ATHENS — Greyson Lambert jumped in the air. Then he jumped again. He hit a teammate on the helmet. Then he turned around, no one around him, looked towards the stands on the opposite end of the field, and waved both arms up and down.
The nice, soft-spoken kid from south Georgia, known for being smart enough to graduate from Virginia in three-and-a-half years, hasn’t shown much emotion in his two games at Georgia. That changed Saturday night. A lot changed for him.
So after several touchdowns during Georgia’s 52-20 rout of South Carolina, Lambert showed some uncharacteristic personal flair.
“Tonight, I don’t know, I was feeding off of the crowd a little bit,” he said. “You run out of the tunnel and you know the game and all that but you don’t know until you’re there. To see all those people, it was just very electric, and I was definitely feeding off of that.”
That, and yes, Lambert was also unloading a bit of the emotion that came from this past week, when the critics were out on him for last week’s performance at Vanderbilt.
“Some of it might have been a little bit of a chip, maybe,” Lambert said. “But I would honestly just say that I love this game, and I love playing it. When we’re winning and things are going well it’s a lot of fun.”
Plenty of people felt Saturday would be a referendum game for Lambert, a last chance to hold onto the starting job. If it felt that way to the quarterback himself he didn’t show it, according to freshman tight end Jackson Harris.
“He has done a great job of completely blocking out all the noise. You wouldn’t even notice it from him,” Harris said. “This week in practice he led us, and let us have a great week. We were just connecting: Receivers, quarterback, o-line, the whole offense was clicking, and I just felt like he was the leader of it.”
Then the emotion poured out on Saturday. Of course, Lambert wasn’t alone.
As the game neared an end there was plenty of chippiness on both sides. There were a couple scrums that had to be broken up the officials, and Lambert had to come over to pull some teammates away.
Georgia coach Mark Richt finally ordered Lambert to call timeout, partly to end the chippiness.
“I wanted to remind the guys: You swing, you get mad or you get chippy and you get some kind of a foul where you swing on somebody you’re not playing next week. You’ll be out,” Richt said. “Then I also said that’s just not the way we do things here at Georgia. So don’t do that.
“Thankfully it didn’t escalate into something stupid.”