David Greene didn’t struggle as badly as Carter did while throwing five interceptions against South Carolina in 2000, but he didn’t meet the lofty standards he set for himself and didn’t help a Heisman candidacy in its infancy.
“I wasn’t throwing the ball particularly well,” he said. “There are going to be some day you don’t play as well as you know you can.”
Greene finished 19-of-38 for 213 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
“He did not play as good as I would like him to play or as good as he would like himself to play, but he’s not going to panic,” Coach Mark Richt said.
At halftime, Greene was 10-of-19 for 108 yards, no touchdowns and one ugly interception. He got on track in the second half, throwing two touchdown passes, including the game-winner on a 22-yard hookup with Reggie Brown.
“He made the plays when it counted,” quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo said. “That’s the bottom line. He got the W.”
Greene improved to 13-1 on an opponent’s home field. He had to escape a few bad situations, though. Twice, South Carolina players dropped easy interceptions. The one pass he had picked off was returned 57 yards by safety Ko Simpson for a Gamecock touchdown.
Simpson was in a Cover 2 position, a scheme the Gamecocks had faked several times, Greene said. This time he stayed in position.
“I shouldn’t have thrown it,” he said. “I should have checked down to the running back.
“There were times I made plays, too. It was off and on.”
Despite Greene’s struggles, the Bulldogs didn’t bring in backup D.J. Shockley.
“We would have liked to put him in there. It was just such a tight game,” Bobo said. “We didn’t want Greene to think we’d lost confidence in him.”
Richt said he spoke to Shockley after the game. The Bulldogs have rotated Greene and Shockley for most of the last two seasons when Shockley has been healthy.
“ I told him when it was his time, I would give him the same grace,” Richt said.
THE PLAY: When Brown came wide open in the end zone on the decisive touchdown, Greene wasn’t surprised, he said. The play was called Colt Patriot.
“I knew I had to make a good (play-action) fake,” Greene said. “I knew if the safety flat-footed it, Reggie had enough speed to get by him.”