ATLANTA — Everything that Jacob Eason has done in the lead-up and during his time at Georgia has garnered so much attention, yet his first official snap seemed to escape most people’s notice.
During the first quarter, Eason jogged onto the field, and took a knee. He was the holder for place-kicker William Ham, who himself was making his college debut. Eason held the snap well, and Ham booted it through to give Georgia a 7-0 lead over North Carolina.
If anybody noticed Eason’s presence, there was no large cheer. Not the like the one that came early in the second quarter.
Eason entered at the start of Georgia’s fourth series, to resounding cheers from Georgia fans. His first play (as a quarterback) was a handoff to Nick Chubb, then second down saw his first pass: A perfectly executed swing pass to Terry Godwin, who took it and ran, gaining 23 yards.
The second pass attempt didn’t go as well: It was too long for receiver Jayson Stanley, who was double-covered on a flag route.
Those would be the only two passes on Eason’s first drive: Tailback Brendan Douglas fumbled two plays later, after a run down to North Carolina’s 12, and the Tar Heels recovered.
Eason re-entered the next drive, which was basically a series of handoffs to Chubb and then freshman Brian Herrien, who scored on a 19-yard run.
Senior Greyson Lambert, who started the game, finished the first half, and took the first series of the second half, throwing a few good completions – one on third down – but the drive stalled. Eason then went back in.
Three consecutive times, Eason and Georgia were faced with third-down passing situations. All three ended up converting: The first on a short completion to Michael Chigbu, the next two on pass-interference calls against North Carolina.
That set up the first touchdown pass of Eason’s career: A shovel pass that Isaiah McKenzie scored on, bringing Georgia within 24-21.
Lambert started, and had a strong first quarter, at least throwing the ball: His first two passes were completed for 31 yards, including a 25-yard strike to Isaiah McKenzie to convert a first down.
But Lambert was sacked three times in the first quarter, once on a secondary blitz and a couple times when the coverage was good and Lambert couldn’t get it away in time.
Lambert’s first incompletion came on the first play of the second quarter, but wasn’t his fault: Freshman Isaac Nauta dropped the slant pass over the middle. The second incompletion came on the next play: A tipped pass at the line.