Lambert missed perfection by one check-down

Greyson Lambert was one check-down away from a perfect game.

ATHENS — Greyson Lambert had a night for the ages, a game that broke records, and almost achieved perfection. So of course it’s time to break down what went wrong.

Lambert’s one incompletion, the only blot on his 24-for-25 passing night, came on a third down pass in the first quarter. There was coverage in the end zone, so Lambert threw it too high for any South Carolina defender to catch it. Speaking 24 hours later, Georgia coach Mark Richt at first granted that it was a “wise decision” for Lambert to throw it away.

Then there was a pause. Richt had one more thing to add.

“If he had hit his check-down it probably would have walked in and scored,” Richt said.

Malcolm Mitchell was coming across the field on a crossing route, and the defense had converged on the end zone. If Lambert had checked down and seen Mitchell, it would have been a touchdown, opined their coach.

“There was really nothing but grass,” Richt said.

Georgia had to settle for a field goal, but everything turned out fine for the Bulldogs. They won the game 52-20, and along the way Lambert broke the NCAA record for completion percentage in a game, as well as UGA’s single-game consecutive completion record, formerly held by Mike Bobo.

Lambert’s game answered the critics, and put any quarterback competition away for at least a little bit. But it’s also just the third game, and Richt is a coach, so he did his best to put everything in proper perspective, at least as he sees it.

“There’s a lot of things that have to go right for a quarterback to have that kind of day,” Richt said, listing everything from pass protection to good route running, the right plays being called and the receivers catching the ball.

“If one guy had dropped a ball we wouldn’t be talking about this thing quite so much probably. Coach Bobo would probably be No. 1. But it was good to see. It was just one game, one good performance, so we don’t want to get too carried away. But it was a great day.”

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