ATLANTA — When you think back on some of Brock Bowers’ epic college performances, last season’s national championship game doesn’t come to mind. While he did score the final offensive touchdown for Georgia, he had just four receptions for 36 yards.
Bowers was dealing with a shoulder injury that required offseason surgery, which partially explains his dimmed numbers in that game. Against Alabama in the SEC championship game last season, he caught 10 passes for 139 yards.
The Georgia tight end has once again had a sensational season, leading Georgia in every receiving category, earning First Team All-SEC honors and being a Mackey Award finalist.
He shined in the SEC championship game, catching a team-best six passes for 81 yards and another touchdown. And this time around, he really got to enjoy celebrating with his team.
Something that didn’t happen after last season’s national championship game.
“It’s a little bit nicer,” Bowers said on Saturday. “During the natty I had to get emergency drug tested right afterward. That was rough. It took like 30 minutes while everyone in the locker room was having fun.”
Bowers wasn’t the only one who did some celebrating on Saturday, as players such as Sedrick Van Pran, Kenny McIntosh and Jalen Carter busted out the big hats to enjoy Georgia’s win over LSU.
The Bulldogs won their first SEC championship game since 2017. Quarterback Stetson Bennett was the only current member of the team that was present that day.
Van Pran and fellow center Warren Ericson were the ones who carried the trophy into the locker room. That was a special moment for the two, one they both earned after working many long and hard hours to get to this point.
“That’s my guy. He’s been through so much. I wish him the best. He’s my brother, man. He does so for much and I do so much for him,” Van Pran said. “That’s generally someone I have a lot of love for and want to see succeed.”
Winning the SEC championship clearly meant a lot to a number of players on the team, given the frequent shortcoming the Bulldogs have had in this game. For someone like safety Chris Smith, it was the fourth time he had played in the game. And it’s the first time he won.
Georgia has won a national championship and a host of big games before. But Saturday showed why the SEC championship still matters for the Bulldogs, and the league as a whole.
“Winning the SEC is a big deal,’ Bennett said. “This is the best conference in football. National championships is huge and great. That’s our next goal. But SEC is the first goal, second goal after winning the East. Winning the SEC championship, there’s only one of those. It’s a banner. It’s the same thing as a national championship, just a little bit smaller scale.
Brock Bowers says he was drug tested after last season’s national championship game
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