Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett took a humorous approach to the rematch angle between Georgia and Alabama.
The two teams met in the SEC championship game on Dec. 4, with Alabama winning 41-24. Georgia will obviously need to make adjustments. The Crimson Tide will as well.
“Obviously when we go out on the field, would I prefer for Alabama if they’re going to change anything up to send us an e-mail this week,” Bennett asked. “I would love that, but I assume they won’t. So we’re going to prepare with what they’ve put on tape. We’re going to stick with their tendencies, just the same way I do every week, and be ready to adjust.
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Bennett was intercepted twice in the loss. The Georgia defense was also toasted by Bryce Young, who threw for an SEC championship game record 421 yards. He scored threw for three touchdowns and ran for another. Perhaps most impressively, Young wasn’t sacked in the win.
All of that came against the best defense in college football. Georgia can try and do different things schematically but as head coach Kirby Smart pointed out the Bulldogs just need to make more plays.
“Somebody’s got to win one-on-one. And a lot of times you’re better at pressure when you’re not on the field as long and you’re winning some third downs,” Smart said. “We had some really critical third-down losses that, hey, they didn’t beat us. We busted. And you can’t do that, not and beat a good football team. You’re giving them extra snaps every time that happens, and you can’t do that.”
Georgia had much more success against Michigan when the defense picked up 4.0 sacks and three turnovers. Bennett meanwhile played a flawless game, throwing for 313 yards and most importantly no turnovers.
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Alabama will also be allowed to make adjustments as well in this rematch. Alabama head coach Nick Saban has been in this exact position before. In 2011, Alabama and LSU met during the regular season with the Tigers came away with a 9-6 victory. The Crimson Tide still made it to the national championship and came away with a 21-0 win.
Saban said that result has no barring on this game for either side, especially given Smart was Saban’s defensive coordinator on that same team.
“They’re going to try to take advantage of things we did,” Saban said. “We’re going to try to take advantage of things and correct things we didn’t do well. And, I think, in that there are some subtle changes that you need to make so that you put your players in the best chance to be successful.”
For example, Georgia tight end Brock Bowers had a monster game against Alabama as he racked up 139 yards on 10 catches against Alabama. The Crimson Tide will go to great lengths to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
Alabama has also had to deal with a number of injuries since that game. Wide receiver John Metchie and cornerback Josh Jobe will both miss this game after suffering season-ending injuries. Alabama also isn’t sure of the status of starting right guard Emil Ekiyor, who left the Cincinnati game with an injury.
“You know, that was last game. We have to focus on this game,” outside linebacker Will Anderson said. “It’s going to be a whole, totally new game, new area, new setting, everything. So we’re going to see something different that we probably haven’t seen before. We have to be prepared for it.”
Bennett did offer more serious analysis on the rematch beyond just that of his email inbox. More than anyone, Bennett has to execute better if the Bulldogs are going to come out with a win when the two teams meet in Indianapolis.
“They’re going to be Alabama. And we’re going to be Georgia,” Bennett said. “And we’re going to see who executes better. And if there is a wrinkle come Monday night from either side, then whoever adjusts best to that will win the football game.”
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