The defending national champions are making a statement once again. #1 Georgia took on #14 LSU in the SEC title game and flexed their muscles big time. The Bulldogs won 50-30 behind an impressive outing from Stetson Bennett. This is Georgia’s first SEC championship since 2017. Georgia also locked up the #1 seed in the CFP as we head into bowl season. Let’s recap all of the good things from the Bulldogs’ dominant victory.
Stetson Bennett Is A Georgia Legend
Bennett already has an incredible resume with last year’s national title and unbeaten season. Now, Bennett can now add “SEC champion” to his resume. Bennett finished with 274 passing yards and four passing touchdowns. Bennett is also the oldest starting quarterback, 25, to win the SEC title.
Bennett’s four touchdown passes all came in the first half and that put the Dogs in a spot to cruise. Bennett also connected with 10 different targets throughout the game. Bennett’s incredible run from walk-on to starting QB to national champion has him in elite company with past Georgia legends. Guys like Matthew Stafford and Jake Fromme are the gold standard and Bennett is right there with them.
If Bennett can lead the Dogs to a second consecutive national title, he will cement his name at the top of Bulldogs quarterback stardom. His first test will be defeating CJ Stroud and the Ohio State Buckeyes to get to the title game.
Bulldogs’ Defense Comes Up Clutch
If there was one thing that described Georgia football, it would be their defense. The 2021 version of this defense was historical in every way. The 2022 defense might not be the record-breaking group from last year but they are still elite. To beat LSU, this defense needed to make some clutch plays to stop the Tigers’ fast-paced offense.
The Bulldog defense made two key plays that destroyed LSU drives that would’ve changed the entire game. First, a blocked field goal that ended up being taken back 95 yards for a touchdown by Georgia’s Christopher Smith. Second, linebacker Smael Mondon Jr. came up with an interception after the football bounced off the helmet of LSU receiver Jack Bech. That pick set up a 22-yard bullet pass for a touchdown from Bennett to Ladd McConkey giving the Bulldogs a 21-7 lead before halftime.
The memo for the Bulldogs is to get up by two or three touchdowns and then coast to a win. While a 50-30 final score isn’t the ideal way to “coast”, this defense stepped up when needed. If the Bulldogs are going to win their second consecutive national title, more big plays will have to happen.
LSU Will Be A Problem Under Brian Kelly
When Brian Kelly was hired to coach LSU, I admit I had my doubts. Coaching in the SEC is tough but Kelly showed he is up for the challenge. LSU plays in arguably the toughest division in football but they managed to win it. The Tigers had some bad luck with starting QB Jayden Daniels getting hurt. If he was fully healthy, this game might have been a lot closer.
However, LSU did manage to put up 549 yards against one of the top defenses in college football. Backup QB Garrett Nussmeier came in and threw for 294 yards and two touchdowns once Daniels exited the game.
This program has plenty of promise moving forward. The Tigers winning their division under a first year coach is a good sign. Kelly will draw some recruits and LSU will be a team to watch in the SEC as long as they continue to win.
Georgia Is The Undisputed #1 Seed
If there was one big takeaway from this game, it is that Georgia is the clear and undeniable #1 seed. To go into your conference title game and put up 50 points and win by three scores, is big time. The defense is elite, the offense has become a cohesive unit behind Stetson Bennett, they have all the pieces to win it all…again.
The Bulldogs were officially given the number one seed for the CFP for the first time in the CFP era. Last year, Georgia was the #3 seed and went on to defeat Alabama for the national title. The pressure of being the overall #1 seed can be hard to overcome but the Bulldogs have been the best team in the country all year long, it isn’t going to stop now.
The big takeaway here is that Georgia is the real deal once again. LSU is back and ready to compete in the SEC. If the Bulldogs can piece it together in the CFP, they will win it all. Their first big test will be taking down CJ Stroud and Ohio State. Georgia should be the favorite but anything can happen in college football my friends.