ATLANTA — Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett had all the answers for Dan Lanning’s Oregon defense -- and with his critics -- at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday.
Bennett, a sixth-year senior former walk-on, had an early exit in the third quarter after running up a 42-3 lead on Oregon with 5:20 left in the third quarter.
Coach Kirby Smart pulled Bennett after he led the No. 3-ranked Bulldogs on six consecutive touchdown drives, completing 25-of-31 passes for 368 yards with 2 touchdowns.
Bennett’s 368 yards were a personal record, eclipsing the 340 yards he passed for against Alabama in a 41-24 loss in the SEC Championship Game last December.
Bennett’s final throw before giving way to back-up Carson Beck was an 18-yard touchdown pass to Adonai Mitchell that made it 42-3.
In the first half alone, Bennett was 18-of-21 passing for 254 yards with a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown, the Bulldogs leading 28-3.
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“He’s made some plays for us,” UGA coach Kirby Smart said during his halftime interview. “You know, we’ve had a couple times where we’ve broke down in protection that he made plays, and that’s what he does. He’s really good at that.”
Bennett spun out of a would-be sack and found an open Ladd McConkey in the back of the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown pass that gave the Bulldogs a 28-3 lead.
“We’ve got to sure up some protection and buy him more time,” Smart said, “but the offense has been really efficient.”
Georgia outgained Oregon 313 yards to 183 yards in the first half and was 5-of-5 converting on third downs.
Oregon QB Bo Nix, a transfer from Oregon, was 16-of-24 passing for 142 yards with two interceptions in the first half.