ATHENS – Georgia’s Jordan Davis finally got to score a touchdown. The 6-foot-6, 335-pound senior nose guard lined up at running back and got into the end zone on a 1-yard plunge in the first quarter, sending Sanford Stadium into delirium for at least a minute.

Lost in that well-contrived, JD-for-Heisman moment was that it took two attempts for Davis to hit paydirt. He came up short of the goal line on a leaping attempt at left guard from two yards out the previous play.

“I probably could have timed it a little earlier,” Davis said of scoring his first collegiate touchdown. “You can’t really practice that live or you’ll hurt somebody. You know, we got a second crack at it. We spun it again and the outcome is the outcome -- I got 6!”

It was that kind of day for the No. 1-ranked and undefeated Bulldogs. While they easily dispatched Charleston Southern, their FCS visitors from the Big South Conference, they seemed to be just a tick off much of the day.

Case in point, quarterback Stetson Bennett threw an interception on Georgia’s first possession of the game. The Bulldogs needed a fourth-down conversion to score their second touchdown of the day. And the Buccaneers -- gasp! -- actually scored on Georgia’s defense.

It went down as a 65-yard fumble return by wide receiver Garris Schwarting that came after an interception by Georgia linebacker Xavian Sorey, who had the ball snatched away by Schwarting, who then took it east 65 yards for a score.

The horror.

But even those dreaded “lack of focus” plays that coach Kirby Smart abhors could not delay the inevitable. Georgia was ahead 28-0 at the end of the first quarter and by 49-0 at halftime. The Bulldogs emptied their bench in the second half on the way to a 56-7 victory in the season’s final home game.

The victory got Georgia to 11-0 (8-0 SEC) for only the fourth time in school history, joining the 1946 (11-0), 1980 (12-0) and 1982 (11-1) teams.

“Yeah, it was a weird game,” Bennett said. “We wish we would’ve executed a little bit more. But that’s all right. We’ll watch that on film and get our heads right for next week. I think today was about ending the season undefeated at home and then honoring the seniors and, at the end, getting guys who don’t get to play that much time on the field.”

The Bulldogs’ lack of concentration was understandable. They were coming off a stretch of eight consecutive SEC games and have only Georgia Tech and the SEC Championship game remaining in their path to the College Football Playoff.

So, for one day at least, this game was about other stuff. Like recognizing Davis and the 29 other Georgia seniors during Senior Day ceremonies before kickoff. Like letting wide receiver George Pickens dress out and run some routes in pregame warmups, if for no other reason than to tease Georgia fans and/or give the Bulldogs’ future opponents something to think about. Like playing almost every one of more than 100 players on Georgia’s sideline, including the long missing wideout Dominick Blaylock.

Georgia quarterback JT Daniels completes a pass to Brock Bowers during the second quarter against Charleston Southern in a NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Athens.    “Curtis Compton /”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

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Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

So lopsided was this competition that JT Daniels even got in at quarterback -- and in the first half, too. The Heisman Trophy-candidate-turned-backup took over at QB on Georgia’s seventh offensive possession of the game. The Bulldogs led 35-0 at the time.

After going three-and-out on Daniels’ first series, Georgia scored on Daniels’ next possession, a 7-yard pass to tight end Brock Bowers at the 6:40 mark of the second quarter. It was Bowers’ second touchdown of the game. Bowers also scored on a 4-yard pass from Bennett.

Bennett left the game for good after the Bulldogs went ahead 35-0 on James Cook’s 3-yard run at the 13:39 mark of the second quarter. The fifth-year senior finished with 105 yards and two touchdowns on 8-of-14 passing. Bennett participated in Senior Day ceremonies, but could return next season, as could all but a few who walked Saturday.

Daniels handled the next five possessions, two of which ended in three-and-out punts. He led the Bulldogs on three touchdown drives. He finished with 73 yards on 7-of-10 passing, with a long completion of 20 yards,

Redshirt freshman quarterback Carson Beck took over from there. After an interception in the end zone on his first possession, Beck came back the next time out and hit tight end Brett Seither with a 9-yard score. He finished with 77 yards on 5-of-10 passing.

There was even a Brock Vandagriff spotting. The 5-star freshman has been creating buzz in practice with his scout-team performances against the Bulldogs’ ballyhooed defense. The NCAA allows players to participate in up to four games without losing redshirt status. This was Vandagriff’s second, leaving him clear to enter next year’s quarterback competition as a redshirt freshman.

By then, Sanford Stadium, surprisingly full at the beginning, was emptying quickly. The fans had seen what they came to see, even the unexpected bonus of a Jordan Davis rushing touchdown.

And those that stayed all the way through to the postgame celebration were rewarded with another bonus. The Redcoat Marching Band invited Davis up to lead them in the playing of the team fight song. Then came another surprise: Davis was presented with a plaque making him an honorary Redcoat Band member. They even gave him his own Redcoat, which fit remarkably well.

“I don’t know where they found that at but I’m just glad they had one in my size,” Davis cracked. “I’m definitely going to get it framed and put it up somewhere, whether that be my apartment or my Mom’s house. But it’s really special. I’ll carry that with pride, with great pride.”

Just like he did that football.