ATHENS — Surprise! Georgia opened the season with a win over Hostess snack cake Louisiana-Monroe Saturday, jumping out to a 35-0 lead and hiccupping before settling for a 51-14 victory at Sanford Stadium. The game was suspended with 9:54 left after the second stoppage for lightning. It was the right call after a previous delay for an hour due to the risk of injury.
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Here are my three “Short Takes” on the game.
1. DEPT. OF KNEE-JERK REACTIONS: Greyson Lambert, Georgia’s starting quarterback in pencil, made more good plays than bad in his debut. So he wasn’t bad but he wasn’t, well. lightning, especially given the level of the opponent. Lambert was 8 for 12 for 141 yards and two touchdowns. The 6-foot-5 transfer from Virginia also fumbled once (Nick Chubb recovered) and had two passes knocked down. Lambert and Brice Ramsey both said they still view the quarterback situation as an open competition. Coach Mark Richt said Lambert will start next week’s game at Vanderbilt, adding, “Greyson’s our starter right now. We’ll go down the road and see how we progress.” When a player has a lock on the starting job, the head coach doesn’t add the words, “right now.” So draw your own conclusions.
2. KEITH MARSHALL: Nick Chubb was his expected great self in the opening game, rushing for 120 yards and two touchdowns on only 16 carries (7.5-yard average). But the running back most worth watching was Keith Marshall. Expected to be Georgia’s go-to back before Todd Gurley ever touched the football, Marshall suffered a major knee injury in 2013 and last year was slowed by knee and ankle injuries. But he good looked Saturday, with 10 carries for 73 yards and touchdowns. “It was fun to watch him, knowing how hard he’s worked to come back,” Chubb said.
3. NFL VS. COLLEGE: One reason some prefer college football over the NFL is because there are no exhibition games. Not true. There are exhibitions — they just happened to count in college. There was never a question Georgia would steamroll Louisiana-Monroe — that’s why coaches from power five conferences prefer games like this to open the season, when they can test players in different situations without much concern for repercussions. That’s fine. But (once more with feeling): I still believe if college teams are going to play 12 games, at least nine of them should be against conference competition.Recent ramblings MyAJC: Kennesaw State’s little startup is off to a dazzling start AJC: Weekend Predictions: Dogs, Jackets roll, Spurrier escapes, Petrino goes down AJC: Falcons won Julio Jones trade but would like to forget 2012 draft Dawgnation: Greyson Lambert’s big test won’t come in opener, it will be later AJC: Hello, football: Thoughts on UGA, Tech, Kennesaw, both GSUs Dawgnation: It’s Lambert over Ramsey for now, but assume nothing for future at Georgia AJC: Falcons were never going to let Julio Jones get away MyAJC: Gomes provides some needed comic relief to Braves’ season MyAJC: Brian McCann makes his perfect return to Atlanta AJC: Ready to start picking? ‘Sack Schultz 2015’ now open for business Dawgnation: CFB Special: Mark Richt, empty nester, is seeking that winning feeling again Dawgnation: CFB Special: Your flawless game-by-game predictions for Georgia AJC: Arthur Blank says he’s backing away — this I’ve gotta see Dawgnation: Richt having fun with stonewalling but UGA’s QB debate a real problem MyAJC: Falcons have issues, so Matt Ryan can’t be one of them AJC: Falcons sign Grossman, so we know what they think of backups MyAJC: Braves’ Bethancourt says he has learned from mistakes AJC: Hector Olivera gets two hits in Gwinnett debut, nears call-up AJC: Dawgnation: S.I. says Georgia will go 10-2 (agree), play Auburn for SEC title (disagree) AJC: Poll: Is Falcons’ biggest concern D-line, O-line, running back? Dawgnation: Report: Georgia arrest-free lately but still ranks high (with rest of SEC) nationally AJC: Falcons are putting trust in young running backs MyAJC: Will Braves keep Julio Teheran in this makeover? MyAJC: It’s more than just an exhibition game for Dan Quinn AJC: Scheduling history suggests Falcons will win 10 games AJC: Goodell, Brady have damaged reputations, need to settle MyAJC: Falcons’ fortunes will tip on finding a pass rush AJC: Dimitroff says Falcons not interested in Rice or Smith (for now) MyAJC: Smoltz finally reunited with Glavine, Maddux AJC: Digi-Blog goes to Cooperstown… My AJC: John Smoltz did it right and did it clean MyAJC: How Detroit landed John Smoltz — and then blew it with him MyAJC: Smoltz’s drive carried in baseball — but not hockey or comedy AJC: Julio Teheran trade rumors make no sense MyAJC: For FSU, Jimbo Fisher, perception is reality AJC: Will Frank Beamer be next coach to get ‘Bowden treatment’? MyAJC: Tech went 11-3 but Paul Johnson warns to keep expectations in check AJC: Swofford, ACC should get more involved with domestic violence issues AJC: Fredi Gonzalez gets extension, and needs to make most of it MyAJC: John Hart: I never made promises we were built to win