On Monday, January 9, fans will be treated to a highly anticipated matchup between the TCU Horned Frogs and Georgia Bulldogs, competing for the CFP National Championship trophy. This is a game that features several future NFL players who will surely hear their names called at some point during the 2023 NFL Draft.
It also features two Heisman Trophy runner-ups, with TCU’s quarterback Max Duggan, and Georgia’s signal-caller, Stetson Bennett. While neither of these players will be top draft prospects, they have exemplified strong leadership qualities during their college careers and are each poised to play in the biggest game of their football lives.
With that, we thought we’d compare the two solid, but not world-class quarterbacks ahead of the CFP National Championship game.
Max Duggan vs Stetson Bennett: Who is the better QB?
Many would be quick to say, the biggest reason why Georgia has had so much success the past few seasons thanks to their fantastic defense that could likely hang with NFL teams. While Stetson Bennett may be leading the Bulldogs’ offense each of the past two seasons, leading to a CFP National Championship win a year ago, he’s not the reason Georgia is such a threat.
Make no mistake, what Bennett has accomplished since becoming a walk-on athlete at Georgia is impressive, and he may have finished fourth in Heisman voting, he thrives in large part because of a strong offensive line, a dual-threat rushing attack and a formidable group of possession receivers. This includes the otherworldly Brock Bowers, who’s set to be a superstar in the NFL once he’s eligible for the 2024 NFL Draft.
- Stetson Bennett stats in 2022-23 season: 67.9% comp rate, 3,823 passing yards, 23 TD, 7 INT
But we can’t take too much away from Bennett in the process. He still manages to avoid mistakes, make the correct reads, and leads the eighth-highest scoring offense in the nation. Yet, he doesn’t exactly have the traits needed to play at the next level, with average, at best, arm strength, and less than ideal size at 5-foot-11. In other words, he’s not the best QB in this matchup.
CFP National Championship QB edge goes to TCU
If we had to pick between Stetson Bennett or Max Duggan, if they each had the same supporting casts, we’d take the TCU QB, Duggan. Sure, he may also benefit from having Quentin Johnston, a likely first-round receiver to throw to. But he did come away with the Davey O’Brien Trophy, awarded to the best quarterback in college football.
Like Bennett, it’s been quite a climb for Duggan since he began his college career. Duggan has battled an assortment of injuries that have plagued his development, but finally broke out in a big way this past season under coach Sonny Dykes.
- Max Duggan stats in 2022-23 season: 63.7% comp. rate, 3,546 passing yards, 32 TD, 6 INT, 8 rush TD
Yet, unlike Bennett, Duggan doesn’t have an elite defense to rely on. Offensively, TCU has shown to be more efficient, leading the fifth-highest scoring offense in the nation, scoring 41.1 points per game. His ability to not only connect with his playmakers, but also move the chains with his legs makes Duggan a legitimate threat. His versatility is a big reason why he came in second during the 2022 Heisman Trophy voting, behind USC’s Caleb Williams.
Like Bennett, Duggan makes sound decisions, moves through his progressions well, all while avoiding turnovers, giving his team a chance in each game he plays. Again, he doesn’t have a big arm, but is able to get the job done thanks to being an accurate thrower.
In the end, neither QB are particularly impressive, but both are strong leaders who know how to put their team in position to win, or do just enough not to lose. Knowing that Duggan has bigger challenges ahead, taking on the fifth-best defense in the nation, we expect to see more struggles from the TCU QB than Georgia’s, but that doesn’t mean Bennett is the better player, or prospect.