ATHENS — Greyson Lambert is still relatively new to the scene at the University of Georgia. But he has been around long enough to recognize that he hears an inordinate amount of complaining even in the aftermath of victory.
The line of questioning Lambert received after the Bulldogs’ 23-17 overtime win over Georgia Southern Saturday night was decidedly negative. And it was directed not only toward him and Georgia’s offense, but the UGA staff as a whole.
“Honestly I wish the fans would be happy with the ‘W,'” said Lambert, a first-year junior transfer from Virginia. “I mean, it’s a bottom-line business. I’ll just keep saying this: We hear everything. We block it out but we still hear it. And we understand the frustrations, we’re frustrated at times too. But at the end of the day a win is a win is a win. And that’s all we want to do.
“Sometimes we do it convincingly, sometimes it takes overtime. But it’s still a win. And that’s the most important thing.”
If anybody truly embodies the enigmatic nature of the Bulldogs’ 2015 team, it’s Lambert. He certainly hasn’t been great as Georgia’s “primary” quarterback, as he has been referred to this year. But he hasn’t been as awful as some would have you believe.
Like Saturday. Lambert was getting blistered on social media during the game and booed on a couple of occasions by the crowd at Sanford Stadium. But at the end of the day, he had completed 64 percent of his passes for 183 yards and a touchdown in a victory. More importantly, he had yet another game without an interception and improved to 8-2 as Georgia’s starting quarterback this season.
“I thought he threw it well tonight,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “A couple of misfires but for the most part he put it on the money. And he made good decisions most of the time as well. Don’t think there was one ball that could have been picked, which was huge. That’s a big part of being a quarterback in this system: You have to respect that ball and I thought he did a good job of that.”
Overall, however, it was another substandard night for the Bulldogs. Georgia managed just 313 total yards, including Sony Michel’s 25-yard, game-winning touchdown run in regulation. At the end of regulation, the Bulldogs had 288 yards, which meant they came up short of 300 for the fourth time in the last five games. They also managed just two offensive touchdowns in regulation.
That’s a precipitous drop from just a season ago, when Georgia led the SEC in scoring with 41.3 points per game and averaged 457.8 yards.
“Well, I mean the turnovers hurt,” Lambert said. “We were driving the one time in the red zone and the other one resulted in a touchdown. That hurt us. We were able to put first down after first down together. Those two turnovers could’ve ended in seven or three points. That’s something we harp on and that’s something we need to continue to work on.”
Both of Georgia’s turnovers Saturday came from receivers. Malcolm Mitchell fumbled at the Georgia Southern 16 at the end of what would have been a first-down gain and Isaiah McKenzie was rocked by Southern’s 245-pound middle linebacker Antwoine Williams, which caused a fumble that the Eagles returned 65 yards for a touchdown.
But there were some positives. Michel finished with 132 yards on 23 carries, which represented his fourth career game of 100-plus yards. And the hole he ran through at left guard to win the game was one for the ages.
“The offensive line was winning the battle of the line of scrimmage tonight,” Michel said. “They did a great job all night but on that play especially. I wasn’t touched.”