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JT Daniels threw four touchdown passes in the win on Saturday.

Social media thrilled with JT Daniels performance, but ponders why Kirby Smart didn’t play him sooner

JT Daniels looked every bit as advertised and then some in his debut on Saturday night for the Georgia Bulldogs.

In his first start in a Georgia uniform, he tossed for 401 yards and four touchdowns. He’s the first Georgia quarterback to post those kinds of numbers since Aaron Murray did back in 2013.

Given how much of an issue the quarterback position has been for Georgia this season, many rejoiced and celebrated the performance.

“It feels really good, this is the first time I’ve taken a (game) snap since Aug. 31, 2019, in another part of the country,” Daniels said. “I really couldn’t be happier and more appreciative to Coach Smart Coach Monken and the team.”

Related: JT Daniels’ explosive plays to Jermaine Burton, receivers bring joy to offense

The one downside to Daniels’ stellar performance is that it has many asking why Georgia’s head coach Kirby Smart didn’t turn to Daniels sooner.

Daniels had been cleared after the game against Arkansas. Stetson Bennett looked good in wins over Tennessee and Auburn, he struggled against Alabama, Kentucky and Florida.

Smart himself did answer that exact question on Saturday night after the win.

“Absolutely I would,” Smart said. “But I also think people need to take into consideration that I’ve been coaching football for I don’t know how many years, 20 or 25 years and God knows Monken has probably doubled me as old as he is. There’s not a decision that we make as coaches, as a coaching staff, as an offensive coaching staff, five guys that I adore and think the world of … maybe the question should be, man, aren’t they glad they’ve got J.T. here, when nobody thought that maybe they needed him.

“Would I have loved him to go out and do that same thing to other teams? Absolutely. But the decisions were made on who we felt gave us the best opportunity to win, and a lot of that had to do with mobility and Stetson’s play. As Stet struggled, we had to look for other options. He did a great job with his opportunity, he also had some help in receivers that came back and how Mississippi State played them.  I don’t want to use that to demean how he played. He played unbelievable. I’m as proud as hell for the way he played. But every decision we make is who gives us the best opportunity to win the game and the men in that room who are making those decisions, they’ve got a lot of experience doing it.”

Georgia absolutely needed Daniels to play well given Georgia’s struggles running the ball and on defense. Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers threw for 336 yards, while Georgia ran for 8 yards on 23 carries, the worst rushing performance of Smart’s tenure as head coach.

Smart did go on to say that Daniels would be the starting quarterback going forward following his performance in the 31-24 win.

Among some of the other trending topics from the Mississippi State game include some spectacular catches by the Georgia wide receivers and the return of the black jerseys.

Georgia returns to the field next Saturday against South Carolina. The game is set for a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff and will air on the SEC Network. South Carolina did beat Georgia 20-17 last season.

Georgia football coach Kirby Smart explains why JT Daniels didn’t play sooner

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