Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett bagged another major award on Monday, as he won the Manning Award. The award goes to the nation’s top quarterback as judged by the Sugar Bowl and takes in bowl performances as well, whereas most awards do not.
Bennett was at his best last season in Georgia’s two postseason wins over Ohio State and TCU. He accounted for 10 touchdowns in the two wins while turning the ball over once. He completed 69 percent of his passes in those two games (41 of 59 attempts) for 702 yards.
“We started the Manning Award 19 years ago as a way to recognize the country’s top quarterback for the full season, including the postseason,” Archie Manning said. “I’m not sure we’ve ever had an honoree who showcased his ability and proved his worth all the way through the postseason like Stetson did this year. We’re thrilled to recognize him as this year’s Manning Award winner.
“On behalf of the entire Manning family, I want to again thank the Sugar Bowl Committee for its long-standing support of the Manning Award. The Bowl’s role in making this possible each year is greatly appreciated.”
On the season, Bennett finished with a Georgia record 4,127 passing yards, besting the previous mark set by Aaron Murray in 2012. He accounted for 37 total touchdowns, with 27 coming through the air and 10 via his legs.
Bennett was also a Heisman finalist and won the Burlsworth Trophy as the nation’s top player who began his career as a walk-on. He became the first Georgia quarterback in program history to accomplish either feat. The last Heisman Trophy finalist
He finished his Georgia career as a back-to-back national champion, becoming the first quarterback in Georgia to accomplish such a feat.
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“We had a really good offense,” Bennett said when asked where he ranks among all-time Georgia quarterbacks. “It makes me proud of what I’ve accomplished when I hear that because it means I’ve done some things right, but I don’t know if it’s accurate or not.
“I grew up watching Murray and (Matt) Stafford and (D.J.) Shock and (David) Greene. And who’s to say? Those dudes were all amazing.”
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With his big performances in the Peach Bowl and national championship game, Bennett led Georgia to a 15-0 season, the first in Georgia program history. Georgia was the only team in college football this year to go unbeaten.
“I mean, it’s special. It seems like for the past three or four months we’ve been looking to see if somebody could beat us, and we just ran out of games,” Bennett said. “Nobody could.”
Bennett beat out the likes of USC’s Caleb Williams, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and TCU’s Max Duggan to win the award. Past winners of the Manning Award include Joe Burrow, Tim Tebow and Vince Young.
Georgia will have to replace Bennett next season, as he moves on to the NFL. Carson Beck, Brock Vandagriff and Gunner Stockton will all compete to replace what Bennett brought to the team.
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