Dec 31, 2021; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback JT Daniels (18) warms up prior to the Orange Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game against the Michigan Wolverines at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Georgia QB JT Daniels transfers to West Virginia

Quarterback JT Daniels is hoping the third time is the charm.

Daniels told ESPN on Wednesday that he’s transferring to West Virginia. The Mountaineers will be the third team for Daniels, who entered the NCAA transfer portal after two seasons at Georgia. He also played two seasons at Southern California.

“Going up and down the roster, I feel like they have very, very good pieces everywhere,” Daniels told ESPN. “It feels like a great fit for a quarterback. I feel like there’s a really, really, really good team that I’m going to step into and do my part to contribute.”

Daniels selected West Virginia over Missouri and Oregon State after recently visiting the schools.

Daniels also will see a familiar face in Graham Harrell, who is the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach with the Mountaineers. Harrell was the offensive coordinator with the Trojans when Daniels attended the school in 2019.

“It definitely helped knowing Graham coming into it and having a really good relationship with him,” Daniels said. “Knowing that I trust that offense and that system, and I believe in it. I also feel really comfortable with Coach Brown and the ideas that he has and the way that he runs a program.”

Daniels completed 68 of 94 passes for 722 yards with seven touchdowns and three interceptions in five games last season with national champion Georgia. He battled oblique and lat muscle injuries during the season.

His college career began with promise at USC before a knee injury in 2019 allowed Kedon Slovis to emerge as the Trojans quarterback.

Daniels is expected to battle returning quarterbacks Garrett Greene and Will Crowder and incoming freshman Nicco Marchiol for the starting job in West Virginia. Jarret Doege, who started the past two seasons, transferred to Western Kentucky.

–Field Level Media

Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Zamir White (3) against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia RB Zamir White declares for NFL Draft

Zamir White is leaving Athens, Ga. for the National Football League.

The Georgia junior running back announced Friday on his Instagram account that he is declaring for the upcoming NFL Draft, which will be held April 28-30.

“This season was an absolute thrill from start to finish and bringing a National Championship to Athens was the ultimate reward,” White wrote in a statement. “These are memories I will never forget and will surely last a lifetime. It’s what prepared me for this next step as I proudly announce my intention to declare for the 2022 NFL Draft!”

White is the second Georgia running back to declare for the draft. James Cook announced his decision Wednesday.

White was the leader in the backfield this season for the Bulldogs. He rushed for 856 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. He also caught nine passes for 75 yards.

In the national championship, White scored the first touchdown of the game on a 1-yard rush in the third quarter. White had 13 carries for 84 yards for the Bulldogs, who went on to a 33-18 win over Alabama.

White leaves Georgia having rushed for 2,043 yards and 25 touchdowns across three seasons.

With White and Cook departing, the Bulldogs likely will lean on Kenny McIntosh and Kendall Milton in the backfield next season. The duo combined for 592 yards and four touchdowns on the ground in 2021. McIntosh also had 242 receiving yards.

–Field Level Media

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) gets set to run a play during the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game between Georgia and Alabama in Atlanta, on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021.

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Georgia opens as 2.5-point favorite over Alabama

Georgia opened as a slight favorite over Alabama in the College Football Playoff title game despite the Bulldogs’ lopsided loss to the Crimson Tide in the Southeastern Conference championship game.

Third-ranked Georgia earned the rematch with a dominating 34-11 win over second-ranked Michigan on Friday night. No. 1 Alabama stamped its ticket for the Jan. 10 title game with a 27-6 win over No. 4 Cincinnati earlier in the day.

Alabama routed Georgia 41-24 on Dec. 4, securing a spot in the CFP while handing the Bulldogs their only loss of the season to date.

Despite the one-sided result last month, Georgia opened as a 2.5-point favorite at BetMGM, DraftKings and FanDuel, among other sportsbooks.

The rematch will take place in Indianapolis.

“A lot of things to fix,” Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said Friday when asked about preparing for Alabama. “We got to fix some of those over the break. … We got to get back and get to work for what is a really good football team.”

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett said of the SEC title-game loss to the Tide, “We don’t worry about that in our locker room. Each and every day, these guys go out there and work their butts off. We knew we were better than what we showed last game, and we worked every single day.”

Alabama is seeking its second consecutive national title after routing the first non-Power 5 school to reach the CFP.

“I’m really proud of this group to come this far,” Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said. “They’ve got an opportunity now, and now’s not the time to be relieved, but it’s also time to enjoy what we accomplished tonight.”

–Field Level Media

Georgia quarterback JT Daniels (18) and Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) warm up before the start the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game between Georgia and Alabama in Atlanta, on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021.

