Georgia football-Stetson Bennett-2022 SEC Championship
Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) gestures to the sidelines during the second half of the SEC Championship Game against the LSU Tigers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Heisman finalist or not, Stetson Bennett celebrates leading Georgia football to SEC championship

ATLANTA — This time last year, Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett sat next to Kirby Smart and had to hear his head coach field questions about whether or not he should Bennett should be benched.

After the 2022 SEC Championship Game, Smart was explaining to reporters why Bennett going to New York as a Heisman finalist.

“Absolutely. I mean, I think it’s one of those things, this guy’s 23 of 29 in the second half, I mean, he didn’t get to do a whole lot in the second half, so I don’t know what he was in the first half,” Smart said. “He’s played really well. I had several people come up to me and say they thought he played the best game of his career tonight. He played really good.”

Bennett completed 23 of his 29 pass attempts for 279 yards. He threw a season-high four touchdowns — all in the first half — to four different receivers. The Georgia offense scored 50 points in its 50-30 win over LSU.

Georgia is now 13-0, with Bennett conducting each victory. On the season, he’s now thrown for 20 touchdowns, ran for another seven all while leading what is clearly the best team in the country.

A year ago, Bennett was picked twice in this game and had to watch Alabama celebrate an upset win in the SEC championship. On Saturday, Bennett finally got to celebrate after once again leading Georgia to a victory.

The Georgia quarterback knows he’s more than capable of making plays. And that he’s got a number of talented playmakers around him.

He’s having fun. He’s focused, but on leading Georgia to another National Championship and not a Heisman Trophy.

And after Saturday’s performance, he’s not so much a darkhorse for the Heisman Trophy, but a legitimate contender for the award.

“Well, I mean, I was familiar with the plays. We repped them a lot during the week, during the season,” Bennett said. “We had executed them during the week. When it’s the SEC Championship, you kind of got to play confident. If you don’t, then they’re going to beat you. Yeah, I don’t know. Got good players. I mean, I don’t think I got touched tonight. Our O-line was incredible.”

Stetson Bennett makes strong case to be Heisman Trophy finalist

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