GAMEDAY College Football

Georgia 56, Alabama-Birmingham 7

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

AP Sports Writer

ATHENS, Ga. - Stetson Bennett did his best to create a quarterback controversy at Georgia.

Stepping in for injured starter JT Daniels, Bennett tied a school record with five touchdown passes in the first half to lead No. 2 Georgia to a 56-7 rout of UAB.

The senior completed his first six passes - four of them going all the way to the end zone for the Bulldogs (2-0), who didn't show any signs of a letdown after a 10-3 victory over Clemson in the opener.

Bennett, a former walk-on, started five games last season before Daniels claimed the job.

It looks as if Bennett hasn't given up on winning it back.

"I guess it's just an innate confidence," he said. "If you believe you're good enough, it really doesn't matter the situation that is thrust upon you."

Jermaine Burton set the tone by slipping behind the secondary to haul in a 73-yard TD from Bennett on Georgia's second offensive play, thrilling the raucous crowd of nearly 93,000 at Sanford Stadium.

It was the first full house between the hedges since the 2019 season. Crowds were limited to about 20,000 last season because of the pandemic.

By the opening minute of the second quarter, Bennett had tacked on scoring passes of 12 yards to Kenny McIntosh, 89 yards to Brock Bowers and 61 yards to Arian Smith.

At that point, Bennett's passer rating was a staggering 775.6. The Blazers' secondary didn't put up much resistance, leaving Burton, Bowers and Smith wide open with blown coverages.

"It always helps when you've got great players all over the field," Bennett said.

After finally throwing an incompletion, Bennett tacked on his fifth TD of the game with another to Bowers, the freshman tight end finding a seam in the zone to grab a 9-yarder that sent the Bulldogs to the locker room with a 35-0 halftime lead.

Bennett played only one more series in the second half and, yes, led the Bulldogs to another TD. He set it up with a 20-yard scramble - Georgia's longest run of the day - before James Cook took it in from the 14.

Bennett finished 9 of 11 passing for 279 yards and became the sixth Georgia quarterback to pass for five touchdowns in a game. The most recent was Aaron Murray vs. New Mexico State in 2011.

"He's always had great composure, great athletic ability and a great understanding of the game," coach Kirby Smart said. "He's meant a lot to this program. All he does is do his job each and every day."

Daniels was sidelined by an oblique injury, which is not believed to be a long-term problem. He was in uniform on the sideline, but the Bulldogs had no reason to risk a more serious issue by playing him against a team that was a 25 1/2-point underdog.

Once Daniels was ruled out, Smart made a bit of a surprising call on the starter. Redshirt freshman Carson Beck was listed as No. 2 on the depth chart, but the Bulldogs went with the more experienced signal-caller.

Great call.

While some fans groaned when Bennett was introduced as the starter, remembering his up-and-down results in 2020, there were nothing but cheers after he lit up the Blazers (1-1).

Georgia scored touchdowns on six of seven possessions with Bennett in the game.

So, what's the quarterback situation going forward?

"It depends on JT's injury, it depends on how we practice during the week," Smart said. "It's a day-to-day evaluation. I don't get into hypotheticals."

The Bulldogs' defense wasn't too shabby, either. The unit has yet to allow a touchdown this season while scoring two itself, following up a pick-six against Clemson with another on Jamon Dumas-Johnson's 21-yard interception return for a score.

UAB was held to 174 yards overall on a miserable day for quarterback Tyler Johnston III, who completed just 6 of 14 for 39 yards with three interceptions.

"Give Georgia all the credit. They are super talented," UAB coach Bill Clark said. "They have a great defense and their special teams are unreal. There is no doubt that they are deserving of that No. 2 ranking."

The Blazers avoided a shutout when Keondre Swoopes picked off a pass from Beck and returned it 61 yards for a score.

Beck did throw the first TD pass of his college career, a 12-yarder to Justin Robinson.

