Mark Schrabach ESPN Senior Writer
- Senior College Football Writer
- Author of seven college football books
- Georgia graduate
ATLANTA — Defending national champion Georgia may have lost 15 players in the NFL draft, but the No. Looking good in one game, the Oregon No. 11 was beaten 49-3 Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Even after losing five defensive players in the first round, including No. 1 overall pick Traven Walker, Georgia’s defense was too quick for the Ducks.
After losing most of its players from a school in NFL draft history to be selected, Georgia still looks set to look again for the third time in Smart’s seven seasons CFP seats.
But Smart knows his young team has a long way to go to get back there, even after an uneven win in the opener.
“Expectations have definitely been contained,” Smart said. “You don’t have to worry about that.”
Georgia’s offense, which was secondary to last season’s record-setting defense, was more explosive against the Ducks. Quarterback Stetson Bennett, who led the Bulldogs to their first national championship in 41 years, completed 25 of 31 passes for a career-high 368 yards, two touchdowns.
With 21 seconds left in the first half, Bennett turned around Oregon’s four guards and somehow saw Rad McConkie, who was in the end zone A wide, 4-yard touchdown gave Georgia a 28-3 halftime lead.
Started last season as Georgia State’s No. 3 quarterback and was pushed into the lineup after JT Daniels was injured, Bennett is the undisputed starter this year .
“I don’t think Stetson is really going to be affected by anything I do, what you do or what anyone does,” Smart said. “Steyson lives in his own world and he does a really good job of blocking out all the noise. This guy has a flip phone, well, in 2021. He’s not really into it all.
“I think that’s where his strengths lie, he played some games today where he didn’t make the right decisions and he knows that. He knew his mistake. He must be very smart. Maybe we don’t ask him to do things he does. But he did make some games with his feet and I think you’re good, I wouldn’t say it’s bad, but you’re going to do it with his bad decisions. “
Georgia had touchdowns on each of its first 7 possessions, converted its first 9 thirds and went 6 for 6 in the red zone. Bulldogs until fourth Played early in the quarter when freshman Brett Thorson threw a 53-yarder.
The Ducks had nothing against Georgia’s rebuilding defense. Oregon had 313 yards offense, averaging 4.6 yards per game compared to the Bulldogs’ 9.2. Georgia had two interceptions and stopped the Ducks on the 3-yard goal line with 1:22 left.
“We don’t want to be the hunt,” said safety Christopher Smith, who has one of two interceptions in Georgia. “We want the hunt. “
Oregon State’s first game under new coach Dan Lanning, Bulldogs defensive coordinator in 2021. Disappointing first time Lanning makes his debut as head coach.
“He’s going to do well in Oregon,” Smart said. “He’s relentless. They will recover from it and he knows we have better players. He would never say that, but he knows we have better players. “