ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia continued it’s dominance of Auburn on Saturday with a 27-6 win in front of 20,526 fans inside Sanford Stadium and Kirby Smart indicated afterward that the physical contest didn’t cost the Bulldogs on the injury front. Fourth-year junior quarterback Stetson Bennett IV was dealing with a hand injury in the fourth quarter while starting right tackle Warren McClendon, a redshirt freshman, left the game and didn’t return.
Junior tailback James Cook also came off the field and made his way to the locker room after his longest run of the day, a scamper that covered 16 yards. Smart spoke with reporters after the game where he seemed optimistic about the prognosis for all three players.
“Yeah I think all of those guys are fine,” Smart said. “Warren McClendon just cramped a little bit. He should be fine. I think James is fine. He probably could have came back in the game and at the point that we didn’t need him to Ron (Courson) said he wasn’t going to bring him back but he was ready to go the second half. And Stetson is fine.”
Both Bennett and McClendon started their first games for Georgia against the Tigers. Bennett responded by completing 17 of 28 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown. He told reporters after the game that he felt like he jammed a finger on a third-down throw to Demetris Robertson when his hand smacked a helmet. He was using a heating pad on his hand as he spoke to media after the game. The Blackshear, Ga. native came on in relief of D’Wan Mathis last week and connected on 20 of 29 passes for 211 yards and two scores.
McClendon also saw his first major action in the 37-10 win over Arkansas, replacing Owen Condon in the second quarter. Rated as a four-star prospect per the industry-generated 247Sports Composite coming out of Brunswick High School (Brunswick, Ga.), McClendon played in four games as a freshman in 2019 and was able to take a redshirt. He battled with Condon for the right tackle job in preseason camp and initially lost that competition. Now it appears as if he has a chance to lock it down for the 2020 season.
Cook left the game just as he was starting to heavily impact it. He had four carries for 41 yards against the Tigers and was the team’s second-leading rusher behind Zamir White. He led the team in yards per carry with just over eight and it was a strong bounce back showing after being largely ineffective against the Razorbacks in the season opener. Cook had his first career fumble in that contest that led to Arkansas’ only points of the second half on a short field goal.
The Bulldogs will be back inside Sanford Stadium next week when it hosts Tennessee. Kickoff will either be at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN or 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS as the SEC Game of the Week.