"I wanted to hang half a hundred on ‘em."- Steve Spurrier, Oct. 28, 1995 following Florida's 52-17 victory over Georgia in Athens.
Greyson Lambert is seeing the Matrix right now.— Dawg Sports (@dawgsports) September 19, 2015
@SC_HBC : #HalfAHundred#HalfAHundred#HalfAHundred#HalfAHundred#HalfAHundred#HalfAHundred— Dawg Sports (@dawgsports) September 20, 2015
I have a world of respect for Steve Spurrier. The guy is a certifiable football legend, an offensive innovator and a tactician without peer. I cannot express fully how much I admire the head coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks as a football coach.
Having said that, there's a certain poetic justice to the Head Ball Coach getting 52 hung on him in perhaps his last trip to Athens. Because he is a brash, outspoken old cuss who would have beaten Georgia 52-20 tonight if he could have. But it wasn't in the cards, and now football fans both inside and outside the Palmetto State are openly wondering whether the progenitor of the Fun N' Gun offense may need to hang up the clipboard, whether he's ready or not. And the man who got his start in the coaching ranks at ACC member Duke has a fellow ACC refugee from Virginia to thank for those questions.
This week on Committed to the G Murf and I talked about how Greyson Lambert's 0-7 first half performance last week against Vanderbilt wasn't that big a concern. We swore that Lambert was really only a smidgen away from doing some good things. About how he just needed to get in a rhythm. For some receivers to make a catch for him. To just execute.
I don't want to speak for Murf, but I for one had no idea whatsoever that he was going to go out and have a night for the history books. Lambert broke Mike Bobo's record for the most consecutive completions by a UGA quarterback (20). He set a new FBS record for the highest completion percentage for a game by nailing 96% of his throws, 24 of 25 for 330 yards. It was the kind of effort you usually only see after plugging in your PlayStation.
But it wasn't just Lambert. The Bulldog offense rolled up 576 yards on the night, over 150 above their season average. It was an incredible 9.14 yards per snap. Georgia was a poor 25% on third down conversions. But that's burying the headline, because Georgia's offense only faced 4 third downs for the entire game. Again, it was like some unlocked cheat code from NCAA Football 2k10.
For most of the night the Bulldogs looked like they could do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. Lambert was surreal, but a lot of credit also falls to Georgia offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who kept the Gamecock defense off-balance with a quick passing game mixed with bruising power runs. He also took a few chances in his play calling, and almost all of them seemed to work. It really, truly looked like (as some had speculated) the Bulldog offensive playbook had not really even been cracked halfway open for the first two weeks of the season.
Nick Chubb churned out 159 yards on 21 carries, just a shade above his 154.5 yard average on the season. He also eclipsed the 2000 yard mark for his Georgia career and appears to only just be getting started. And he may not have even had the best night of any Georgia running back. One could certainly make the case that Sony Michel's 3 touchdown night (2 through the air and 1 on the ground) was just as meaningful.
The defense also had plenty to crow about, holding the Gamecocks to a paltry (poultry?) 258 yards of offense, nearly 150 below their season average. The Gamecocks' best offensive game plan was to allow freshman QB Lorenzo Nunez out of Kennesaw to run the option and just not put the ball in the air. That was good enough to keep things close for a while, but it was never going to be good enough to win against a Bulldog defense that has been very good against the run all year.
In the end, it was a satisfying exorcism of the demons of 20 years ago. One imagines, speaking of the occult, that Steve Spurrier would be willing to engage in some sort of dark rite to prevent this from being his last trip to Athens. And while he may yet get the Bulldogs again in 2016 in Columbia, I can't imagine the Ole Ball Coach hanging around for many more years of the kind of losses he's suffered during the past two weeks. Tonight Georgia robbed Steve Spurrier of the joy he's savored so frequently over the years against the Red and Black. And it was delicious. Until later . . .