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Stetson Bennett III waved the left arm in front of the Williams-Brice Stadium hash marks.

He explained that the sweeping motion is what Buddy, his father, used to move along the field during his last carry as an option quarterback at South Carolina in 1960.

Stetson III said, “It was a forty- or 45 yard touchdown.” “That was his last play as a Gamecock.”

Just 30 yards away from Stetson III’s point, Stetson Bennett IV, Buddy’s son, rolled through pregame warmups Saturday before No. 1 Georgia’s 48-7 defeat of South Carolina.

This Stetson is a familiar name. Former walk-on, who transferred to a junior college and then returned to Athens. After being placed on the UGA depth charts two years prior, the signal-caller guided the Bulldogs towards a national championship in 2021.

This Stetson was the one that tore apart a South Carolina defense on Saturday for 284 yards and two touchdowns. His grandfather used to bowl over Bulldog defenders.

Stetson III predicted that Stetson could run for 45 yards. We have serious problems if he runs the option.

South Carolina quarterback Buddy BennettRoad trip from Florida and Georgia to Columbia

Stetson III is a slick hitter at 10:46 AM, just before kickoff at Williams-Brice Stadium at noon. It’s amazing to see how he functions without a cup of coffee or anything stronger.

The last week has been spent on a road trip that included youth sports, from high school softball to Southeastern Conference soccer.

He was able to attend the three Pierce County High School softball matches to see his daughter Olivia play centerfield for Bears. Friday was a visit to Chipola College to meet Knox, who is in his first year of playing baseball at the elite program north of Panama City Beach and west of Tallahassee.

After that, it was a 218-mile trek back home to Blackshear, Georgia. Then, it was a drive up to Columbia in the early morning to see Stetson IV (a Georgia walk-on) and Luke, Stetson IV, taking on South Carolina.

Stetson III jokingly said, “In the past 24 hours we’ve had (a fair amount) of miles.”

Stetson Bennett IV, Quarterback, is pictured with his father Stetson Bennett III (left), and Moye Howard (familiar friend) before the 2022 game between South Carolina & Georgia at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Stetson III can be found six rows up from the hedges at the Williams-Brice Stadium’s 43-yard line, watching Stetson IV take to the field.

Stetson IV has never worn Columbian uniforms in his six-year college career. He sustained injuries during the Bulldogs 2020 trip. During the 2018 edition, he was torching Mississippi junior college defenses.

Stetson III points out the Gamecock logo at the 50-yard line. He explains that Stetson IV was one of three quarterbacks invited by Steve Spurrier to throw in 2015.

Stetson III stated that “we had some traction there, and then Coach Spurrier decided it was time to let it go,” he said to The State earlier this season. “He retired, and I was like, “Well, boys. Back to the drawing board.”

Stetson IV is a very different quarterback from he was a year ago. He’s still the swaggy, “I-don’t-care-what-others-think” gunslinger he’s always been, sure. He’s now equal parts justified and a more efficient update to the much-maligned 2021.

Consider Saturday’s contest proof of concept.

He completed 70% of his passes against a shaky Gamecocks secondary. He didn’t force any throws. The Louvre could have hung his touchdown ball, which he threw to Brock Bowers, an all-world tight end.

Georgia fans, who had deplored his ability last year, waved their red pom poms enthusiastically as he led the Bulldogs into a 38-0 lead in the third quarter.

This is despite the fact that there was a mid-game vomit that television cameras captured live.

Kirby Smart, Georgia’s head coach, said that he kept telling his players that he felt like he needed to vomit. He did. He is a competitor. He would not come out.”

After winning the youth football championship in Waycross, Georgia, Stetson Bennett IV (far right) stands with Buddy Bennett III, his father Stetson Bennett III and his brothers Luke, Knox, and Maverick.It was a nice touch to have the rushing TD.

The Bennett family has seen a lot of changes over the past nine months. It will be a great honor to have a Georgia-based football-crazed family member who is a national champion-winning quarterback.

Moye Howard, a family friend, is not surprised at all the success. Since he was in eighth grade, he has heard about Stetson IV. He played on the junior varsity Pierce County team.

Howard recalled that Pierce County was playing Camden County, and that (my uncle), went over to watch the game.” Howard recalled, “Pierce County was playing Camden County and (my uncle) went over to the game.”

Stetson III jokes that he has had his own experiences with stardom in recent years.

He stopped by The Farmhouse in Glenville, Georgia recently to grab a bite with one of his fraternity brothers. Stetson was introduced to an old college friend by a man who stopped by to introduce him to the man whose son led the Bulldogs to their first national championship since 1980.

The man asked, “Your son, the quarterback?” and stuttering a bit.

Stetson III responded, “Yes sir.”

The man replied, “Sir. You are the second most important person I have ever met.”

Stetson III laughed and recalled, “I said, “You need to get outside more.”

Saturday, despite all the changes that may occur, was a stark reminder of times past.

Stetson IV made a handoff from the South Carolina 11 yard line to Daijun Edwards in the third quarter. Bennett dropped the ball in his hip pocket and dipped to the left side, slipping it into his pocket.

He quickly jumped Gilber Edmond, Gamecocks defensive back, with a video-game-like sidestep, before moving past reserve defensive back B.J. Gibson into the end zone

Although it was not as long, Bennett’s final play evoked memories of the man who used to call the South Carolina backfield his home between 1958-60.

It was not a ghost, but it could well have been.

Stetson IV stated postgame that he was glad he ran one in when asked about his grandfather’s playing grounds. “That was quite cool.”

South Carolina was not able to defeat Georgia on Saturday. Bennett, the quarterback, ran into the end zone at Williams-Brice Stadium for the first time in 62 decades.

Maybe things aren’t so bad after all.

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