NCAA Football

Stetson Bennett shakes off loss against Florida, confidence intact entering Tennessee week

Stetson Bennett shakes off loss against Florida, confidence intact entering Tennessee week

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Stetson Bennett has played football long enough to know how to take the good with the bad.

“Things happen,” Bennett said, fielding a question about his performance in Georgia’s 42-20 win over Florida on Saturday.

“Bad things happen, good things happen, we have mature guys.”

RELATED: Stetson Bennett gets first appointment as team captain, checks another box

The No. 1 Bulldogs showed their composure and resilience in beating the Gators, but it’s no stretch to suggest that Bennett will have to play better for Georgia to get past No. 2 Tennessee.

Bennett went 19-of-38 for 316 yards and 2 touchdowns against a Florida team that ranks 117th in the nation in total defense and 87th in passing efficiency defense.

The Vols, by comparison, are 40th in passing efficiency defense and 82nd in total defense.

Much of the attention this week will be on Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker, who is among the frontrunners for the Heisman Trophy.

But Bennett’s numbers continue to rank among the top players in the nation, as Bennett is 14th with 293.62 yards per game passing, while Hooker averages 292.25.

The Vols’ quarterback is second in the nation with an efficiency rating of 191.64 (21 TDs, 1 interception), but Bennett is a respectable 38th, at 150.57 (9 TDs, 3 interceptions).

Coach Kirby Smart explained that aside from a few mistakes, Bennett played well against Florida.

“Stetson is playing well, he had some moments tonight, but he also did some really, really good things in this game that maybe the average eye doesn’t see,” Smart said.

“And if we could get the couple of decisions, he played really well, and it allows us to score because we’re probably not what we were defensively last year.”

Bennett had another ball dropped by a Florida defender in the first quarter, then forced a pass downfield that was intercepted in the third quarter.

Bennett looked back on his second interception, a pass underneath Daijun Edwards, and said, “I should have looked the ball over to Darnell (Washington).”

Washington, however, dropped a perfectly thrown pass from Bennett early in the game, and there were other balls Georgia’s receivers could have caught.

RELATED: The true, raw story of Stetson Bennett’s incredible trip to Georgia

“I tell them I make plays you make plays, I make mistakes, you make mistakes,” Bennett said. “This is football.

“The team isn’t judged on shoulda, coulda, woulda, we’re judged on what we do, so let’s do something.”

It’s a safe bet Georgia will be judged by what it does Saturday against Tennessee, and it’s up to Bennett to make sure the offense puts up enough points in what could be a high-scoring affair.

UGA News

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