Sep 18, 2021; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back James Cook (4) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a touchdown against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the first half at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via USA TODAY NETWORK

No. 2 Georgia runs away from South Carolina, 40-13

JT Daniels threw for 303 yards and three touchdowns to lead No. 2 Georgia to a 40-13 victory over visiting South Carolina in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams Saturday in Athens, Ga.

Adonai Mitchell caught four passes for a team-high 77 yards. Kendall Milton (66 yards) James Cook (51 yards) and Zamir White (51 yards) powered a ground game that rushed for 184 yards on 31 carries — an average of 5.9 yards per attempt — as the Bulldogs amassed 491 yards of total offense.

Georgia (3-0, 1-0 SEC) needed just six plays to take a 7-0 lead, as Cook capped a 75-yard drive with a 23-yard burst up the middle less than three minutes into the game.

South Carolina (2-1, 0-1 SEC) countered on its next drive with Parker White’s 37-yard field goal with 8:51 left in the first quarter.

Georgia struck back quickly, with Daniels finding Jermaine Burton wide open for a 43-yard touchdown pass and a 14-3 lead with 7:00 left in the first quarter.

South Carolina pulled to within 14-6 when White hit a 27-yard field goal. It was set up when South Carolina took over on Georgia’s 12-yard line after intercepting Stetson Bennett, who was rotating in at quarterback.

Georgia pulled away in the second quarter, outscoring the Gamecocks, 12-0.

After Daniels hit Mitchell for a 38-yard touchdown with just over six minutes left in the first half, Jordan Davis and Nolan Smith tackled quarterback Luke Doty in the end zone for a safety with 24 seconds remaining. Georgia capped the half when Jack Podlesny made a 36-field goal as time expired.

Georgia resumed where it left off in the third quarter, forcing two turnovers and converting both into touchdowns.

Following an interception, White scored on a five-yard run. After South Carolina fumbled away its ensuing possession, Daniels threw a four-yard scoring pass to Cook for a 40-6 lead with 7:37 left in the quarter.

South Carolina was forced to play three quarterbacks after starter Zeb Noland hurt his hand midway through the first half. He was replaced by Luke Doty and Jason Brown, who threw one pass that was incomplete. Noland was 1-for-2 passing for 61 yards.

Doty went 13-for-26 passing for 153 yards and a touchdown and an interception, while Kevin Harris and ZaQuandre White each rushed for 31 yards. Receiver Josh Vann had three catches for a team-high 128 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown reception that made it 40-13 with 10:55 left.

Daniels finished 23-for-31 passing with an interception.

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2021; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Arian Smith (11) reacts as he scores a touchdown after catching a pass against the UAB Blazers during the first half at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2 Georgia throttles UAB behind Stetson Bennett’s 5 TDs

Senior quarterback Stetson Bennett threw a school-record-tying five touchdowns passes in place of the injured JT Daniels to lead No. 2 Georgia to a 56-7 victory over Alabama-Birmingham on Saturday in Athens, Ga.

Bennett, who started five games last season for Georgia before suffering a shoulder injury and was replaced by Daniels, threw a 73-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Burton on Georgia’s second play. The Bulldogs (2-0) never looked back.

While Daniels was sidelined with a strained oblique, Bennett threw touchdown passes of 73, 12, 89, 61 yards and nine yards in the first half. He exited midway through the third quarter with the Bulldogs leading 42-0. He went 9-for-11 passing for 279 yards.

His five touchdown passes tied a school record for a game set on six other occasions, including most recently by Aaron Murray against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl in 2013.

Tight end Brock Bowers (three catches, 107 yards, 2 TDs) and Burton (three catches, 92 yards, TD) were among nine receivers with at least one catch. Zamir White led the Bulldogs’ rushing attack with 34 yards on seven carries.

Bennett threw a 12-yard touchdown to Kenny McIntosh to cap a five-play, 40-yard drive on Georgia’s second possession, giving the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.

Though he wasn’t injured, Bennett was replaced on Georgia’s next series by redshirt freshman Carson Beck, who handed the ball off three times before the Bulldogs punted.

