Georgia blows past Carolina in 52-20 win
ATHENS, Ga. ( AP) — Steve Spurrier stood stoically on the sideline, his arms folded.
He’s owned Georgia over the years, but there was nothing he could do this night.
Not the way Greyson Lambert played for the Bulldogs.
Lambert set an NCAA record by completing all but one of his 25 passes, including the last 20 in a row, to lead No. 7 Georgia to a 52-20 blowout of South Carolina on Saturday.
It was the most points Georgia has ever scored against a Spurrier- coached team.
“We got clobbered,” he said.
Spurrier’s teams had won four of their last five meetings with Georgia, and the Ol’ Ball Coach was 16-6 in his career against Georgia going back to his Florida days. Make it 16-7. Lambert threw his only incompletion on an overthrow in the back of the end zone late in the first quarter, forcing the Bulldogs (3-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) to settle for a field goal.
After that, he carved up the South Carolina defense with help from Nick Chubb (159 yards rushing, two touchdowns), Sony Michel (one rushing TD, two more scoring catches) and Malcolm Mitchell ( eight catches, 122 yards, one TD).
Lambert set a school record for consecutive completions and posted the highest percentage (96.0) in FBS history for a minimum of 20 completions, breaking
the mark of 95.8 (23 of 24) shared by Tennessee’s Tee Martin and West Virginia’s Geno Smith.
“That’s pretty good,” Spurrier deadpanned. “The kid played well. He had a lot of open receivers and they caught everything.”
Lambert was so good, his coach couldn’t resist having a little fun.
“I can’t believe he threw an incompletion,” Mark Richt quipped. “I’m disappointed in that. But we’ll forgive him.”
South Carolina ( 12, 0-2) has lost its first two conference games for the first time since 2008. Former walk-on Perry Orth started his first college game, taking over after Connor Mitch went down with a sprained shoulder the previous week in a loss to Kentucky.
Orth scored on a 4yard bootleg late in the first half, bringing the Gamecocks to 1710. But he finished just 6 of 17 passing for 66 yards, throwing a critical interception early in the second half that put Georgia in total control.
Freshman Lorenzo Nunez also played extensively, used largely as a runner. He could be in line to move up after this dismal performance.
“I’m ready if that’s what coach Spurrier decides,” said Nunez, who led the Gamecocks with 76 yards rushing and completed 4 of 5 for 18 yards. “It’s not up to me.”
Georgia suddenly looks a lot more secure at quarterback.
Lambert, who transferred to Athens after losing his starting job at Virginia, faced plenty of skepticism coming into the season. The doubts only increased when he struggled the previous week against Vanderbilt, completing only 11 of 21 passes.
Talk about silencing the critics.
Georgia seized control with a touchdown in the final seconds of the first half and two more in the first 2 1-2 minutes of the third quarter.
“It hasn’t really settled in,” Lambert said. “But it definitely feels good to have a game like this.”
Chubb eclipsed 100 yards rushing for the 11th game in a row as Georgia cleared its last major hurdle before an Oct. 3 showdown with No. 2 Alabama. The Bulldogs face FCS school Southern University next Saturday.
Leading 24-13 at the half after Lambert’s 5yard touchdown pass to Mitchell with 17 seconds left, Georgia tacked on two more quick TDs less than a minute apart to start the third quar- ter, finishing off the Gamecocks.
Chubb broke off runs of 31 and 13 yards, while Lambert completed three more passes, the last of them an 11-yarder to Michel, who caught it in the left flats, faked out a would-be tackler at the 5, and zipped into the end zone.
Three plays after the kickoff, Orth badly overthrew his receiver, Dominick Sanders picked it off, and the 33yard return gave Georgia another first down at the South Carolina 11. Lambert went to Michel again, only this time with a swing pass to the right side that the speedy receiver took in for a 38-13 lead.
Compounding South Carolina’s problems, center Alan Knott went out with an ankle injury.
“They totally dominated us,” Spurrier said.
Georgia running back Nick Chubb (27) breaks through the South Carolina line in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015.