Todd Gurley stole the show Saturday night in Athens.
In Georgia’s convincing 45-21 win over Clemson, the junior running back registered more all-purpose yards (293) than the entire Tigers team gained on offense (291). He ran for 198 yards on just 15 carries, scored on touchdowns runs from 23, 18, and 51 yards, and also returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score.
He put the team on his back in the second half, almost singlehandedly propelling the Bulldogs to a resounding 24-point win. But the final score doesn’t tell the whole story.
In fact, the game was extremely tight most of the way – Georgia led by just three points through three quarters. Clemson’s combination of Cole Stoudt and Deshaun Watson were steady enough to give the Tigers a chance. Clemson even led midway through the second quarter before Gurley’s kickoff return tied things at 21.
Perplexingly, Gurley only touched the ball five times in the first half. Fellow junior Keith Marshall and highly-touted freshman Sony Michel were seeing significant touches, but were not nearly as effective as Gurley.
Recognizing this, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo went back to Gurley in heavy doses when the second half began. Gurley delivered in a big way and at times, it didn’t even seem fair.
Of his 198 rushing yards, 154 came in the second half, including 111 in a dominant fourth quarter. He showed every facet of his game. The vision was on display when he cut back and scored on an 18-yard pitch. His rare combination of speed and power was showcased on a game-clinching 51-yard scamper.
And when Clemson finally thought they were getting a break from the bruising style of the 6-foot-1, 226-pound Gurley, stud true freshman Nick Chubb (5-foot-10, 228 pounds) showed Georgia’s depth at the position by breaking a handful of tackles on a 47-yard TD run.
But in the end it was Gurley’s show. Not many players can average over 17 yards per touch against the No. 16 team in the country. It’s only week one, but this is the kind of performance that gets the Heisman talk started.
Gurley and the Bulldogs have a week before they take their show on the road to South Carolina on Sept. 13. Steve Spurrier and company will have their hands full.
For more Georgia news, visit UGASports.com.
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