Greyson Lambert celebrates after the win
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - Greyson Lambert answered his skeptics with a near-perfect performance, throwing for 330 yards, three touchdowns and setting a Georgia record with 20 straight completions to lead the No. 7 Bulldogs to a 52-20 rout of South Carolina on Saturday night.
Nick Chubb eclipsed 100 yards rushing for the 11th game in a row, carrying 21 times for 159 yards and two scores. Sony Michel ran for a TD and had two more receiving.
Georgia (3-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) seized control with a touchdown in the final seconds of the first half and two more in the first 2 1-2 minutes of the third quarter, taking advantage of an interception by South Carolina's new starting quarterback, former walk-on Perry Orth.
South Carolina (1-2, 0-2) has lost its first two conference games for the first time since 2008. It was the most points a Steve-Spurrier coached team has ever given up to Georgia.
Lambert broke the previous school record of 19 straight completions by Mike Bobo in the 1998 Outback Bowl. Georgia cleared the last major hurdle before its Oct. 3 showdown with No. 2 Alabama.
Not even Spurrier could do anything about this one. The Georgia nemesis, who had won four of his last five games against the Bulldogs and was 16-6 in his career going back to his Florida days, could only watch from the sideline with arms folded as his team was blown out between the hedges.
Lambert transferred to Georgia after losing the starting job at Virginia during spring practice. He was named the Bulldogs' starter less than a week before the opener, but there were plenty of doubts about his ability to hold on to the job.
The critics perked up again when Lambert completed only 11 of 21 passes for 115 yards in an ugly victory over Vanderbilt last week. But coach Mark Richt stuck with his starter — and that faith was rewarded.
Lambert's only incompletion in 25 passes was an overthrow in the back of the end zone late in the first quarter, forcing the Bulldogs to settle for a field goal. He was unstoppable after that, burning the Gamecocks with short passes all over the field.
Leading 24-13 at the half after scoring a touchdown with 17 seconds left, Georgia tacked on two more quick TDs less than a minute apart to start the third quarter, finishing off the Gamecocks.
The Bulldogs took the second-half kickoff and needed only five plays to go 75 yards. Chubb broke off runs of 31 and 13 yards, while Lambert completed three more passes, the last of them an 11-yarder to Michel, who caught it in the left flats, faked out a would-be tackler at the 5, and zipped into the end zone.
Just three plays later, Orth badly overthrew his receiver, Dominick Sanders picked it off, and the 33-yard return gave Georgia another first down at the South Carolina 11. Lambert went to Michel again, only this time with a swing pass to the right side that the speedy receiver took in for a 38-13 lead.
South Carolina put together a couple of solid drives in the first half behind Orth, starting his first college game after Connor Mitch went down with a sprained shoulder the previous week in a loss to Kentucky. Orth brought the Gamecocks to 17-10 with a 4-yard bootleg run for a touchdown with just over 2 minutes left in the first half.
But Georgia dominated from there, zipping 78 yards for Lambert's 5-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Mitchell. Elliott Fry kicked a 51-yard field goal on the final play of the half, set up by Shon Carson's 51-yard return and a facemask penalty, but that was South Carolina's last hurrah.
Orth was just 6 of 17 for 66 yards. Freshman Lorenzo Nunez also played extensively, used largely as a runner, and he could be in line to move up after this dismal performance.
AP College Football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org