Nick Chubb wore a wide smile as he chatted with reporters following Saturday night’s 42-14 win over Samford.
But he wasn’t just happy for himself.
So, although Chubb led all rushers Saturday with 16 carries for 131 yards and two scores, it was the performance of four of his younger backfield teammates that had the senior in an upbeat mood.
“It’s fun to see those guys come out and play,” Chubb said. “As a freshman, I always wanted to play, and I had opportunities. Those guys haven’t had as much, but they’re doing well and dealing with all the pressure that comes with it.”
With Sony Michel out with a minor ankle injury, freshman D’Andre Swift, redshirt freshman walk-on Prather Hudson, along with sophomores Brian Herrien and Elijah Holyfield, received more reps than they’ve seen all year.
They didn’t disappoint, combining for 139 rushing yards, led by Swift who totaled 54 yards on nine carries and scored his first career touchdown on an 11-yard run.
“Running back is one of our depth spots,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “All of the running backs ran the ball hard, they protected the ball and they protected the quarterback. They ran with great toughness. They do that every day.”
Speaking of quarterback, freshman Jake Fromm wasn’t bad himself.
In what was his second career start, Fromm passed for 165 yards and three scores, completing 8 of his 13 throws with two of his three touchdowns going to junior Terry Godwin, who led all receivers with four catches for 98 yards.
“Jake Fromm is a bright kid who knows where to go with the ball,” Smart said. “He makes good decisions most of the time and he’s growing up as a player.”
Georgia (3-0) rushed for 284 yards, led by Chubb, who scored on touchdown runs of 31 and 14 yards.
“They did a lot of formations and got us out of position a couple of times,” Samford coach Chris Hatcher said. “We missed some tackles, and then on top of that, they’ve got two really good running backs. Those guys will be playing in the NFL, so you put a little of that together, and it makes for some big runs.”
Defensively, Georgia allowed the visitors from Birmingham a pair of touchdowns, both on throws by quarterback Devlin Hodges, who completed 26 of 35 passes for 227 yards and two scores. But that was it. Samford (2-1) was held to 22 yards rushing by a Georgia defense that has allowed just two rushing touchdowns in three games.
“I mean, they’re the 13th-ranked team in the country and they’re ranked that high for a reason,” Hodges said. “They’re a great team with a great defense.”
After stalling on fourth down on its first possession, Georgia had no trouble moving down the field on possession No. 2, driving 87 yards in 10 plays. It was capped off by a 5-yard touchdown pass from Fromm to wide receiver Mecole Hardman.
The lead grew to 21-0 on a 32-yard touchdown run by Chubb and a 51-yard catch-and-run from Fromm to Godwin.
But that's when Georgia got sloppy.
A late hit call on Bulldogs' safety Dominick Sanders set up a 75-yard Samford touchdown drive that Hodges finished off with a 9-yard touchdown pass to TaDarryl Marshall.
Later, a fumble by Fromm deep in Bulldogs' territory gave Samford another opportunity, but Jordan Weaver's field goal attempt was blocked by J.R. Reed to keep the halftime score 21-7.
“This defense has confidence in the system,” Smart said. “If you play hard, you’ve got a chance.”
NOTES: Georgia played its second straight game without QB Jacob Eason, but the sophomore was able to ditch the cane he used while standing on the sidelines for last week's game at Notre Dame. ... Thanks to his 14- and 32-yard scoring runs, Chubb is now tied with Garrison Hearst for fourth-place in the Bulldog record book for rushing touchdowns with 33.