ATHENS — UAB coach Bill Clark said his staff was watching along with the Georgia fanbase last week trying to figure out who Kirby Smart would turn to at starter on Saturday.
“Obviously, we had heard all the rumors about the quarterback situation,” Clark said. “.We knew every one of those guys were good, especially 13, I guess that’s Bennett. We obviously watched him from last year. We knew he liked to throw it deep.”
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Bennett did just that, striking on two touchdown passes of more than 60 yards and completing his first seven throws as Georgia raced out to a 35-0 halftime lead en route to the 56-7 win.
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Bennett, a fifth-year senior who started five games last season before giving way to USC transfer JT Daniels, hadn’t played since staking Georgia out to a 14-0 lead over Florida in a game he suffered a sprained AC joint in his shoulder.
In addition to posting a 10-of-12, 288-yard passing performance and tying the school record with 5 TD passes, Bennett scrambled out of pressures and had the longest run of the day for the Bulldogs, a 20-yarder that set up another touchdown.
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“The starter (JT Daniels), there’s a reason he’s the starter, he’s a great thrower,” Clark said. (But) he’s not as mobile and you saw that a couple of times where 13 got out on us a little bit on some of our two-man.
“We had a little run there at the second half and we got to score some points. We had a run there where we had a two-man situation and he got out. ... His legs made a difference.”
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So did offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who Clark admitted had some surprises for the Blazer defense when Georgia lined up in a familiar formation, only to run different routes out of it.
”I think they did a good job of using our rules against us,” Clark said, explaining how UAB had schemed for certain plays out of formation recognition. “They got in that bunch set over and over and over. We worked it all week.
“We had not really seen deep shots our of it,” Clark said, indicating the Bulldogs previously shown had a tendency to run out of the formation. “Give them credit. They knew we were going to go in there and try to stop the run because that’s what they did last week. I think that’s that point of how good a team is. How fast can they really take those shots?