Third down demonstrates why Stetson Bennett outplayed Bo Nix

Brynn Anderson/AP

The two starting quarterbacks for No. 4 Georgia and No. 7 Auburn could not have more different as recruits. One was the No. 2569 overall recruit in his recruiting class. The other was the No. 33 overall player and No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the country. A 5-star player.

One quarterback was making his first career start. The other had been named SEC Freshman of the Year and tabbed as a difference-maker in this contest between the two top-10 teams.

“He just went up and made a heck of a play like he does,” Bennett said of the Pickens touchdown.

Nix on the ensuing drive went 3-and-out once again. Bennett then led Georgia on another scoring drive and it was 24-0.

Related: Social media gushes over Stetson Bennett, Georgia football for first half against Auburn

At that point, it was all but over for the Tigers, as the Georgia defense got to pin its ears back and continue to attack Nix and the Auburn offense.

“You just have to execute the game plan,” Georgia outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari said. “Just control the quarterback. He’s got great speed and he can get out so we just had to control him tonight.”

In those first 30-minutes, when the game was in the balance, Bennett clearly outshined Nix. Georgia went 6-for-9 on third-down to that point, while Auburn was 1-for-6.

After halftime, Bennett wasn’t asked to do nearly as much as he only threw six pass attempts in the final 30 minutes. Nix on the other hand spent most of the second-half running for his life. He ended up getting sacked three times and threw an interception, his first since Oct. 26 of 2019.

Bennett threw for 240 yards on 28 pass attempts while adding the touchdown to Pickens. Nix on the other hand needed 40 pass attempts to total 177 passing yards. Bennett was just better.

No one thought Bennett was going to be the guy for Georgia this season. Even offensive coordinator Todd Monken reportedly told him “sorry we just don’t see you as the starter,” according to ESPN’s Allison Williams. 

Bennett not only started for Georgia on Saturday night, he shined. He was the one who played like the 5-star quarterback and not the former walk-on and JUCO transfer that he at one-point was.

Through the ups and downs, Bennett always kept his confidence and maintained the belief in himself. Even with all the questions this week about who would start at quarterback, Bennett left no doubt he was the guy as he was the only Georgia quarterback to play meaningful snaps for against Auburn.

Since inserting Bennett into the game against Arkansas in the second quarter, the Bulldogs have outscored opponents 49-9. With Bennett at the helm, the Bulldogs have looked like one of the best teams in the country.

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