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Georgia QB Stetson Bennett to start CFP semifinal

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart confirmed Wednesday that Stetson Bennett will be the starting quarterback in Friday’s College Football Playoff semifinal against Michigan.

Quarterback JT Daniels’ health remains in question as the No. 3 Bulldogs (12-1) take on the No. 2 Wolverines (12-1) in the Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens, Fla.

“Stetson is our starting quarterback,” Smart said Wednesday when asked if Daniels is likely to play. “The JT situation will be what’s the situation (in the game), right? And also if he’s healthy enough.

Bennett completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 2,325 yards, 24 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 12 games (10 starts) this season.

Daniels sustained multiple injuries this season (oblique, lat strain) and reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 just before Christmas. He passed for 722 yards with seven TDs and three picks in six games (three starts).

Smart acknowledged that starting Bennett over Daniels, who began the season as the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback, might not be a popular decision with everyone.

“There’s fans that may not agree with it, that may agree with it, media may not agree with it, may agree with it,” Smart said. “Our team understands that we’re going to give our team the best opportunity to win and Stetson does that. And that’s not to knock on JT. That’s the part that’s so sad about this is that you guys want to ask us as coaches questions, I want to answer them as honest as possible, but the hardest thing is every time you ask a question, you drive the comparison home.

“Really, at the end of the day, they’re both different quarterbacks, and they’re both good in their own right, and I think we’ve got four quarterbacks capable of winning big here at the University of Georgia, and Stetson is our quarterback right now.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA;  Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Derion Kendrick (11) and linebacker Nakobe Dean (17) react after a play in the first half against the Florida Gators at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive matchups among key storylines for No. 1 Georgia-No. 3 Alabama clash

For the past eight weeks, there has been no debate as to who’s the best team in college football.

The No. 1-ranked Georgia Bulldogs (12-0) have been a unanimous selection atop the AP Top 25 Poll since Alabama lost to Texas A&M 41-38 on Oct. 9. The Bulldogs are a week away from tying Alabama’s record of nine straight weeks of garnering every first-place vote, which they did in 2017-18 season, when they lost to Clemson in the national title game.

The Bulldogs have been the only team atop the College Football Playoff ranking this season, but that’s doesn’t mean they can’t be knocked off their perch — and Alabama might be the team to do it.

After all, the Crimson Tide (11-1) have beaten Georgia in six straight meetings dating to 2008.

Though Georgia is a 6.5-point favorite entering the teams’ meeting in the SEC Championship game on Saturday in Atlanta, if the Bulldogs struggle in the following three matchups, the Crimson Tide could roll to their second straight conference crown and third in the past four years.

Alabama receiver Jameson Williams vs. Georgia’s secondary

Georgia has given up five passing touchdowns this season and is ranked second nationally in passing yards allowed (151.9 per game). But the Bulldogs’ secondary, which is led by cornerbacks Derion Kendrick, Latavious Brini and Kelee Ringo, and safeties Christopher Smith and Lewis Cine, haven’t faced a receiver who’s as good as Williams, who might be the best in all of college football.

Williams has filled the void left by the departure of Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith.

The transfer from Ohio State has 61 receptions for 1,261 yards — an average of 20.7 yards a catch — to go along with 13 touchdowns. Williams has shown the ability to single-handily take over games, and if Georgia has busts in coverage, he’ll make the Bulldogs pay.

“He’s elite. He’s really good. The guy comes out and dominates at gunner,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “He’s a weapon out at wideout. He does a tremendous job.”

Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. vs. Georgia’s offensive line

The Crimson Tide’s defense has regressed from last year. Their opponents are averaging 19.92 points per game this season after holding the opposition to 16.8 points per game during the regular season last year en route to winning the national title.

The gap would likely be much wider if not for Anderson, who has emerged as the next great linebacker at a school that served as an NFL pipeline at the position for decades. Anderson leads the team in tackles for loss (30.5), sacks (14.5), quarterback hits (8) and is second on the team in tackles (86), behind Henry To’oTo’o’s 93.

If Anderson can stop Georgia running backs Zamir White (691 yards, 10 TDs) and James Cook (581 yards, seven TDs), not to mention get to quarterback Stetson Bennett, the Bulldogs could struggle moving the ball.

However, Georgia allowed just eight sacks this year, which ranks second in the country behind Army’s six.

“He’s a great player. He’s a game wrecker, watching his film and just seeing him, he’s explosive. He’s definitely one of those guys you have to make sure to keep contained,” Georgia nose guard Jordan Davis said. “We just have to make sure that we game plan for him and that we protect well up front on the offensive side and give (Georgia quarterback) Stetson (Bennett) some time to throw.”

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young vs. Georgia’s defense

Where would the Crimson Tide, who have been inconsistent running the ball all season, be without their Heisman hopeful at quarterback?

