Bill Connelly ($$): “Or to put it another way, Georgia is still a really, really good football team.”
It’s just that it’s a really, really good football team with a quarterback issue in big games.
Georgia matched up well with Bama in plenty of ways but got drastically outplayed at quarterback, just as it had in games against Alabama and Florida in 2020 and LSU in 2019 (aka the Dawgs’ only losses in the 25 or so months before Saturday).
In these four losses, Georgia’s opponents completed 68% of their passes at 15.4 yards per completion with a 185.5 passer rating. Georgia’s quarterbacks in those games: 48% completion rate, 12.4 yards per completion, more interceptions than touchdowns and a ghastly 101.2 rating.
For most of the past three seasons, Georgia’s quarterback play has been between sufficient and awesome. But in big games against teams with the best offense in the country, UGA passers have been forced to open things up and have failed in doing so. Stetson Bennett’s performance on Saturday certainly wasn’t Georgia’s worst in this span of time — he was 29-for-48 for 340 yards, three TDs and two picks — but we were waiting all season to see what would happen if or when Georgia found itself in genuine need of points, and what we saw wasn’t reassuring.
Before Saturday, Bennett had been on the field for just one second-half drive in which the Dawgs weren’t winning by at least 14 points. He had six such drives against Alabama and threw two picks with two turnovers on downs and seven total points. Georgia scored twice on its first three drives of the afternoon, then scored only twice thereafter. Down 10-0 early, Bama put the game away with a 38-7 run.
No, there is no guarantee that JT Daniels is a savior. But…
Smart could stick with Bennett, convinced that the lessons learned from the Bama experience can help his team moving forward, and there’s a chance he’d be proven right. But while reinserting Daniels into the lineup might lower Georgia’s floor a hair, it would undoubtedly raise the Dawgs’ ceiling too.
That choice ain’t gonna make itself, Kirbs.