast. The run defense was getting the job done, the pass rushers turned it loose and made Bennett scramble, and nothing was working.

13 was beaten up, knocked around, and pressured all game long, until his fumble – that really wasn’t a fumble, but okay – led to Alabama taking the lead in the fourth quarter.

Daniels was getting loose on the sidelines.

Georgia had to make a change. It had to try something different with Bennett not getting the job done and the national championship slipping away, but down 18-13, he got back out there, and boom – he drove a ball on his most confident throw of the game for 18 yards to Jermaine Burton.

He had Burton potentially open for a touchdown, but a pass interference call stopped that. He slipped a pass to Kenny McIntosh for another first down, and after a sack, he threw a good-enough ball to Adonai Mitchell for a 40-yard touchdown that turned out to be the game-winning score.

Four throws. All the problems, all the doubts, all the mistakes went away on the one drive Georgia had to have.

Another pass interference call and a touchdown pass to Brock Bowers all but sealed the deal on the team’s next drive – the defense had to take care of the rest after the Dawgs inexplicably didn’t go for two to try to end it – and that was it.

The unsung guy everyone wanted to replace went a misleading 17-of-26 for 224 yards and two scores with no picks …

And one national title.

Nah, this doesn’t mean you don’t want the high-end future NFL starter under center, and nah, this doesn’t prove anything more than good quarterback can come through with a team around him loaded with special players, but whatever.

Stetson Bennett is a national championship-winning starting quarterback.

The guy pulled it off.

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