ATHENS — Kirby Smart dropped hints throughout the week that might have led some to suspect he was leaning toward starting a more experienced quarterback against UAB.
After all, the Blazers returned nine of 11 starters from a defense that ranked seventh in the nation last season in yards allowed per game, and Georgia was lacking experience receivers.
The only way UAB could win, it seemed, would be if the Bulldogs turned the ball over.
Smart decided that Bennett’s experience — 10 games and five starts at Georgia last season, a season backing up Jake Fromm in 2019 and a 2018 JUCO campaign --outweighed the talent and high ceiling of No. 2 quarterback Carson Beck.
It certainly proved correct, as Bennett led the Bulldogs to touchdowns on six of the drives he orchestrated, while Beck struggled with freshman mistakes ranking from off-target throws to snaps going through his hands.
Here are three other things to take note of:
Wowzers, Brock Bowers
The freshman tight end was drawing rave reviews in the offseason with seemingly overblown comparisons to NFL standouts George Kittle and Travis Kelce, and stories of his 40-inch vertical and 4.5-second time in the 40-yard dash.
Seeing was believing once again on Saturday against UAB, particularly on Bowers’ 88-yard TD reception from Bennett, when he outraced the UAB safety who appeared to have a strong pursuit angle on him.
The game before, Christopher Smith had a 74-yard intersection return for a touchdown that served as the only touchdown of the game in the 10-3 victory over Clemson.
The Georgia defense, which allowed just 180 total yards to the Tigers — 2 yards rushing — was not as sharp versus the run against the Blazers.
UAB gained 119 of its 174 total yards with the running game.
Mixed kicking game
Punter Jake Camarda is looking like the best at his position in the nation, booting his three punts Saturday an average of 49.7 yards with impressive hang time and two inside the Blazers’ 20-yard line.
Georgia kicker Jack Podlesny, however, missed his second field goal of the season of less than 40 yards pushing a 32-yard attempt in the fourth quarter wide right.
Podlesny is 1-of-3 kicking field goals on the season, having also missed a 36-yarder in a then-scoreless game with Clemson, and making a 22-yarder in the 10-3 win over the Tigers.
UGA still has kicker Jared Zirkel on the roster, and it’s safe to assume the competition at the position will continue in practice with the Bulldogs playing South Carolina in their SEC opener next Saturday.