ATHENS, Ga.—Georgia opened its 2015 campaign with a relatively easy 51-14 victory over Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) despite weather that was rather difficult to deal with.
Two lightning delays halted play this afternoon at Sanford Stadium: the first coming nearly midway through the third quarter, lasting an entire hour, the second with 9:54 remaining in the game, halting play altogether.
“We had one delay, then another, and it could’ve gone all day and night,” said head coach Mark Richt following the game, “so it was in the best interest of everyone to terminate it when we did.”
At the beginning, it appeared the game that eventually would be terminated would be absolutely dominated by the ninth-ranked Bulldogs.
After having not blocked a punt for two entire seasons, Georgia blocked a Warhawk boot on their first possession. Linebacker Lorenzo Carter’s blocked kick led to a 14-yard touchdown run by Nick Chubb just two plays later. Just two plays after that—an interception thrown by ULM quarterback Garrett Smith, followed by a 15-yard scoring pass from Bulldog quarterback Greyson Lambert to tight end Jeb Blazevich—Georgia led 14-0 just 4:35 into the game.
In the second quarter, the Bulldogs scored three touchdowns on consecutive offensive possessions, including a second run by Chubb from 23 yards out, and a 31-yard touchdown pass from reserve quarterback Brice Ramsey to Sony Michel.
For Ramsey, who appeared to be the odds-on favorite to win Georgia’s publicized quarterback battle only a week ago, it would be his lone possession directing the team of the Bulldogs’ 12 offensive drives. Third-string signal caller Faton Bauta did not play. Ramsey completed both of his pass attempts for 51 yards, including the touchdown to Michel. Michel caught another pass covering 48 yards, and gained 41 more yards on six rushes.
Despite carrying the ball just 16 times, Chubb was spectacular, rushing for 120 yards and the two scores. Notably, since starting at tailback for the Bulldogs beginning in mid-October of last season, Chubb has rushed for 100-plus yards for nine consecutive games.
Trailing 35-0 late in the second quarter and having gained just 59 total offensive yards on 25 plays, ULM’s offense suddenly caught fire. Smith led the Warhawks on a 75-yard, 8-play touchdown drive just before halftime, and then 74 yards on 7 plays for a score early in third quarter. Both touchdowns were Smith passes to Rashon Ceasar.
The Smith-to-Ceasar passing combination proved to be more than a handful for the Georgia secondary to handle. Smith finished the game 23-of-29 passing for 206 yards. Ceasar, whose 13 catches tied the mark for the second-most receptions ever made by an individual against a Bulldog team, had 153 receiving yards.
The first lighting delay seemed to electrify Georgia on both sides of the ball. After the Bulldogs stopped the surging Warhawk offense on third down, true freshman D’Andre Walker blocked a punt which went out of the end zone, handing Georgia a safety and a 37-14 lead.
After the safety, the Bulldogs quickly drove 58 yards capped by a 28-yard touchdown pass from Lambert to Malcolm Mitchell. Lambert finished with 141 passing yards on 8-of-12 passing, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. In addition, the graduate transfer from Virginia seemed confident and poised while directing his new team.
“It was a lot of fun just to get back out on the football field,” Lambert said after the game, “but it was more fun to get on the field playing with all these guys on my new team.”
Just before the second lightning warning, Lambert engineered Georgia’s second scoring drive of the contest covering more than 90 yards. After 13 plays, Keith Marshall scored from two yards out with 10:58 remaining. For Marshall, who was second on the team with 73 rushing yards on 10 carries, it was his first two-touchdown game since his freshman year in 2012.
At the end of the game, Chubb avoided discussing personal accolades, but praised the play of the position group he is a part of, including Marshall, Michel, and Brendan Douglas—a quartet of backs who were on pace to rush for a combined 300 yards before lightning struck again.
“I think we all did great,” Chubb said regarding how the running backs performed. “We all did what we had to do. We all took advantage of the opportunities we had and had a great day today.”