Young has thrown for 3,901 yards, 40 touchdowns and just four interceptions on 289-of-419 passing (69.0 percent). He ranks second nationally in passing touchdowns, fifth in passer rating (176.96), sixth in passing yards, seventh in passing yards per game (325.08) and eighth in yards per attempt (9.33).

“It’s going to be a great matchup for both sides,” Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker said. “We have to continue doing what we have been doing all season, and everything will go as planned. That being said, we just got to keep rushing the passer, and it will all fall in place.”

The Bulldogs have made life miserable for opposing quarterbacks this season. Opposing quarterbacks have the lowest passer rating in the nation (94.72) when they face Georgia, which also has 12 interceptions and 41 sacks.

“Georgia’s secondary is an area that pops on defense when you watch the film,” Young said. “They’ve made a lot of plays. They’ve done a really good job on the back end. With corner safeties, everyone, it’s a really good unit. So we understand that. We see that on film, and we know what it is going to the game.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 30, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Richard LeCounte (2) and offensive lineman Solomon Kindley (66) and defensive back J.R. Reed (20) and linebacker Tae Crowder (30) celebrate against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the second half at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Georgia focused on unfinished business

Amid top-ranked Georgia’s history-making season, coach Kirby Smart doesn’t want to talk about the past.

Georgia punctuated its first 12-0 regular season with a 45-0 win over Georgia Tech (3-9) on Saturday. The last time the Bulldogs were 12-0, they were celebrating beating Notre Dame to win the Sugar Bowl and claim their last national title in 1980.

The Bulldogs have allowed just 83 points all season, which is nearly 100 fewer than any other team. They’ve allowed an average of 6.92 points per game, by far the best mark in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Second-place Clemson has given up 180 points, an average of 15.0 per game.

Georgia’s 6.92 points allowed per game are the fewest in a season since Oklahoma allowed an average of 6.8 en route to finishing 11-1 in 1986. The Bulldogs’ three shutouts are tops nationally.

“I hate to demean it. It’s a big deal. It’s an honor. It’s great,” Smart said. “But it’s the next step in the process for this group. This group has had a single-minded focus. It never said, ‘Hey, let’s go 12-0.’ It said, ‘Hey, let’s beat everybody we play.’”

Up next for Georgia is its nemesis, No. 3 Alabama (11-1), which it meets in the Southeastern Conference title game on Saturday in Atlanta.

While Georgia’s spot in the College Football Playoff is all but guaranteed even with a loss to Alabama, the Crimson Tide must beat Georgia for a seventh straight time to be guaranteed an opportunity to defend their national championship.

“We’ve got some more business to take care of,” Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett said. “It’s cool to look at, and hopefully 20 years from now we’ll be able to look back and say we went undefeated through the regular season. But for right now, we’re going to take what this game gave us and move forward.”

For all of Georgia’s wins the past few years under Smart, the Bulldogs don’t have one over the Crimson Tide. Alabama defeated Georgia in the national championship game on Jan. 8, 2018, and followed that up with a victory in the SEC title game on Dec. 1, 2018.

In both contests, Alabama never had the ball with the lead, yet won both games. DeVonta Smith caught a walk-off, game-winning touchdown pass in overtime in the former. Jalen Hurts ran for the game-winning touchdown in the latter, with the Crimson Tide’s defense securing the win as time expired.

The Bulldogs saw their 45-0 dismantling of Georgia Tech, which failed to penetrate Georgia’s 25-yard line, as just another step to their ultimate goal.

“It’s something we’ll look back on and be really proud of,” Smart said. “But a lot more is going to be judged based on what we do in the future.”

Georgia has won the SEC’s East Division in four of the past five years, but it has watched two other SEC teams — Alabama and LSU — combine for three national championships during that span. The Bulldogs haven’t won one since Ronald Reagan was in the White House.

“We talk about ascending and trying to get better every week,” said Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean, whose team’s current 16-game winning streak is the longest in the FBS. “I’ve talked about it before. It’s always how we finish the season. If we don’t finish the right way, none of this really matters. It’s always how we finish. I’m thinking about the next one right now.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Jermaine Burton (7) catches a touchdown pass behind Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive back Myles Sims (16) during the first quarter at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Georgia crushes Georgia Tech 45-0

Stetson Bennett threw for 255 yards and four touchdowns Saturday as top-ranked Georgia capped its first 12-0 regular season in school history with a 45-0 victory over host Georgia Tech in a nonconference game in Atlanta.

Bennett, who was replaced by JT Daniels early in the fourth quarter, went 14-for-20 passing and completed passes to 10 different receivers.

