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Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) prepares to throw the ball. The University of Georgia football team beat Georgia Tech 45-0 on Nov. 27, 2021, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo/ Kathryn Skeean, kskeean@randb.com)

Last time Georgia played Alabama, the Crimson Tide won in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 41-24. The Bulldogs’ quarterback, Stetson Bennett, threw for three interceptions. Now, as Bennett prepares for another meeting with Alabama, he better understands what it takes to win.

Bennett threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns in last season’s loss to Alabama on Oct. 17, 2020. He appeared in the next two games before quarterback JT Daniels took control of being the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback.

Daniels began 2021 as the starting quarterback, but was sidelined due to injury. As Daniels recovered, Bennett took over the position and stayed in control heading into the conference championship.

“Both of us know that we’re both really good players, and I think a lot of resentment and all that stuff comes from jealousy,” Bennett said. “And, obviously, we both want to be the starting quarterback, but we also know that what’s important is the team.”

As Bennett has led the Bulldogs’ offense, he has thrown for 1985 yards, 21 touchdowns and five interceptions. He has one rushing touchdown against Tennessee.

HIs five interceptions across 12 games are one less than he had in 2020 in eight games played. Bennett said that he has more understanding of football, and what it takes to win games.

“Individual plays are hard to win a game but they’re very easily lost,” Bennett said. “And that’s where most games, especially at the college level are won and lost, is by losing them and not by individual players winning them. So, not pressing and trusting everyone else on our team.”

Bennett and Georgia’s offense will face one of their biggest tests against Alabama in linebacker Will Anderson Jr. He leads the SEC with 15 sacks and leads Alabama with 30.5 tackles for loss. He has 86 tackles, which is second on the Crimson Tide behind Henry To'oTo'o.

Anderson Jr. has been a constant threat for opposing quarterbacks, but Bennett’s mobility and ability to extend plays with his feet could be a problem for the Crimson Tide defense.

“[Bennett is] very fast, he can move and he has great feet,” Anderson Jr. said. “He can escape the pocket really well and he can move sideline to sideline. I think the biggest thing right now is we just have to keep him contained in the pocket. We can’t let him run all over the field.”

Bennett will face one of his biggest tests of his career against Alabama in the SEC Championship.

He came to the Bulldogs as a freshman and played on the scout team before transferring to Jones College in Ellisville, Mississippi. Bennett later returned to Georgia, and is now on the cusp of history as he looks to win an SEC Championship with the team he cheered for as a boy.

As he has watched Bennett grow and lead the offense for the No. 1 team in the country, defensive lineman Jordan Davis said Bennett’s story is special to the team, and is near to Davis’ heart.

“Stetson is always going to be Steson and I’m super proud of him and I’m super honored to be his teammate,” Davis said.