Today’s mid-week edition features a closer look at Georgia’s CFP hero, Stetson Bennett IV. You can read The Underdog on SB4 at the bottom of today’s edition. (Don’t miss it!)
In other news, another No. 1 has fallen and another coach’s hot seat went up in flames. We’ve got it all.
Tech Topples No. 1 Baylor
#19 Texas Tech Hands #1 Baylor First Loss of the Season (65-62) in Wild Night of College Hoops
For the fifth time in the 2021-22 college basketball season, the No. 1 team has fallen. The 19th-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders took down top-ranked Baylor Tuesday night in Wako, Texas thanks to a second-half surge. The Bears surrendered the lead with 10 minutes to go before scrambling to keep things close, but a last-second 3-point attempt rimmed out (65-62). The win marked Tech’s second-straight win against a Top-10 team after downing #6 Kansas last weekend (75-67). It was Baylor’s first loss of the season (15-1).
On a busy night in college hoops, Baylor wasn’t the only top team to go down. No. 5 USC — the only other undefeated team — fell to unranked Stanford (75-69). Ranked battles between Auburn-Alabama and Kansas-Iowa State also went down to the wire. Here’s all the highlights from a Super Tuesday.
NCAA Men’s Basketball Highlights
NCAA Women’s Basketball Highlights
Ashley Joens (27, Iowa State) and Ayoka Lee (38, Kansas State) combined for 65 in an epic head-to-head battle between the Cyclones and Wildcats that came down to the wire.
Judge’s Ruling: Fired
New York Giants Fire Head Coach Joe Judge After 2 Losing Seasons
Six head coaches were gone after Black Monday, but one more difficult conversation waited until Tuesday after the 2021-22 NFL season. The New York Giants fired head coach Joe Judge after just two seasons and a 10-23 record, including a dismal 4-13 campaign this season. The news came one day after GM Dave Gettleman retired, clearing the way for a house-cleaning in New York. Judge was harshly ridiculed for his decision-making late in the season, and the progress of young QB Daniel Jones hasn’t been satisfying.
With one of the best running backs in the league (Saquon Barkley) often injured, the Giants have been a trainwreck in recent history. The team has made the playoffs just once in the last decade (2016) — a first-round blowout against the Packers.
Make it No. 10 for the surging Memphis Grizzlies. Ja Morant scored 29 points, including five in the final minute, to lead the Grizz past the Warriors (116-108). They’re now just 3.5 games back of Golden State for the top spot in the West.
The Lightning were 6-1 winners over the Sabres on Tuesday thanks to Nikita Kucherov’s fourth NHL hat trick. Steven Stamkos added a goal and two assists for the Bolts who got back in the win column to tie the Panthers for the most points in the league (53).
Are you ready for another round of the NFL coaching carousel? Playoff football is fun too, but it’s just as entertaining to follow coaching searches as several NFL teams begin the process of interviewing and hiring their next leaders. (CBS Sports)
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association will resume bargaining this week.The first substantive meeting between the two sides since the team owners implemented a lockout on Dec. 2 will be on Thursday and is expected to include an economic proposal. (Yahoo! Sports)
After the most unusual NCAA tournament in history, a return to the version of March Madness fans have known and loved is back on the schedule for 2021-22. Here’s a look at the most recent men’s NCAA tournament bracket projections. (ESPN)
The Fight in the Dawg
Stetson Bennett IV’s Rise to UGA Legend
Monday night’s College Football Playoff National Championship was a nail-biter until the final 10 minutes. Enter former walk-on and undersized Georgia quarterback, Stetson Bennett IV, who proved the sports ideology we all know to be true: It’s not about the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the Dawg.
Listed at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, Bennett IV was never supposed to be on that stage. But the dreams of a Georgia kid came true as the hometown hero delivered UGA its first championship since 1980.
A lifelong UGA fan, Bennett IV grew up in southern Georgia donning a Bulldogs jersey and attending games at Athens. He raced around the yard at 3 years old, tossing a football and telling his father, Stetson Bennett III, that he would someday lead Georgia to a national title.
At Pierce County High School, Bennett IV led his team to three straight state playoff appearances, throwing for nearly 4,000 yards and scoring 40 touchdowns in his senior season. Despite his stats and winning resume, the undersized passer received just three minor college offers. He passed on all of them and chose UGA — his dream school — as a preferred walk-on. But things didn’t go smoothly.
In his freshman year, Bennett IV redshirted and accepted his role as the scout team quarterback in 2017. In 2018, he transferred to Jones College — a junior college in Mississippi — just to get playing time before transferring back to UGA in 2019.
Once he made the official roster, he was buried at the bottom of the depth chart. But in 2020, Bennett IV took the starting job from J.T. Daniels — a five-star recruit who transferred in from USC — and never looked back.
By the start of the 2021 season, the little-known quarterback grabbed the reigns of UGA and orchestrated a perfect 13-0 regular season before the Dawgs gave up 41 points to Alabama in the SEC Championship. It was Georgia’s seventh straight loss to the Crimson Tide dating back to 2007. Revenge would come 37 days later…
The Bulldogs were historically known for their defense and run game, and that was true throughout the 2021 season with Bennett IV acting as the leader and game manager. But in the 4th quarter of the CFP National Championship, head-to-head with the Heisman Trophy winner, Alabama QB Bryce Young, it was Bennett IV who played hero after a crucial fumble nearly cost UGA the title.
In the most clutch moments prior to Georgia’s greatest achievement in 41 years, Bennett IV was downright perfect. He went 4-for-4 for 83 yards and 2 TDs in his final two drives to flip the game from 18-13, ‘Bama, to 26-18, Georgia. A pick-six sealed it in the final minute, and Bennett IV — the lifelong Dawgs fan — let the waterworks flow.
“I just knew there was going to be no way we let a turnover like that stop us from winning the National Championship,” Bennett IV said. “I wasn’t going to be the reason we lost.”
With tears in his eyes and an abundance of sideline hugs, America’s newest underdog won the hearts of football fans everywhere as the latest David to defeat the Goliath from Tuscaloosa.
Put It In Perspective
Each of the last five offensive Championship Game MVPs went on to be top-10 picks in the NFL Draft — QB Deshaun Watson, QB Tua Tagovailoa, QB Trevor Lawrence, QB Joe Burrow, WR DeVonta Smith.
Stetson Bennett IV is projected as a Day 3 pick or an undrafted free agent. Regardless of his career at the next level, he’ll always be remembered as a National Champion and UGA legend… The Dawg who won the biggest fight.