KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – It’s typical for Georgia coaches and players to hold a team meeting every Friday before games, be it at home or on the road.
However, this one was different.
Nick Chubb had a few words to say.
Although the Bulldogs’ senior running back didn’t make a big deal about it publicly, Saturday’s game against Tennessee was a big deal.
It was two years ago in Knoxville when Chubb tore up his knee on the game’s first play, and only got one carry against the Volunteers last year in Athens.
So yes, this one meant something.
“I didn’t have to say a whole lot after he talked. He’s kind of like E.F. Hutton,” head coach Kirby Smart said. “When he speaks, they listen.”
During Saturday’s 41-0 rout of Tennessee, Chubb’s actions spoke even louder.
Chubb led all rushers with 16 carries for 109 yards, and although he did not find the end zone, the Cedartown native left Neyland Stadium a satisfied man.
“Emotions were running high, certainly for me coming back to this place after what happened, but this really wasn’t a big deal,” Chubb said. “We came here and executed as we always have. I think overall we had a great game.”
Smart acknowledged the game held special meaning for his star running back.
“I don’t think Nick makes a big deal about much of anything. His message to the team was, “Hey, this game means something to me. It’s important to me. He didn’t get the chance really to play against them last year and he knew it was his last shot,” Smart said. “He didn’t have great memories of the last time he was here. That wore on the team because the team wants to do well for Nick. Nobody on that team roots against Nick Chubb. They wanted to do well for him and it shows how important he is to our team.”
Chubb’s performance helped the Bulldogs rush for 294 yards against the Volunteers and marked the 20th time he’s rushed for 100 or more yards.
That trails only Herschel Walker (28) in school history. He now has 3,904 rushing yards, which also ranks second behind Walker.
Chubb admitted he’s feeling a lot better about Neyland Stadium than he once did.
“I think so,” Chubb said. “Especially after the last two years I’ve come out and played against them, and to be able to come out and have this kind of game – it’s just a blessing and I’m very excited.”