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'We hunted tonight' | Here's what Kirby Smart and Stetson Bennett said after Georgia's national title

A jubilant Smart painted a picture of a team that did not lose its hunger after winning the national title this year.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Georgia coach Kirby Smart said after the team sealed their second straight national title on Monday night that he had something of a theme for the season, a message to steer away from the classic championship-defense-challenge of feeling like everyone's coming after you with their best shot.

"All year I told 'em, I said, 'We ain't getting hunted guys, we're doing the hunting," Smart said in an interview with ESPN after the 65-7 pummeling of TCU. "And hunting season's almost over. We only got one more chance to hunt."

"And we hunted tonight."

RELATED: Back-to-back: Georgia repeats as national champions with 65-7 rout of TCU

A jubilant Smart painted a picture of a team that did not lose its hunger after winning the national title this year. He noted his Bulldogs were a team that lost record amounts of talent to the NFL, came into the season with doubts about how they would remain an elite team without all that talent - and, ultimately, that all that gave them an edge.

Georgia TCU final score

  • Bulldogs win National Championship Game 65-7

"They had a will to work, they didn't listen to what everybody said about them, and everybody doubted them to start the year," he said. "And that chip on the shoulder was just big enough to create an edge for our team because every time they got doubted, they came out fighting."

Asked how these Georgia Bulldogs - a program that just a few years ago was one of college football's most tortured in their search for a national title for the first time since 1980 - have ascended to college football royalty, Smart credited hard work and attitude.

"As long as you don't have entitlement in your program, you've got a shot, and right now we don't have that," he said. But the coach did allude to the struggle it will be to keep new classes of Dawgs humble. 

"It's creeping," he said of that potential slip in attitude. "Games like tonight make it that way, but we've got a lot of humble guys."

Stetson Bennett

Smart was also effusive in his praise for Stetson Bennett, the once-unheralded quarterback who arrived in Athens as a walk-on, had to leave to the junior college ranks to find his way - only for that way to wind up right back in Athens, ultimately leading the Dawgs to territory no other Georgia quarterback has.

"He's meant a lot to me personally, because of what he's gone through, what he's put up with from the outside noise," Smart said of Bennett. "But to this university - for a kid that was told he wasn't good enough, to come back and win two national championships - he's really phenomenal. He did some things tonight that are just electric, he's a one-of-a-kind, he's a special football player, and he should get many opportunities to keep playing."

Bennett himself was nearly speechless speaking to ESPN.

"I dunno, last one, I have no clue," he said when asked how he was processing the moment. "Champions of the whole damn world. Just trying to see everybody for the last time, hug everybody, trying not to cry."

He also said a curtain call Coach Smart gave him was "special, I'll remember that for the rest of my life."

"That does not happen with Coach Smart, I can tell you that," he said.

He was asked what Smart told him when they embraced on the sideline.

"He just told me he loved me, and just the journey that we've been through together... golly, seeing everybody that was here from when I got here, and they're still here, and we're back to back," Bennett said.


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