Starting quarterback Stetson Bennett added to his legacy as Georgia's quarterback, becoming the first starter to win a national championship in the program's history since 1980 when Buck Belue last led the Bulldogs to a championship win. Bennett completed 17 of 26 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns in the 33-18 win over longtime stumbling block Alabama.
It was not the type of performance that many had expected from the former walk-on after the win over Michigan in the semifinal, where he threw for over 300 yards passing and three touchdowns. Bennett struggled for the majority of the game against Alabama as Georgia's offense did not find the end zone until the third quarter on the one-yard touchdown run by Zamir White, thanks to a 67-yard rush by James Cook to help set up the eventual touchdown scoring drive.
ESPN's sideline reporter Kris Budden believes she may have found what caused Bennett’s struggles. On ESPNU Radio's College Sports Today, Budden said, "One thing I thought was interesting from a sideline perspective was that he (Bennett) took the sack on the first play of their first possession and he landed on his wrist awkwardly,"
And he gets up, and he's rolling his wrist, and for a good three-quarters of the game, he's trying to stretch it out. You could tell it bothered him. He came out at halftime and was using the Theragun massager on his forearm, and honestly, his throws didn't look great, especially the first half. So, we were trying to wonder did that play into it. Did his wrist not feel good? Then maybe some adrenaline hit, and once he started to make some throws, it was just spot on from there.
Budden went even as far as to add that she thought former starting quarterback JT Daniels would come into the game for Bennett due to the potentially injured wrist. "That was kind of the concern. We saw him, he was really looking at his wrist. He stood up to throw at one point; I believe midway through the third quarter. He sat down, and then JT (Daniels) got up to throw, and we were like, 'huh, are they gonna make a switch?"
After Zamir White's rushing touchdown, the first touchdown of the game, in the third quarter, it silenced any doubt about whether Kirby Smart would make a change at quarterback. But, instead, Bennett would go on to lead Georgia to victory, thanks to his 40-yard touchdown pass to Adonai Mitchell in the fourth quarter that gave Georgia a 19-18 lead after Bennett's touchdown pass got them back from being down 18-13.
No official statement has been released by anyone at Georgia regarding the potential injury to Bennett during the championship game; at this point, it may be kept under wraps as the former Blackshear, Georgia, native will have to decide whether Monday was his final game in the red and black or if he'll take the free year of eligibility and return for a sixth season.