COLUMBIA — The Heisman Trophy hype is real for Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett, and he hasn’t even played in the fourth quarter of a game this season.
Bennett continued to deliver for the Bulldogs’ offense on Saturday, producing the sort of highlight-friendly moments that sway Heisman Trophy voters in the 48-7 win over South Carolina.
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The No. 1-ranked Bulldogs have looked unstoppable through three games, scoring touchdowns on 13 of Bennett’s first 19 drives this season before he had his first three-and-out series of the season in the second quarter in Columbia.
At that, Bennett had grown sick on the sideline before that series — and still managed two first downs before a third down misfire.
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Consider, entering the Saturday action in Columbia, Bennett’s Heisman odds were 16-to-1 — third-best behind Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud (3-to-1), Alabama’s Bryce Young (3.5-to-1) and USC’s Caleb Williams (4-to-1), per VegasInsider.com.
It’s a sure bet Bennett will become even more of a favorite after the show he put on at Williams-Brice Stadium.
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Bennett’s dual-threat performance went just as Smart had suggested it might on his Thursday night coach’s show.
“There’s an option to throw a fade (deep pass) to this guy, a screen (outside) to this guy, or hand the ball off to this guy,” Smart said.
“That’s three options on one play, and the quarterback has the option of changing that play, so there’s a lot more to defend.
“A quarterback who is a really good athlete and can run the ball, that gives you a fourth option, … and when you have one like Stetson who is very intelligent and can handle all of those things and can run, then you’re talking about being hard to defend.”
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The odds of stopping Todd Monken’s offense on Saturday appeared about as long as Bennett’s preseason Heisman Trophy odds — which were 200-to-1 entering a Top 15 showdown with Oregon.
Surely, if anyone knew how to stop Bennett in Monken’s offense, it would be Oregon coach Dan Lanning, who saw Bennett in practice each day as UGA’s former defensive coordinator.
Bennett, instead, carved up the Ducks, showing off improved mechanics that led to accurate intermediate throws that were missing last season and better decision-making.
Through three games, Georgia has not committed any turnovers.
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The oddsmakers noticed Bennett’s improvement after he led Georgia on seven straight touchdown drives to highlight the 49-3 victory over Oregon. His Heisman odds went from 200-to-1 in the preseason at some sports books, to 18-to-1 entering the South Carolina game.