The Dawgs dominated Dan Lanning and his Oregon Ducks in a game that wound up being a career performance for Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett. There had been a lot of talk about what an offseason as the starting quarterback would do for him, and it’s done wonders for his confidence and, in turn the offense as a whole.
Bennett was 25 for 31 on his passes, throwing for 368 yards and two passing touchdowns while taking ZERO sacks. An outing of this nature shows that this team can win because of Stetson Bennett rather than despite him. On top of that, it does a solid job proving the doubters wrong. Even dating back to his last game, the 2021 national championship, you could see Stetson Bennett flash greatness yet at the same time become so easily flustered. It was this inconsistency that was constantly harped on (up until he won Georgia its first title in 41 years, of course). This offseason, Coach Smart even said that Bennett could improve his pocket presence and avoid errant throws, and after watching Saturday’s performance against Oregon, you could see that he did just that.
Yesterday’s match-up shifted the perception of the Bulldog’s identity and helped this year’s team establish the beginning of their legacy. The legacy of a team that can win on offense. A team that can win in all stages of offense.
Although Bennett had a day through the air, Coach Todd Monken didn’t shy away from leaning on RBU. The backs were called upon 22 times and averaged 5.5 yards per carry. Note that it was expected that McIntosh would assume the James Cook role in this offense, and that endeavor went well. McIntosh outdid himself and saw more yards through the air than on the ground leading the team in receiving with 117 yards.
On the receiver end of things, the ball wound up in the hands of 10 different pass catchers, the most prolific of which may have been 6’7 tight end Darnell Washington. Safety Chris Smith once said something like, “Not often does one guy bring him down,” and he was very right. Washington’s first catch saw him break a tackle, turn upfield, and hurdle a defender. It’s safe to say that Washington, otherwise known as “BIG O,” is as advertised.
The offensive success takes the pressure off the defense who will never cease to be compared to 2021’s group. But they did well in their own right too. No touchdowns and two interceptions against a No. 11 player in the nation sounds like a good day in the office.
In short, after watching them play on Saturday, it is clear that Coach Smart and his team can execute in all stages of the game at an elite level. Last year it was all about the defense. We’re only one game into 2022, but this year it may just be the opposite. The offseason hype surrounding Bennett and the tight end room has proven worthy. It’s a little early, but if Georgia keeps this up– if Stetson Bennett keeps this up, we may see the Dawgs play well into January this season.