Kirk Herbstreit eager to see if Stetson Bennett gets to ‘write this final chapter the way he wants’
Even Kirk Herbstreit can’t help but marvel at what Stetson Bennett has been able to do. The ESPN commentator and self-proclaimed college football nut will call what will be Bennett’s final game as a college player on Monday night, when Bennett leads the Bulldogs into battle against TCU.
Given the way Bennett’s career played out, it’s fitting his final game will take place in Los Angeles.
“You could honestly write a movie script on his story. I’m excited to see if he gets an opportunity to write this final chapter the way he wants,” Herbstreit said in a Zoom call with reporters. “But it’s been a lot of fun to watch this guy against all odds proving everybody, including his own coaches and his own fans, wrong to the point of potentially winning back-to-back national titles.
“I’ll never forget what he’s done and how he had to prove people wrong along the way.”
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Herbstreit called Bennett’s most recent game, a thrilling 42-41 win over Ohio State in the Peach Bowl. Bennett wasn’t perfect but the Georgia quarterback played nearly flawless football down the stretch of the game. He completed 10 of his 12 fourth-quarter pass attempts for 207 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bulldogs were able to erase a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit and earn a spot in Monday’s championship game.
Bennett isn’t too focused on the end of his journey as a whole. He’d really like to play a more complete game against the Horned Frogs.
“I think there were, you know, stretches where we didn’t play well,” Bennett said earlier this week. “But then there were also stretches where we played really, really well. And no matter – that all happened within the game. And it’s not like we get less credit because it happened in a certain situation or what.
‘But we’ve just got to clean up those areas where we didn’t play as cleanly for a little bit. And not have to play basically perfect like we did in the fourth quarter.”
Bennett has already authored one of the great seasons in Georgia football history this year. He’s accounted for 31 total touchdowns while leading Georgia to an appearance in its second-straight national championship game. He became the school’s first Heisman Trophy finalist since 1992 and is set to become the first quarterback in school history to throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season.
Related: Hamilton, Biggie and Stetson Bennett living the ‘American Dream’ for Georgia football at the Heisman Trophy ceremony
The senior from Blackshear, Ga., has come a long way from being very publicly doubted even a year ago as Bennett was getting ready to face Alabama, a team that had already beaten him twice in his career.
“I think last year in that championship game against Alabama, that second half, they went from, ‘Oh gosh, what are we going to do?’ to, ‘Put the ball in his hands,’” Herbstreit said. “And I don’t want to say he won it for them, but I know his playmaking ability and a lot of those throws late in that game had a lot to do with how they won that game.
“Then he comes back this year as a seasoned veteran, and I think now he’s the face of the offense in the program.”
A win against the Horned Frogs would give Bennett a 29-3 record as a starter at Georgia, to go along with a pair of national championships. He’d unquestionably be the most accomplished quarterback in program history with the win, if he’s not already.
Herbstreit and Georgia fans alike will get a chance to watch Bennett and the Bulldogs one last time in the 2022 season, as ESPN will broadcast Monday’s game at 7:30 p.m. ET.
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