Like so many other Georgia Bulldog victories over the past few seasons, this one just wasn't as easy as it could have been. It appeared in the fourth quarter, up 24-3 with that a Georgia squad which has been through the emotional ringer since it last took the field in late November finally started to take its collective eye off the ball.
And then, as so often has been the case, the errors of the opponent and a couple of timely plays by the good guys reeled things back in. Georgia, playing without its usual head coach, offensive coordinator/QB coach, defensive coordinator/secondary coach, running backs coach, fullback, leading tailback, a couple of wide receivers (and even the dad gum placekicker by the end of the thing) limped out of EverBank with a 24-17 win over the Penn State Nittany Lions.
A lot of this game made sense within the greater context of the 2015 season. The defense played well, though there were lapses which kept the effort from being pristine. Penn State somehow converted 4 of 6 fourth down attempts, which is a lot of attempts and a lot of conversions. In the end it's hard to argue with allowing success on only 4 of 18 third down attempts. Penn State churned out 401 yards of total offense, which looks good on the stat sheet. But 188 of those came after Sony Michel put Georgia up 24-3 late in the third. Again, eye. Off. Ball.
Greyson Lambert did what he's done all season, completing 10 of 20 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. Some throws were very good. Many were lacking. I suspect there's a better than 50% chance we've seen Greyson Lambert start his last game at Georgia. It's hard not to have the sense that he's hit his ceiling, and that ceiling isn't as high as it needs to be. If Jacob Eason can't put up comparable numbers from day one I'd be very surprised. And Eason's eventual ceiling is on an entirely different floor from Lambert's. Greyson deserves immense respect for stepping into a rough situation and doing his absolute best with it. He'll always have my gratitude for his effort this season. I hope he'll have yours too, in spite of how frustrated his frequent back foot haymaker throws may have made you.
Sony Michel appears to have grown more comfortable in his role as the starting tailback, not pressing quite as hard as he did initially. And it was nice to see Keith Marshall get some touches. I wish he had been more healthy sooner, and I'll always wonder what could have been for that great kid. Again, a damn good dawg.
In the end Georgia won 10 games again, and that's nice, but in the long run it makes not one wit's difference. Change is in the air in Athens and the outcome of this one really doesn't change what changes were going to be implemented. The future, somewhat mercifully, is upon us. Let's go. Until later . . .