190907_RAC_SecondHalf-3.jpg

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) winds up a pass during the second half of Georgia’s home opener against Murray State University in Sanford Stadium on Saturday, Sep. 7, 2019, in Athens, Georgia. The Bulldogs won 63-17. (Photo/Ryan Cameron, rcameron@randb.com)

Georgia backup quarterback Stetson Bennett wasn't perfect on Saturday in the Bulldogs' 63-17 win over Murray State.

But perfection wasn't the goal. After all, this was his first time playing in a game between the hedges after transferring from Georgia before the 2018 season only to transfer back one year later. He knew when he made the decision that Jake Fromm was the unquestioned starter 

So for Bennett and the rest of Georgia's backups, the Murray State game was just an opportunity to see the field. 

"It was unbelievable, getting out there and being able to share that moment with those guys," Bennett said. 

Bennett took over for Fromm in the final drive of the second quarter and started the second half under center. Bennett threw for 124 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. 

The interception was returned for a touchdown by Murray State senior defensive back Nigel Walton, who said Murray State was running a zone blitz on the play.

"As soon as he threw it, I just broke and was able to jump in front of it and take it to the house," Walton said. "It was a blessing, for real."

Bennett said he was a half second late on releasing the throw. 

"It was the right read," Bennett said. "Safety went over, corner was soft. It's just different out there in a game." 

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said he was happy to see Bennett play in his first game as a Bulldog. Even against a team like Murray State, there's no better place to test a player's decision-making ability than an actual game. 

"He needs all the playing experience he can [get]," Smart said. "You can take every rep in practice you want, you can do every scrimmage you want, but getting the opportunity to go out in games and play is really important for his confidence." 

That's not to say Bennett doesn't have any other game experience. Last year at Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Mississippi, Bennett threw for 1,840 yards and 16 touchdowns while leading the team to a 10-2 record. 

Although he's no longer guaranteed playing time, Bennett is also just one injury away from being Georgia's starter. With D'Wan Mathis still unable to play after undergoing brain surgery during the offseason, Bennett is the de facto second-team quarterback. But there's another quarterback named Nathan Priestley, a freshman walk-on from Los Angeles, who has impressed Smart and Bennett. 

"The dude works his butt work off," Bennett said. "He's always going. He doesn't talk that much, until you get to know him. He's kind of opened up to me a little bit. In meetings, he's not talking, he's writing notes, scribbling notes. Trying to make him laugh is kind of like a game."

Priestley entered the game briefly at the end, completing one pass for two yards. Next week, Georgia plays Arkansas State. It may be another opportunity for Bennett to grow as a decision-maker. 

"Hopefully, I get another chance to go in," Bennett said. "I prepare every week like I'm going to go in, so we'll see how it goes."

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.