Most teams in the country, it goes without saying, would be unequivocally happy to advance to the College Football Playoff National Championship game. But the reigning-champion, top-ranked and undefeated Georgia Bulldogs certainly aren’t most teams, and Stetson Bennett believes his team can be much better with a title on the line against TCU than it was in the CFP Semifinals.
The star quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist told reporters on Tuesday “it’s pretty apparent” Georgia Football didn’t put its best foot forward in a thrilling 42-41 win over Ohio State on New Year’s Eve, a game the Bulldogs trailed by two touchdowns early in the fourth quarter.
“Who knows what the reason was, but it does have to be fixed,” said Bennett of the Bulldogs’ relative labors versus the Buckeyes, per ESPN’s Heather Dinich. “We’re trying to be perfect. And we’re trying to do everything that we can to make every play perfect. And when it’s not — win or lose — we’re not happy with it.”
Bennett threw for 398 yards, three touchdowns and one pick in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, capping his team’s wild comeback with a scoring strike to Adonai Mitchell from 10 yards out with 1:42 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs only held on for the victory when Buckeyes kicker Noah Ruggles badly missed a game-tying field goal attempt with just three seconds left.
Bennett may be seeking perfection, but Georgia’s offense—which produced 533 total yards in the Semifinals—was hardly the problem against Michigan. Defense is what almost doomed the Bulldogs, making defensive back Javon Bullard’s comments all the more heartening for Georgia fans heading into January 9th.
“I think the whole team can attest that we didn’t play our best game,” he said, “but at the end of the day, it’s only one result that matters the most, and that’s the W. But there’s a whole lot we can fix … communication and things like that, just the basic things like that, knowing your leverage, talking. I know we’ve got to talk better throughout with the secondary and things like that. Like I said, throughout this week we’re just going to work on some other things and try to detail our work to the best of our ability.”
Georgia football certainly isn’t taking TCU lightly. Bennett called Horned Frogs counterpart Max Duggan an “A+ dude” on Tuesday who’s the “heart and soul” of his team. Still, as much respect as the Bulldogs have for TCU, Bennett and company know their toughest opponent lies within.