It only took Georgia two plays from scrimmage to take an early 7-0 lead over UAB at Sanford Stadium. Just minutes before that play, most Georgia fans were worried about who would start at quarterback with JT Daniels missing Saturday’s game because of a reported oblique injury.
It was senior Stetson Bennett, the guy who led Georgia to four wins last year, that got the call to start. Redshirt freshman Carson Beck was in contention and ended up playing a few drives later in the game. Bennett, also known as “the mailman,” stepped up by coming through early and often with explosive passing plays all day.
“We knew going into this game that we were going to try and be explosive,” said Bennett. “I think everybody prepared. All of the receivers were fired up, especially when it started coming to fruition and we started completing those balls.”
There was a bit of a question mark surrounding Georgia’s offense entering Saturday’s contest. The Bulldogs were facing one of the top defenses in the country last week with Clemson but also failed to score an offensive touchdown.
There were no questions on Saturday about what Georgia’s offense is capable of. Three of Bennett’s five touchdowns came on plays of 61 yards or more, something the coaching staff has been working on implementing all offseason.
Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken used play fakes and play-action pass plays to open up the Blazers defense early in the game. That was on display when Bennett hit Jermaine Burton for a 73-yard touchdown to give the Bulldogs a lead that they never came close to losing
“I don’t think it was about scheme,” said Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. “I thought it was aggressive, and that’s what we wanted to be. We wanted to be explosive, that’s what we talked about all week. To be explosive, you have to be fast and we played a little faster all day.
Nobody was faster today than freshman tight end Brock Bowers, who was the most targeted receiver against Clemson. Bowers took a pass down the sideline for an 88-yard score, outracing the entire UAB defense. Both players and coaches have oftentimes raved about Bowers, and through two games, it is for good reason.
“I told y’all Brock [Bowers] was fast,” said Georgia linebacker Channing Tindall. “Look at what he did… blazing, most athletic tight end I’ve seen that has walked through here. I’m gonna keep saying it and y’all are gonna see it every week.”
At one point in the game, Bennett was 5-of-5 passing for 245 yards and four touchdowns. That led to an astounding 775.6 quarterback rating.
Some might discredit the performance for UGA because it came against UAB, and Georgia did make the Blazers look like a subpar football team. However, UAB is the reigning C-USA champion and shutout Jacksonville State in its first matchup of the year. Smart called the Blazers a “good football team” earlier this week.
What Saturday’s offensive outburst proved was that this group can be special and put up points in bunches, fast. There is no quarterback controversy; there was not a throw Bennett made on Saturday that Daniels could not have made. It was just a matter of great play calling and great execution.
That also led to some of Georgia’s younger players getting in-game experience. Beck threw his first touchdown of the game and Justin Robinson caught his first career touchdown. Defensively, Kelee Ringo and Jamon Dumas-Johnson got their first career interceptions. Dumas-Johnson returned his for a touchdown.
Mix that kind of performance in with Georgia’s continuously dominant defense and it is easy to see why the Bulldogs are the second-ranked team in the whole land.
Now the Bulldogs (2-0) get ready to head into conference play against 2-0 South Carolina. The Gamecocks narrowly defeated East Carolina on Saturday, winning 20-17. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Sanford Stadium on September 18, with the game being televised on ESPN.