Bennett returned on the next series and on first down threw an 89-yard touchdown pass to Bowers streaking down the sideline for a 21-0 lead with 1:14 left in the first quarter.

On the first play of Georgia’s next series, Bennett threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Arian Smith for a 28-0 lead less than a minute into the second quarter.

Bennett capped the first-half scoring with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Bowers for a 35-0 lead.

James Cook extended the lead to 42-0 with a 14-yard run with 8:42 left in the third quarter and Beck threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Justin Robinson to make it 49-0 less than two minutes later.

Jamon Dumas-Johnson added a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown that pushed Georgia’s lead to 56-0 with 10:14 left in the game.

Alabama-Birmingham quarterback Tyler Johnston III went 6-of-14 passing for 39 yards and three interceptions. DeWayne McBride rushed for 61 yards on 13 carries as the Blazers mustered just 174 yards of total offense. Georgia rolled up 539 yards.

The Blazers (1-1) avoided the shutout when Keondre Swoopes returned an interception 61 yards for a touchdown with just over five minutes remaining.

–Field Level Media

Sep 4, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback JT Daniels (18) during the first quarter against the Clemson Tigers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Georgia QB JT Daniels lobbying to play vs. UAB

Despite suffering an oblique injury, Georgia quarterback JT Daniels is lobbying the school’s training staff to let him play vs. UAB on Saturday, ESPN is reporting.

The Bulldogs intend to start redshirt freshman Carson Beck in his place, the report says.

The game, Georgia’s home opener, is at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Daniels, in his second season with the Bulldogs following a transfer from Southern California, completed 22 of 30 passes for 135 yards and an interception in Georgia’s season-opening 10-3 win over Clemson last week. The win vaulted Georgia up to No. 2 in the Associated Press poll.

According to The Athletic, both Daniels and Beck took snaps with the first-team offense at practice Wednesday. Georgia coach Kirby Smart told reporters the day prior that Beck is No. 2 on the team’s depth chart.

The Bulldogs might be able to get away with giving Daniels the week off against UAB, likely the weakest FBS opponent on their schedule — though the Blazers are the defending Conference USA champions and opened with a 31-0 win over Jacksonville State last week.

–Field Level Media

Sep 4, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback JT Daniels (18) throws the ball against the Clemson Tigers during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2 Georgia looks to find offensive rhythm vs. UAB

No. 2 Georgia will look to establish itself offensively against defending Conference USA champion Alabama-Birmingham in a nonconference game on Saturday in Athens, Ga.

The Bulldogs’ defense seized the spotlight in season-opening upset of then-No. 3 Clemson last week. Georgia held the Tigers to just two yards rushing on 23 attempts — Clemson’s lowest rushing total under coach Dabo Swinney and the fourth-lowest total in program history — and just 180 yards of total offense. The Tigers’ longest run was 10 yards.

Georgia (1-0) sacked quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei seven times and safety Christopher Smith’s 74-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter proved to be the difference.

But as good as Georgia was defensively, the Bulldogs struggled to move the ball for most of the night against Clemson. Quarterback JT Daniels completed 22-of-30 passes for 135 yards and an interception, while running back Zamir White (team-highs 13 carries, 74 yards) paced a rushing attack that amassed 121 yards on 31 carries.

Georgia forced Clemson into five three-and-outs and punts on five of the Tigers’ first 10 drives. The Tigers didn’t score until there was 9:08 left in the game. It also marked the first time in 144 games that Clemson failed to score in the first half, the longest streak in the FBS.

The Bulldogs will continue to try to break in their inexperienced group of receivers, which include freshman tight end Brock Bowers (six catches, 43 yards), Jaylen Johnson, Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint and Ladd McConkey. They have been forced to fill the void left by injuries to the team’s top receivers, including George Pickens, Darnell Washington and Dominick Blaylock, who were sidelined against Clemson and it’s unclear when they will return.

However, it’s unclear who coach Kirby Smart will have at his disposal, considering he said three or four of his players are sidelined with COVID-19, though he refused to identify them or declare them out for Saturday’s game.

