Georgia could have come out flat. They could have given UAB some hope that the Blazers could stay in this one, catch a couple of breaks. Maybe even pull a huge upset.
But they didn’t.
Stetson Bennett delivered on his unexpected opportunity in relief of JT Daniels, completing 10 of 12 passes for 289 yards and 5 touchdowns in a crushing 56-7 defeat of UAB before the first full house in Sanford Stadium in twenty-one months.
Coach Smart may have run some misdirection during the week by repeatedly referring to Carson Beck as his #2 quarterback, but ultimately if Georgia was going to have to start someone other than JT Daniels it made sense to go with the guy who’s actually started more games in red and black than Daniels himself. Stetson Bennett remains a DGD and a marvelous insurance policy in an era where the transfer portal has all but gutted collegiate quarterback depth.
Beck had some nice moments, including his first touchdown pass as a Bulldog, a nice play action toss to Justin Robinson for his first career score. But he also had some floaty throws and a bad read returned for a pick six late to spoil the shutout.
The Bulldog defense did to the Blazers precisely what they should have, dominating against the run early then taking advantage of the big lead to snag a series of interceptions when UAB was forced to go to the air. It is perhaps a symptom of just how good this group is that a 165 yard effort comes across as almost ho hum. After their second interception return for a touchdown the Georgia defense has now scored 12 points and allowed only 3.
In the end UAB remains a solid Conference USA program that will end the year in a Bowl. Georgia eviscerated them with cold efficiency using a 5’11 backup quarterback, backup receivers, a freshman tight end, and very possibly the best defense in the nation. It was precisely the result which should have been expected, and the Bulldogs delivered it with practiced efficiency.
There was a time when the Bulldogs could have been counted on to be served a cupcake and play with their food, leading a game like this 17-10 at halftime before pulling away for an unsatisfying 34-17 victory. Not these ‘Dawgs, and not today.
Coach Smart’s guy’s now move into SEC play, hosting South Carolina next Saturday at 7:00 pm. Hopefully Daniels will be back full strength, but if not, maybe the Postman will ring twice. Until later…