The rivalry between Tennessee and Georgia picked up steam this season as the Volunteers returned to relevance.
For the first time since 2007, Tennessee football won double-digit games, earning the No. 1 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings for the first time.
Georgia quickly ended Tennessee’s spot at the top of the rankings in Week 10, with the Bulldogs beating the Volunteers, 27-13.
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Georgia is now one game away from back-to-back national championships as a matchup with No. 3 TCU awaits.
They are led by sixth-year senior quarterback Stetson Bennett, who was a finalist for the 2022 Heisman Trophy. Bennett, a former walk-on, has proved all the doubters wrong in his career.
But one former Tennessee quarterback is not a fan.
“You know who I can’t stand though? Stetson Bennett,” former Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge said Monday on “The Erik Ainge Show.” “It was cute when he first got to play and played pretty good. And now the whole like ‘I’m a walk-on, I’m a JUCO transfer’… he’s like 28-3 as a starter at Georgia, or something like that.
Ainge was a quarterback in Knoxville from 2004-2007 and was the last Tennessee QB to beat Alabama before the Volunteers defeated the Crimson Tide in 2022.
“I’m cheering hard,” Ainge said when asked if he'll be cheering against Bennett on Monday. “I want Georgia not just to lose the game, I don’t want them to lose with Stetson Bennett throwing four touchdowns. I want Stetson Bennett to throw four picks and cost his team a championship.”
“He’s such a punk,” Ainge added.
It’s not the first time Ainge has taken a shot at Georgia, calling the atmosphere at Sanford Stadium “overrated” in November.
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“Playing between the hedges is overrated,” Ainge said in a tweet. “Not that loud and definitely not intimidating. It’s nothing like playing in Neyland. Vols will be just fine in Athens!”
Bennett rallied Georgia from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit against Ohio State in the College Football semifinals, throwing two touchdowns in the final quarter to advance to Monday’s national championship game.