Bennett Leads Georgia To First National Title Since 1980
By Jason Hall
January 11, 2022
The name Stetson Bennett IV will forever be etched in Georgia Bulldogs history.
The former walk-on turned starting quarterback led No. 3 Georgia to a 33-18 victory over No. 1 Alabama in the College Football Playoff on Monday (January 10) night, avenging their only loss of 2021 in the SEC Championship last month and claiming their first national title since 1980.
Bennett completed a 40-yard touchdown pass to Adonai Mitchell to put the Bulldogs ahead, 19-18, with 8:09 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The go-ahead touchdown came on Georgia's ensuing drive, which followed an Alabama touchdown setup by a costly fumble lost by Bennett on the Bulldogs' previous possession.
Georgia's defense -- which held Alabama out of the end zone until its only touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter -- forced a turnover on downs, which set up a seven-play, 62-yard drive capped off by Bennett's 15-yard touchdown pass to Brock Bowers with 3:33 remaining.
The Bulldogs provided the final blow when Kelee Ringo interception Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young on a 79-yard touchdown with 0:54 remaining.
Bennett finished Monday's game with 224 yards and two touchdowns on 17 of 26 passing.
The win marked the first time Georgia head coach Kirby Smart defeated Alabama's Nick Saban, becoming the second former Saban assistant to defeat the seven-time national champion following Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M's win against the Tide in October 2021.
Smart, a former defensive back at Georgia from 1995-98, coached under Saban from 2007-15 before taking over as head coach of his alma mater in 2016.
Alabama had previously defeated Georgia, 41-24, during the 2021 SEC Championship Game on December 4.