Short takes: Lambert, lightning and the joy of Keith Marshall

Keith Marshall, once a touted recruit for Georgia, looked strong for the first time after two injury plagued seasons. (Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com)

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.

For complete coverage, go to Dawgnation.com.

Here’s a link to my column on Grayson Lambert.

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.

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