ATHENS — Georgia’s warm-up went as expected, and now it’s on to the big one.
After a first half that was sluggish at times, Georgia scored four touchdowns in the third quarter to pull away for a 48-6 win over Southern. The seventh-ranked team in the country properly overwhelmed the FCS team whose main calling card is its marching band.
And arguably the band did win the day, managing to spell out the halftime score (20-6) on just a couple minutes’ notice. But when the second half started it was once again all Georgia.
Tailbacks Nick Chubb and Sony Michel once again dominated, each rushing for two touchdowns, with Chubb also scoring on a pass. Chubb finished with 131 yards rushing, and Michel had 75 on just six attempts. The two combined to average 9.8 yards per carry, after less room to run in the first half.
“I challenged our line – really both of our lines of scrimmage at halftime,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “There’s a lot of things being said, but I said, The way I see it they’re beating us up front on both sides of the ball.”
Southern had 150 yards of total offense in the first half, 81 of it on the ground. Georgia’s defense clamped up and yielded just 34 total yards in the second half.
For the second straight game, starting quarterback Greyson Lambert only had one incompletion. He was 9-for-10 for 146 yards and two touchdowns, giving way to backup Brice Ramsey midway through the third quarter.
Malcolm Mitchell was once again Lambert’s favorite target, racking up 96 yards and a touchdown on five catches. Mitchell and Lambert also hooked up on a long touchdown pass that was negated by a penalty.
Georgia’s defense had a rough couple drives in the second quarter, allowing Southern in its territory for a touchdown and a missed field goal. But the Jaguars still managed only 184 yards, a season-low for a Georgia opponent.
Now Georgia (4-0) awaits Alabama, which visits Sanford Stadium next week. The Bulldogs have looked dominant this year, winning their four games by an average of 29.5 points.
But Alabama is still Alabama, and next week’s game will not only be the most challenging thus far, but could also determine the course of the rest of Georgia’s season.
Still, the Bulldogs spent their postgame media session trying to downplay the looming match-up.
“We’re undefeated. Undefeated in league play. We are always battling to get to Atlanta, and every Southeastern Conference game that we play is very important. And this is the most important one because we’re playing it this week,” Richt said. “We know it’s gonna be a challenge. It’ll be one of those games where I would guess everybody is going to be at their best.”
“I know everybody wants to see it as a big game,” Mitchell said. “But all games are big, because anytime we lose it’s gonna be bad.”