ATHENS, Ga. — Stetson Bennett tied a school record with five touchdown passes filling in for injured starter JT Daniels, leading No. 2 Georgia to a 56-7 rout of UAB on Saturday.
Bennett completed his first six passes — four of them going all the way to the end zone for the Bulldogs (2-0), who didn’t show any signs of a letdown after a 10-3 victory over Clemson despite the absence of their No. 1 quarterback.
Jermaine Burton set the tone by slipping behind the secondary to haul in a 73-yard TD from Bennett on Georgia’s second offensive play, thrilling the raucous crowd of nearly 93,000 at Sanford Stadium.
It was the first full house between the hedges since the 2019 season. Crowds were limited to about 20,000 last season because of the pandemic.
By the opening minute of the second quarter, Bennett had tacked on scoring passes of 12 yards to Kenny McIntosh, 89 yards to Brock Bowers and 61 yards to Arian Smith.
At that point, Bennett’s passer rating was a staggering 775.6. The Blazers’ secondary didn’t put up much resistance, leaving Burton, Bowers and Smith wide open with blown coverages.
After finally throwing an incompletion, Bennett tacked on his fifth TD of the game with another to Bowers, the freshman tight end finding a seam in the zone to grab a 9-yarder that sent the Bulldogs to the locker room with a 35-0 halftime lead.
Bennett completed 9 of 11 for 279 yards and became the sixth Georgia quarterback to pass for five touchdowns in a game. The most recent was Aaron Murray vs. New Mexico State in 2011.
Daniels was sidelined by an oblique injury, which is not believed to be a long-term problem. He was in uniform on the sideline, but the Bulldogs had no reason to risk a more serious issue by playing him against a team that was a 25 1/2-point underdog.
Once Daniels was ruled out, Georgia coach Kirby Smart made a bit of a surprising call on the starter. Redshirt freshman Carson Beck was listed as No. 2 on the depth chart, but the Bulldogs went with the more experienced signal-caller.
Great call. While some fans groaned when Bennett, a former walk-on who started five games in 2020, was introduced as the starter, there were nothing but cheers after he lit up the Blazers (1-1).
Georgia scored touchdowns on six of seven possessions with Bennett in the game.
The Bulldogs’ defense wasn’t too shabby, either. The unit has yet to allow a touchdown this season and has scored two itself, following up a pick-six against Clemson with another on Jamon Dumas-Johnson’s 21-yard interception return for a score.
UAB was held to 174 yards overall on a miserable day for quarterback Tyler Johnston III, who completed just 6 of 14 for 39 yards with three interceptions.
The Blazers avoided a shutout when Keondre Swoopes picked off a pass from Beck and returned it 61 yards for a score.
Beck did throw the first TD pass of his college career, a 12-yarder to Justin Robinson.
UAB: The Blazers have won two of the past three Conference USA titles, but they’re not ready to compete with a team at Georgia’s level.
Georgia: If nothing else, the Bulldogs should feel good about their quarterback depth, especially if Daniels’ injury lingers longer than expected.
None at all. Georgia will surely remain a solid No. 2 pick in The Associated Press poll behind top-ranked Alabama.
UAB: Travels to North Texas next Saturday for its first C-USA game of the season. The Blazers play their first four contests away from home before the debut of their new stadium in downtown Birmingham on Oct. 2 against Liberty.
Georgia: Begin a stretch of eight straight Southeastern Conference games when they host South Carolina next Saturday.