Georgia vs. Southern
When: Noon Saturday
Where: Sanford Stadium, Athens
On TV: SEC Network
ATHENS — Georgia redefined its offensive perception with a balanced haul in last week’s win over South Carolina.
Suddenly No. 7 Georgia is more than the Nick Chubb Show.
Coach Mark Richt said Tuesday the Bulldogs’ run-pass ratio in the impressive 52-20 win over South Carolina “is the type of balance we’re looking for.”
Chubb was strong again, posting his 11th straight game with at least 100 yards. This time, however, he shared the spotlight.
Quarterback Greyson Lambert completed his last 20 passes, setting a school record. He set a NCAA record by completing 96 percent of his attempts.
Led by Lambert’s breakout game, Georgia ran for 246 yards and passed for 330 with three touchdowns.
It was an unexpected display of balance, especially following a win over Vanderbilt in which Georgia relied heavily on Chubb.
“It let teams know that we are able to throw the ball,” said tailback Sony Michel, who ran for a touchdown and had two scoring catches against South Carolina.
Georgia (3-0) plays Southern University on Saturday in what is expected to be a warmup for visit from Alabama in two weeks.
Richt said Lambert’s big day won’t lead to a decreased emphasis on Georgia’s running game.
“We absolutely don’t want to get away from running the football,” Richt said. “We’re good at it, we’ve got good backs, but the better you run the football the better your play-action pass can be.”
Georgia ranks 12th in the nation with its average of 257 yards rushing. Richt said Lambert often threw on plays where he had the option to hand off, but South Carolina’s defense was loaded against the run.
“Sometimes nine times out of 10 you run it, sometimes nine times out of 10 you throw it,” Richt said of the option plays.
Opposing defensive coordinators preparing game plans for the Bulldogs now must respect Georgia’s passing game.
That’s good news for Chubb, Michel and Georgia’s other tailbacks.
“Being able to throw the ball always opens up the run game in any football game,” Michel said.
South Carolina’s defense left Georgia receiver Malcolm Mitchell in man coverage. Mitchell had 122 yards receiving, easily a season high, with a touchdown.
Mitchell said defenses can’t afford to dedicate more than one player to a receiver when they have to worry about stopping the running game.
“You want to be careful not having enough people in the box against us with the running backs we have, so I think it’ll continue,” Mitchell said.
One year after leading the Southeastern Conference with 41.7 points per game. Georgia looks just as strong, averaging 44.7 points under new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.
Can this year’s offense be better than last year’s version?
“I think we’ll be more consistent,” Mitchell said. “Last year we had a lot of things going on.”
Chubb emerged last year when Georgia lost star tailback to a four-game suspension and then a season-ending knee injury.
This year’s big question was Lambert, the transfer from Virginia, who beat out Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta for the starting job.
Through two weeks it seemed Lambert’s job was to just manage the game and get the ball to Chubb. Richt said the performance by Lambert and the offense against South Carolina was a confidence-builder for players and coaches.
Richt said the message was “We know what we’re doing. We’re teaching it right, we’re doing the right things against the right defenses. It all comes together.”