“I’ll be honest with you, I’m as concerned as I’ve ever been, because we have three or four guys out with COVID and we have a couple staff members that have been out with COVID here recently,” Smart told ESPN.

“For us, we’re at our highest spike. And people are talking about vaccinations, well these are people that are vaccinated. We’re talking about breakthroughs, and so that concerns you not only for the players on your team that are unvaccinated, that are playing and not playing, because we want everybody to be safe. But it concerns me for the players that are vaccinated that we could lose them.”

The Blazers (1-0), who opened as a 29-point underdog against Georgia, had no trouble offensively in a 31-0 season-opening win over Jacksonville State.

Quarterback Tyler Johnston III completed 17 of 21 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers. Trea Shropshire had five receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown and RaJae’ Johnson-Sanders finished with three catches for 62 yards and a score.

Ryan Davis added three receptions for 51 yards, and Gerrit Prince caught three passes for 64 yards and a touchdown. Jermaine Brown Jr. rushed for a team-high 78 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries as the Blazers produced 518 yards of total offense.

Defensively, the Blazers were dominant against Jacksonville State, limiting the Gamecocks to 154 total yards and a 2-for-13 showing on third-down conversions en route to posting their first shutout since 2018.

“Obviously in Game 1 there’s always things to clean up, and we better get them cleaned up before we go to Athens,” coach Bill Clark said on “The Jim Rome Show.” “When people believe in whatever the process is and if they believe in what you are doing, I think that’s when you see good things happen and that’s what we have going right now.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2021; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia coach Kirby Smart takes the field before the start of the Peach Bowl NCAA college football game between Georgia and Cincinnati at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta., on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. Mandatory Credit: Joshua L. Jones-USA TODAY NETWORK

5-star QB Gunner Stockton commits to Georgia

Five-star quarterback Gunner Stockton committed to Georgia’s 2022 recruiting class on Thursday.

“GO DAWGS!!” head coach Kirby Smart tweeted shortly after Stockton announced his decision to play for his home-state Bulldogs.

“COMMITTED GO DAWGS,” Stockton posted on Twitter.

Stockton, from Georgia’s Rabun County High School, originally committed to South Carolina. He reopened his recruiting after the Gamecocks hired head coach Shane Beamer to replace Will Muschamp. It has been reported that Muschamp will join Smart’s coaching staff in Athens.

Stockton passed for 3,128 yards and 45 touchdowns last season, adding 1,581 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns on the ground.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound passer is ranked as the No. 1 dual-threat QB and the No. 27 overall prospect in the nation by the 247Sports Composite.

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2021; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Azeez Ojulari (13) celebrates after a sack against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the second half of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia LB Ojulari declares for NFL draft

One day after being named the defensive MVP of Georgia’s Peach Bowl win against Cincinnati, Bulldogs linebacker Azeez Ojulari announced Saturday he is heading to the NFL.

“Playing between the hedges on Saturdays is something I’ll be proud of forever. To my teammates, my brothers, y’all are family for life,” he posted on Twitter. “As far as what’s next, I have decided to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft. Wherever this next chapter takes me, I will always be a DAWG.”

A 6-foot-3, 240-pound redshirt sophomore from Marietta, Ga., Ojulari led the Bulldogs in sacks (8.5), tackles for loss (12.5) and forced fumbles (four) in 10 games this season. He was a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, presented to the nation’s top defensive player.

He registered three fourth-quarter sacks and forced two fumbles Friday as No. 9 Georgia rallied for a 24-21 victory against No. 8 Cincinnati in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, the Bearcats’ first loss of the season.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Ojulari as the No. 3 outside linebacker prospect in the draft pool, after Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Joseph Ossai of Texas.

Other Georgia players who have declared for the draft include offensive lineman Ben Cleveland, cornerbacks Eric Stokes and DJ Daniel, linebacker Monty Rice and tight end Tre’ McKitty.