Brock Bowers led the way with 100 yards and two touchdowns on three catches, while Ladd McConkey and Jermaine Burton each caught a touchdown pass. Kenny McIntosh rushed for 66 yards and a touchdown on two carries to power a ground game that amassed 208 yards on 31 carries, an average of 6.7 yards an attempt.

Georgia outgained Georgia Tech 463-171 and the Yellow Jackets never penetrated the Bulldogs’ 25-yard line in what was the largest shutout in the rivalry’s 113-game history.

The Bulldogs will face No. 3 Alabama in the Southeastern Conference title game on Dec. 4 in Atlanta.

Leading 24-0 at halftime, Georgia didn’t let up in the second half against the Yellow Jackets (3-9), who have lost six straight games for the first time since 1994.

The Bulldogs opened the third quarter with Bennett throwing a five-yard pass to receiver George Pickens, who was playing in his first game since tearing his ACL in practice last March. Bennett capped the nine-play, 97-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown pass to Bowers for a 31-0 lead with 9:55 left in the quarter.

McIntosh’s 59-yard pushed the lead to 38-0 with 3:45 left in the third quarter, with Daijun Edwards’ three-yard run making it 45-0 with 9:23 left in the game.

Georgia Tech quarterback Jordan Yates went 8-for-16 passing for 73 yards, while Dontae Smith and Jordan Mason each rushed for 59 yards, with Mason adding three receptions for 24 yards.

After Georgia took an early 3-0 lead on Jack Podlesny’s 38-yard field goal, the Bulldogs extended the lead to 10-0 when Bennett lofted a 25-yard pass over the defense to Burton to cap an eight-play, 80-yard drive with 4:38 left in the first quarter.

Georgia outgained the Yellow Jackets 157-18 in the first quarter and 272-67 in the first half.

McConkey pushed the lead to 17-0 when he turned a screen pass into an 11-yard touchdown to cap a seven-play, 87-yard drive just 87 seconds into the second quarter.

After Georgia Tech went three-and-out, Georgia needed just two plays to find the end zone again. Bennett hit Bowers for a quick nine-yard pass that the freshman caught in stride and outraced the defense for a 77-yard scoring play for a 24-0 lead with 11:03 left in the first half.

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2021; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. (1) runs past Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Latavious Brini (36) for a touchdown during the first quarter at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Georgia routs Tennessee, goes unbeaten in SEC for first time since ’82

James Cook scored three touchdowns to lead top-ranked Georgia to a 41-17 victory over host Tennessee on Saturday in Knoxville as the Bulldogs went undefeated in Southeastern Conference play for the first time since 1982.

Cook scored on runs of 39 and 5 yards and caught a 23-yard touchdown pass to finish with 104 rushing yards on 10 carries and three receptions for 43 yards for Georgia (10-0, 8-0 SEC), which amassed 487 yards of total offense.

The Bulldogs’ defense dominated Tennessee (5-5, 3-4), posting six sacks, forcing two turnovers, and holding the Volunteers to seven points in the final 46:38.

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett went 17-for-29 passing for 213 yards and a touchdown, in addition to running for 40 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. He spread the ball around, completing passes to nine different receivers, led by Adonai Mitchell’s five catches for 65 yards.

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker went 24-for-37 passing for 244 yards and a touchdown, with an interception, before being replaced by Joe Milton with 7:03 remaining.

Cedric Tillman had 10 catches for 200 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown catch, with Velus Jones adding eight catches, including a 9-yard touchdown, for 44 yards. Jabari Small rushed for 49 yards on 12 carries.

Trailing 24-10 at halftime, Tennessee drove to Georgia’s 17-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. The Bulldogs responded by marching 74 yards in 13 plays to take a 27-10 lead on Jack Podlesny’s 26-yard field goal with 4:41 left in the third quarter.

After Tennessee turned the ball over on downs on its next possession, Georgia put the game away when Cook’s 5-yard run capped a seven-play, 60-yard drive to give the Bulldogs a 34-10 lead with 13:14 remaining.

Kenny McIntosh’s 5-yard run pushed Georgia’s lead to 41-10 with 7:03 left.

After both teams scored a touchdown followed by a punt on their first two possessions, Tennessee capped the first-quarter scoring when Chase McGrath’s 24-yard field goal capped a 13-play, 76-yard drive with 1:39 remaining.

Georgia tied the game at 10 when Podlesny’s 40-yard field goal ended a nine-play, 44-yard drive with 9:42 left in the second quarter.

The Bulldogs took a 17-10 lead shortly after Derion Kendrick’s interception gave Georgia the ball at Tennessee’s 40-yard line. Five plays later, Bennett rushed up the middle 9 yards into the end zone with 7:24 remaining in the half.

Georgia extended its lead to 24-10 at the half when Bennett found Cook running down the sideline for a 23-yard touchdown pass with 37 seconds left.

–Field Level Media