Georgia’s Kirby Smart says he has confidence in Stetson Bennett after QB struggles late game against Alabama

Georgia defender Stetson Bennett has enjoyed a major rehab campaign in 2021 after joining JT Daniels earlier this year.

But on Saturday, Bennett faced his first big test of the season. Faced with No 3 Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, Bennett performed well, completing 29 of 48 340-meter passes with three touchdowns.

His second half, however, was marred by a number of interceptions, including a fourth-round six, when the Crimson Tide beat the previously undefeated No 1 Bulldogs 41. -24.

Georgia still has the potential to make it to the College Rugby Round, all but certain to take the 3rd or 4th place in the standings after only taking its first loss of the season, but the Bulldogs will now have to faced the question of whether Bennett or Daniels led the offense in its next game.

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After the game, head coach Kirby Smart was asked if he would consider changing midfield for the next game. Smart said every week every position makes a decision, but he also has “absolute confidence” in Bennett and said he feels his defender “did some really good things over the night”. now on.”

“We go and reassess everything, but he played well and it was a difficult environment, we put him in defense and no, we have to be able to run the ball and have a bit of sharpness. balance,” Smart “I thought there was a point tonight when we entered a point scramble because our defense had no end. And you don’t want to have to do that. But I definitely have a lot of faith in Stetson and I have a lot of faith in JT too. ”

There are two things worth noting to start with. First, Bennett is not solely to blame for this loss. The defense ranked at number 1 in both points and total defensive points gave way to 34 out of 41 points and a total of 536 yards for Crimson Tide and Heisman Trophy favorite Bryce Young.

And second, Bennett played a solid first half. In the first half of the SEC Championship Game, Bennett completed 11/16 168-yard passes and two touchdowns. Most other games, that will complete.

But it became clear that at the start of the third quarter, Bennett was not the defender to face Young and Alabama in a shootout. He completed just eight of his 13 53-meter passes with an interception and no touchdown in the third quarter. Compared to Young, it was 3 to 7 with 72 yards and a touchdown to put Alabama ahead by two touchdowns.

Things didn’t get any better in the fourth inning, even if the Bulldogs were forced to throw. Bennett completed 10/19 passes with 119 yards of passes and a touchdown, but behind Bennett, the Bulldogs were 3-0 down in third place.

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Bennett has not found himself in a penalty shootout at any point this season. Georgia has only finished the game once in two encounters, and that was in Week 1 against Clemson with Daniels underdog.

Daniels played his first game of the season against Clemson, but missed the next game against UAB due to an oblique injury. He returned to start the game against South Carolina and burned out Vanderbilt in the first quarter of the next game on September 25, but then had to rest until November 6 as he continued to deal with injury.

Bennett filled in from that point on as a starter and played sublime, finishing the regular season with 21 touchdown passes, 5 interceptions, 1,985 passes and a 65% completion rate.

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This is not Bennett’s first round in Georgia. He’s a 2020 starter, and unremarkable, hitting a 55.5 completion rate, 1,179 yards past, eight touchdown passes and six interceptions. Daniels, who had just arrived from USC on transfer, took over and shone in four games, completing 67.2% of his passes for 1,231 yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions.

Daniels, a former five-star player, will likely still start full-time in 2021 if he doesn’t deal with his injury early in the campaign.

Although Daniels has only been added sporadically as a substitute for Bennett, he still shows the potential to be a game-changing midfielder. His numbers overall for 2021: 72.3 completion rate, 722 yards past, seven touchdowns and three interceptions.

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That hype – and the success before it – is what contributed to fans calling for Daniels to replace Bennett in the second half against Alabama. Bennett’s first interception to the Bulldogs in the red area took away a possible scoring opportunity.

The second result gives seven points – for the Crimson Tide.

“The first decision was a bad one, the second decision I don’t think it’s safe to drive,” Bennett said after the game. “You can’t have two games with players like this. And they made us pay for that.”

Will the QB change make a difference? It certainly wouldn’t have been able to stop Alabama’s offense, but it could have injected some life into a Georgia offensive situation that scored just seven points in the second half.

And it certainly hasn’t stopped the college football world from calling on Smart to make the change.

Georgia’s road to the national championship will almost certainly pass through Alabama. The Crimson Tide is likely number 1, and the Bulldogs are number 3 or number 4 – let’s say 2 Michigan wins the Big Ten championship.

Bennett was the starter throughout the game against the Crimson Tide this time around and he took 24 points. Next time the Bulldogs face Alabama, Smart may have to consider what Daniels can come up with to attack.

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