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2021; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs tight end Darnell Washington (0) runs after a catch against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the first quarter of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Podlesny kicks No. 9 Georgia past No. 8 Cincinnati in Peach Bowl

Jack Podlesny’s career-long 53-yard field goal with 3 seconds remaining lifted No. 9 Georgia to a 24-21 win over No. 8 Cincinnati in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta on Friday.

Georgia, a member of the Southeastern Conference, finished the season with an 8-2 record after winning its second straight New Year’s Six bowl. The Bulldogs claimed the Sugar Bowl last year.

Cincinnati, which won the American Athletic Conference title, finished its season with a 9-1 record.

Georgia’s JT Daniels completed 26 of 38 passes for 392 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Zamir White rushed for 39 yards and a score on 11 carries for the Bulldogs, who mustered just 45 yards on 24 carries. George Pickens had seven catches for 135 yards and a score.

Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder, the reigning AAC’s Offensive Player of the Year, completed 24 of 37 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns.

Jerome Ford rushed for a game-high 97 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.

Cincinnati extended its 14-10 lead at halftime on its second play of the third quarter, as Ford took a handoff and ran a career-long 79 yards up the middle. Ford was among the running backs filling the void left by leading rusher Gerrid Doaks (673 yards, seven TDs), who was out with a leg injury.

Georgia got back into the game by capitalizing on Cincinnati’s mistake early in the fourth quarter. After recovering Ridder’s fumble on the Bearcats’ 25-yard line, White scored on 9-yard run two plays later to pull Georgia to within 21-16 with 13:20 left to play. The Bulldogs failed on their two-point conversion attempt, however.

The Bulldogs pulled to within 21-19 on Podlesny’s 32-yard field goal with 6:43 remaining.

Georgia took advantage of its last possession, when it took over at its 20-yard line with 1:28 remaining. Daniels drove the Bulldogs to Cincinnati’s 36-yard line, setting up Podlesny’s game-winning kick.

Georgia scored a safety on the game’s final play.

After Georgia’s Jordan Davis blocked Cole Smith’s 32-yard field goal with 6:37 left in the second quarter, Georgia took its first lead on Podlesny’s 37-yard goal with 3:46 left in the half. Cincinnati, however, countered on its next possession when Josh Whyle made a diving catch in the end zone to haul in Ridder’s 11-yard pass with 6 seconds left, giving the Bearcats a 14-10 lead at halftime.

Cincinnati took advantage of a Georgia mistake to grab an early lead. After a 4-yard punt by Jake Camarda gave the Bearcats the ball at Georgia’s 42-yard line, Ridder capped a seven-play drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Alec Pierce for a 7-0 lead with 4:38 remaining in the first half.

After Daniels squandered Georgia’s first scoring opportunity by throwing an interception in the end zone, he didn’t make a mistake on Georgia’s next possession by capping a five-play, 44-yard drive by finding Pickens over the middle for a 16-yard score to tie the game at 7 with 29 seconds left in the opening quarter.

Georgia were without seven starters: running back James Cook, guard Ben Cleveland, tight end Tre’ McKitty, center Trey Hill, cornerbacks Eric Stokes and DJ Daniel and linebacker Monty Rice. They opted out for either health reasons, preparation for the upcoming NFL Draft, or in Cook’s case, to mourn the death of his father.

–Field Level Media

Dec 12, 2020; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back James Cook (4) runs for a touchdown against Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Trajan Jeffcoat (18) during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Georgia RB Cook to miss Peach Bowl after father’s death

Georgia running back James Cook is expected to miss the upcoming Peach Bowl after his father passed away unexpectedly Tuesday, Saturday Down South reported.

Cook and his brother, Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings, planned to return home to Miami after learning that their father — also named James — died at the age of 46. The elder Cook reportedly had been suffering from complications of diabetes.

The ninth-ranked Bulldogs (7-2) are facing No. 8 Cincinnati (9-0) in the Peach Bowl on Friday.

Cook, a junior, is second on the team in carries (45), rushing yards (303) and rushing touchdowns (three). He ranks fourth on the team in catches (16), receiving yards (225) and receiving scores (two).

–Field Level Media