Scoring Summary
First Quarter UABUGa
UGa TD 14:22 Jermaine Burton 73 yd pass from Stetson Bennett (Jack Podlesny kick) 0 7
UGa TD 10:17 Kenny McIntosh 12 yd pass from Stetson Bennett (Jack Podlesny kick) 0 14
UGa TD 1:14 Brock Bowers 89 yd pass from Stetson Bennett (Jack Podlesny kick) 0 21
Second Quarter UABUGa
UGa TD 14:09 Arian Smith 61 yd pass from Stetson Bennett (Jack Podlesny kick) 0 28
UGa TD 1:13 Brock Bowers 9 yd pass from Stetson Bennett (Jack Podlesny kick) 0 35
Third Quarter UABUGa
UGa TD 8:42 James Cook 14 yd run (Jack Podlesny kick) 0 42
UGa TD 7:11 Justin Robinson 12 yd pass from Carson Beck (Jack Podlesny kick) 0 49
Fourth Quarter UABUGa
UGa TD 10:14 Jamon Dumas-Johnson 20 yd interception return (Jack Podlesny kick) 0 56
UAB TD 5:02 Keondre Swoopes 61 yd interception return (Matt Quinn kick) 7 56
Team Stats
  UAB Georgia
First downs 11 23
  Rushing 8 11
  Passing 1 10
  Penalty 2 2
3rd Down Efficiency 1-11, 9% 6-11, 55%
4th down efficiency 1-2, 50% 0-1, 0%
Rushes-Yards 36-127 38-163
Passing Yards 47 376
Return Yards 59 76
Completions-Attempts-Int 8-17-3 14-22-1
Sacks-Yards Lost 3--21 0-0
Punts 8 3
Punts-Average 42.4 49.7
Fumbles Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties - Yards 11-78 4-47
Time of Possession 29:52 29:20
UAB Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
T. Johnston III 6 14 39 0 3
D. Hopkins 2 3 8 0 0
Georgia Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
S. Bennett 10 12 288 5 0
C. Beck 4 10 88 1 1
UAB Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
D. McBride 13 61 4.7 0
J. Brown Jr. 6 29 4.8 0
L. Stanley 4 21 5.3 0
L. Wooden 2 19 9.5 0
T. Johnston III 3 2 0.7 0
R. Johnson-Sanders 1 0 0.0 0
D. Hopkins 7 -5 -0.7 0
Georgia Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
Z. White 7 34 4.9 0
D. Edwards 7 29 4.1 0
K. Milton 8 26 3.3 0
K. McIntosh 4 20 5.0 0
S. Bennett 1 20 20.0 0
J. Cook 5 18 3.6 1
A. Summey 4 14 3.5 0
C. Beck 2 2 1.0 0
UAB Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
L. Stanley 1 17 17.0 0
R. Davis 2 14 7.0 0
H. Pittman 2 11 5.5 0
G. Prince 1 4 4.0 0
J. Brown Jr. 2 1 .5 0
Georgia Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
B. Bowers 3 107 35.7 2
J. Burton 3 92 30.7 1
A. Smith 1 61 61.0 1
A. Mitchell 2 42 21.0 0
L. McConkey 1 32 32.0 0
K. McIntosh 1 12 12.0 1
J. Robinson 1 12 12.0 1
J. Johnson 1 12 12.0 0
J. FitzPatrick 1 6 6.0 0
UAB Interceptions
Player Int Yards
K. Swoopes 1 61
Georgia Interceptions
Player Int Yards
J. Dumas-Johnson 1 20
L. Cine 1 8
K. Ringo 1 0
UAB Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
K. Greenwell 8 339 42.4
Georgia Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
J. Camarda 3 149 49.7
UAB Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
S. Thomas V 1 -2 -2.0
Georgia Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
K. Jackson 2 48 24.0
UAB Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Georgia Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
UAB Missed FG
Player Length
Georgia Missed FG
Player Length
J. Podlesny 32