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Georgia QB Stetson Bennett Talks Challenges of Repeating as Champs Ahead of OSU Game

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIDecember 28, 2022

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) runs the ball during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Georgia Tech Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022 in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
AP Photo/John Bazemore

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett spoke Wednesday about the difficulty of repeating as national champions, noting the importance and difficulty of maintaining the hunger, drive and work ethic the second time around.

"Good or bad, what they tell you, it's not true," Bennett said, per ESPN's Alex Scarborough. "And then you forget—like, you literally forget how you did it. And it's the craziest thing in the world because you want to [remember], but you took so much time off that you've forgotten how to do the work to get there."

Georgia won its first national championship in 31 years last season thanks in part to Bennett, who threw for 29 touchdown passes, including two in a 33-18 win over Alabama in the national championship game.

The redshirt senior returned for his sixth and final season of NCAA eligibility this year and helped lead the Bulldogs to a 13-0 mark with 27 touchdowns (20 passing, seven rushing).

Georgia has done a great job following up on its stellar 2021 season, but Bennett noted that it isn't easy to ward off the praise and focus on the challenges ahead. He said it's important to focus on "when you were hungry and there really was no other option if you wanted to keep playing here but to win."

"People lose track of that," Bennett said. "People lose track of how they felt before they won. They start to give more to the bright lights and all the shiny and the glittery stuff. And football's not about shiny and glitter."

Bennett finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting this year and was even invited to New York for the ceremony, which culminated in USC signal-caller Caleb Williams winning the award.

But Bennett is clearly focused on earning Georgia back-to-back national championships, something no Division I-FBS football program has done since Alabama in 2011 and 2012.

The Bulldogs' CFP semifinal matchup will take place against No. 4 Ohio State on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. The winner will face either No. 2 Michigan or No. 3 TCU in the national championship on Monday, Jan. 9.