With the boogeyman that has been the SEC Championship game vanquished, the No. 1-ranked Georgia Bulldogs now set their sights on conquering even greater monsters.

The Bulldogs conquered two beasts at once with Saturday’s 50-30 win over No. 14 LSU at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. One, they were able to capture the school’s first SEC championship since 2017 and only the fourth since divisional play began in 1992. It was the fifth time in the past six years that Georgia has played in the league title game under coach Kirby Smart, but only the second league title during that run. The Bulldogs were 3-6 in the game before Saturday.

Two, the Bulldogs were able to put to rest the notion that LSU somehow has their number. The Tigers (9-4), in their first year under coach Brian Kelly, were one of only two SEC teams Smart had never beaten in his seven years as Georgia’s coach. He entered Saturday’s contest 0-2 against LSU, last losing 37-10 in the 2019 SEC Championship game (Smart’s 0-1 vs. Ole Miss).

“Enough is enough,” Georgia running back Kenny McIntosh said afterward. “Kirby’s been preaching that to us all week. ‘SEC, SEC, SEC -- we’ve got to get the SEC for these seniors.”

McIntosh is one of those seniors. So is quarterback Stetson Bennett, who was named the game’s MVP, and safety Christopher Smith, who made the night’s three biggest defensive plays.

It’s that subset of Bulldogs that left Smart choking back some emotions during postgame interviews.

“I told those (seniors), I don’t want one kid to walk out of our program without an SEC championship ring for their career,” Smart said. “That was about to happen if we didn’t get this one. They said ‘enough was enough’ tonight. They got ‘em one.”

With those anomalies skewered, the Bulldogs’ can now set their sights on an even greater pursuit –- perfection and back-to-back national championship. Now 13-0, Georgia is expected to remain the nation’s No. 1-ranked team and will find out Sunday who they’ll play in a College Football Playoff semifinal. Whoever it is, it’s expected to be back at The Benz in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 31.

Because of conference-championship losses by USC on Friday in the Pac-12 and TCU on Saturday in the Big 12, which team might end up opposite the Bulldogs as the playoff’s No. 4 seed was a guess after Saturday’s game. Most likely it will be TCU or perhaps current No. 5 Ohio State.

The world will find out during Sunday’s sixth and final reveal of the CFP’s rankings. Smart, for one, was completely oblivious and uncaring.

“I have not seen one thing,” Smart insisted. “I tried not to pay attention to any of it. I didn’t have any games on or anything. I haven’t heard anything to even know what’s going on. It didn’t matter. To me, we don’t control it. No. 2, it’s so far away; you’ve got time to prepare for it.”

Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart talks about the team's 50-30 win against LSU in the SEC Championship game. Video by Ryon Horne

As for the perfection piece, LSU is the last team to achieve that in a season, going 15-0 on the way to the 2019 title behind quarterback Joe Burrow and later-to-be-fired coach Ed Orgeron. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs were unable to duplicate that feat after losing to then-No. 3 Alabama in this game last year. They famously vanquished the Bama beast at Lucas Oil Stadium on Jan. 10 to win the national championship.

As for Saturday’s game, Georgia was dominant while being far from perfect. The Bulldogs got 274 yards and four touchdowns on 23-of-29 passing from Bennett -- who was named MVP -- and a whale of a game from Smith. But considering the offenses that await, there was the rather glaring blemish of allowing 549 yards of offense -- 502 of which came via the forward pass -- to an LSU team that started a hobbled quarterback and played the second half with his backup.

But the Bulldogs countered with some pretty explosive offense of their own, 529 yards total, with 255 rushing, including 113 from Kendall Milton. And with the 50 points, Georgia has scored 99 points in its past two outings in the Falcons’ home stadium. Bennett was almost perfect in a 49-3 win over Oregon here to open the season. Not surprisingly, he likes the prospect of possibly getting to play on this field again.

“I don’t know what goes into all those decisions,” said Bennett, a sixth-year senior who was 19-of-24 passing for 279 yards and four touchdowns, “but, yeah, we like this place.”

After a wacky opening period, the Bulldogs settled in for the night with a steamroller of a second quarter. They scored 21 consecutive points before giving Smart some halftime fodder to spew about in the locker room. Georgia’s defense allowed the Tigers to drive almost the length of the field in 32 seconds to kick a 42-yard field goal as the buzzer sounded.

Georgia’s failing was in letting LSU get loose for 211 yards and notching a first-quarter score behind hobbled quarterback Jayden Daniels. But as the Bulldogs have been wont to do, their defense erased some of its own blemishes with extraordinary plays.

The one that should’ve have turned the game early was a blocked field-goal attempt by Nazir Stackhouse at the end of the Tigers’ second possession of the game. The crazy part of it was the ball ended up resting undeterred on the Georgia 4-yard line. Finally, after some coaxing from teammates and coaches, Smith picked up the ball. With many LSU players watching – and some Bulldogs as well – Smith ran the ball untouched 96 yards down the Georgia sideline for a touchdown. With 3:33 remaining in the opening quarter, it gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead, but, with the Tigers lined up to kick a short field goal, represented a 10-point swing.

LSU answered only 1:12 later with a 7-play, 75-yard drive, which meant it had gone the length of the field on its first two drives. Georgia, would answer, too, and the game suddenly took on the complexion of a shootout.

But on the Tigers’ next possession, the senior Smith made another play. He batted away a pass for Jack Bech. The ball ended up bouncing off a fallen Bech’s helmet and up into the arms of Georgia linebacker Smael Mondon.

Taking over at the 22, Bennett then hit Ladd McConkey with a strike on a quick post, and the Bulldogs were up 21-7 and the partisan Georgia crowd in The Benz was fully ignited.

The rest of the quarter belonged to Georgia, which would score on two more Bennett passes, including one from three yards out to freshman Dillon Bell with 32 seconds remaining in the half to make the score 35-7.

The second half basically was more of the same, with the Bulldogs seemingly losing focus for short spurts. LSU’s Daniels, who came in with a sprained ankle, sat for the rest of the night while his understudy Garrett Nussmeier took over. He exposed for Georgia’s playoff opponents this team’s defensive weakness -- being able to cover good receivers downfield. He, too, hit the Bulldogs with 294 yards and two touchdowns.

“We got a lot of work to do,” said Smith, who had an interception, a pass-deflection that led to another turnover and a tackle for loss in addition to the 96-yard touchdown. “We definitely don’t flush this. But we were able to come out on top with a great team win. We got to get back to the drawing board and continue to work.”

Most of the details were unimportant on this night. This was more of a coronation in between figuring out what teams will be in front of Georgia and its ultimate goal to become the first repeat national champion since Alabama in 2012.

But the Bulldogs’ only real goal was avoiding all the chaos that already had been wrought on college football’s championship Saturday.

“For me and Chris, it took us a while to get here, right?” said Bennett, speaking of Smith, the fifth-year guy sitting to his right. “There’s really no option but to play well now, right? When things start going bad, what are you going to do? ... We knew how hard it was to play for the University of Georgia, right? So now we’ll do almost anything to win. I think we have a lot of older guys like that.”

No, this was a day hoisting trophies and making snow angels in red-and-black confetti. The Bulldogs earned that right.