November 12, 2022 Starkville, MS - Georgia's wide receiver Ladd McConkey (84) scores for a touchdown during the second half in an NCAA football game at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville on Saturday, November 12, 2022. Georgia won 45-19 over Mississippi State. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Ladd McConkey shouldn’t surprise anyone after Mississippi State showing: ‘He’s a stud’

STARKVILLE, Miss., — Mississippi State had absolutely no answer for Ladd McConkey on Saturday night. On a Georgia team that is as loaded as any in the country, it couldn’t stop a player who had scholarship offers from just Vanderbilt and Georgia coming out of high school.

The redshirt sophomore led Georgia in receiving hauling in five passes for 71 yards. He hauled in a 17-yard touchdown pass from Stetson Bennett that put Georgia up 31-12.

It was actually his second touchdown of the quarter, as McConkey took a reverse from Bennett, patiently waited for Darnell Washington and Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint to clear out their defenders and romp to the end zone for a 70-yard score.

And if you listen to Bennett, you’d have known the thrid-year player from Chatsworth, Ga., was always capable of making big plays as he did on Saturday against Mississippi State.

“We knew he was a stud from the moment he walked in,” Bennett said. “I was wondering why we weren’t getting this guy on the field. He’s a stud.”

McConkey’s touchdowns helped ice a game that was much closer at halftime than it should’ve been. Georgia had a 17-3 lead just minutes before halftime, only for Mississippi State to score nine later points thanks to a punt return touchdown and ‘bad” clock management per Smart.

Georgia got the ball first to start the second half and McConkey quickly went to work. His play helped put Mississippi State to bed and clinch the SEC East for Georgia. “

“A tremendous job by Darnell Washington, just elite perimeter blocking,” Smart said. “Ladd breaks one tackle, Rosemy has blocks downfield and Ladd outran them. It was just a great play call, a great design. It was a play that we put in this week for that look and it hit.”

Georgia’s wide receivers had drawn criticism in recent weeks in part because of the lack of explosive plays. Against Tennessee, McConkey hauled in a 37-yard touchdown pass from Bennett as he finished with 94 receiving yards.

McConkey now has touchdown catches in three consecutive games for Georgia. He’s emerged as a key piece of an offense that is averaging 40.6 points per game.

Through 10 games, McConkey has already statically surpassed what he did a season ago and seems poised to keep stacking big games.

Mississippi State hadn’t lost at home prior to the 45-19 beatdown laid by McConkey and Georgia. The Bulldogs of the SEC West were in by no way a bad team.

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