I’ve written a lot this season arguing that, while he may not have a full grasp of the offense, Richardson gives this team the best chance to win. After he led the comeback bid that was not to be against LSU and a week of subterfuge from Mullen, the redshirt freshman finally came onto the field to take the first snap on Saturday.
And the results weren’t very good. Richardson started out playing pretty well, as he was facing a lot of pressure and was able to find open receivers. But after a fumble deep in Florida’s own territory that set up UGA’s first touchdown, things went off the rails a bit.
Richardson finished just 12 of 20 for 82 yards and two interceptions, one of which went for a touchdown. Mullen kept up the trial by fire mentality, not pulling Richardson from the game until he suffered what appeared to be a shoulder injury and had to go to the locker room for evaluation.
Emory Jones came in and played fine in garbage time, going 10 of 14 for 112 yards and scoring the team’s only points with his legs to avoid the shutout. Jones may have looked better, but starting and playing Richardson in this game was not a mistake.
The mistake was calling his number for the first time against the best defense in college football. It’s been fairly obvious for a while that Richardson has more potential, but it inexplicably took eight games for him to see starting action.
Mistakes were to be expected from an inexperienced quarterback in this game. But would he have made as many of them if he had more experience before this? It’s hard to say, but I can’t imagine it wouldn’t have improved his performance.