ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart might now be the third-highest-paid coach in college football, but his team is ranked No. 1.
College football is supposed to be cyclical, particularly when a program has lost an unprecedented 15 players in the NFL draft including five first-rounders.
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Instead, the Bulldogs have started the 2022 season on fire, beating Oregon 49-3 and winning a 33-0 name-your-score event against one of Smart’s old coaching buddies.
Quarterback Stetson Bennett had a strong enough performance to remain among the early-season Heisman Trophy contenders, and that’s as good of a place to start as any with this week’s stock report.
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Stetson Bennett was 24-of-34 passing for 300 yards with a passing TD and a running TD, missing on only a couple of throws and taking just one unnecessary sack. The Heisman Hype is getting real.
Darnell Washington is the Giant Mismatch tight end that teams cannot solve. Washington had 2 catches for 33 yards and a savage open field block to spring Bennett’s TD run. And the 6-foot-7, 275-popunder can and will do so much more when needed.
Kendall Milton is starting to hit stride after spending most of the past couple of seasons garaged. Milton broke a 19-yard run, UGA’s longest of the season and is a high ceiling back who will improve with carries.
Tykee Smith saw significant action. It was a big step toward the DB returning from last season’s knee injury living up to the hype he arrived with as a former All-American from West Virginia.
Smael Mondon led the team with 4 tackles, showing improvement from Game One in a linebacking corps that remains green and growing.
Kenny McIntosh led the team in receptions for a second consecutive game with 5 catches for 61 yards, providing yet another mismatch as a dangerous running back open-field threat.
Jackson Meeks stepped in impressively when his number was called after the AD Mitchell ankle injury, making 3 catches for 31 yards at receiver.
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The Georgia home schedule is brutal this season with September games against FCS Samford and next Kent State. It’s compounded by Auburn and Georgia Tech being so far down, though Tennessee could challenge. If UGA doesn’t extend the contract, this could be the last year the Bulldogs play their designated home game with Florida away from Sanford Stadium.
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