Photo Credit: Keith Allison
Allow me a moment to invoke the spirit of, and paraphrase, Erk Russell, UGA's great defensive coordinator of yore: “Screw Steve Spurrier and the mule he came in here on.”
On Saturday, UGA welcomed South Carolina into Athens and gave the Gamecocks the shellacking of a lifetime, winning 52-20 to go 3-0 on the season. The hero of the game was quarterback Greyson Lambert, who now has a stranglehold on the starting spot. Many fans—this one included, especially—thought Georgia would be doomed this season if Lambert was our quarterback. Our fears were thought to be confirmed when he failed to complete any passes in the first half against Vanderbilt.
But against South Carolina, Lambert had one of the best performances you'll ever see from a quarterback. The Virginia transfer completed 24 of his 25 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns. At one point he threw 20 consecutive completions, besting the UGA record of 19 previously held by Mike Bobo. And his 96 percent completion percentage set the NCAA record for completion percentage in a game. That's right: Lambert, the guy everyone (me) never wanted to see on the field, now holds a record that puts him side-by-side with college football's greatest quarterbacks.
The "Nick Chubb for Heisman" campaign rolled on in victory. The sophomore tailback stretched his consecutive 100 yard rushing streak to 11 games with 159 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown. It shows just how good Chubb is that this performance was largely silent. With all eyes on Lambert, we looked up one moment, and Chubb had more than 150 yards.
On defense, Georgia annihilated any chance South Carolina thought it might have to pull out the upset. The Bulldogs held the Gamecocks to 258 yards of total offense and only 84 passing yards. South Carolina fared better on the ground, rushing for 174 yards, but big runs were few and far between, never enough to give them a realistic shot at winning. UGA could have the best linebacker corps in America. Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins are both top 10 linebackers, and UAB transfer Jake Ganus is making a name for himself. Ganus might have had the best day of any player on Saturday. He proposed to his girlfriend on the “G” in Sanford Stadium after the game. (She said yes.)
Spurrier, meanwhile, looks like a man at the end of his rope. During the week leading up to the game, the epic trolling of UGA that Spurrier has become so famous for was peculiarly absent. I took that as a sign that he realized his chances of beating UGA were slim at best, and he wasn't going to lose the small chance at a sneak attack by poking the bear. But it didn't matter. With what looks like the most complete team Georgia has fielded in some years, the bear was up and waiting for him.
The beatdown was a mixture of a really good Georgia team and a really bad South Carolina team. The Gamecocks are a shell of the team that produced players such as Jadeveon Clowney and beat UGA four of the last five seasons before Saturday. Spurrier hasn't been able to replenish the talent reservoir in Columbia the last two or three years through recruiting, and it showed in the loss to Kentucky and the loss to UGA. It will keep showing the rest of the season, as the Gamecocks fight for bowl eligibility, at best.
There's a very real possibility that we look back at the win over South Carolina as the moment Spurrier realized college football passed him by, and his time is better spent hitting the golf course on Saturdays instead of falling behind the rest of the SEC. It's only my opinion, but I think Spurrier retires at the end of the season. That's a thought that will keep any Georgia fan warm at night.
Next week, Southern University comes to Athens. It marks the first time Georgia has played a historically black college, so that's pretty cool. It's a cupcake game, one we'll easily win, to help us get ready for Alabama next week. Southern's band, the Human Jukebox, will probably give Georgia fans the show of a lifetime at halftime, but that will only be half as entertaining as the memory of Georgia running wild on Spurrier and his Gamecocks.