Can we please just witness a Todd Gurley and Jadeveon Clowney collision Saturday?
For all the talk regarding Clowney against the Bulldogs’ offensive line and Aaron Murray competing against another top 10 team, establishing the running game will be key for both teams.
Four great running backs will be on display in Georgia’s Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall and South Carolina’s Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds. In the Gamecocks’ last three wins, they’ve outrushed UGA 672 to 364. The last four games at Athens – in the Steve Spurrier era – have been decided by three, four, four and two points. Do you think this will be a close game?
Georgia’s backfield has the personnel advantage with Gurley and Marshall, but South Carolina may have the better overall running game when you factor in the mobility of Connor Shaw and the offensive line play.
Both teams have bruising, bully starters in Gurley and Davis. Gurley is the best back in the country, and Davis may be the best back you’ve never heard of. There are similarities in their games, as both are physical between the tackles and have breakaway speed getting through the second level.
Here is Gurley, who housed it from 75 yards against Clemson. Getting to the second level is one thing, but exploding past corners and safeties is another. He was the best player on the field Saturday night and finished with 12 carries for 154 yards and two touchdowns.
Gurley isn’t the only back of the two starters who can bully his way through the line of scrimmage and take one the distance. Davis also displayed unexpected speed against North Carolina on his 75-yard TD run. He finished with 12 carries for 115 yards and one touchdown. Who knew Davis had breakaway speed?
Rarely will you ever see just one defender take either player down.
Marshall and Wilds aren’t forgotten, and each is a formidable No. 2 option. Wilds carried just 12 times for 64 yards, and Marshall recorded 16 carries for 43 yards. Both are physical enough to take the pounding, but Marshall has better top speed.
The answer for Georgia may be taking the ball out of Murray’s hands and putting it into their talented running backs’. Carolina shut down Georgia’s talented duo last season, as the Dawgs managed just 115 yards on the ground.
While Marcus Lattimore gave a significant advantage to South Carolina over last three years, the Gamecocks are 10-1 without him in the last few years. Don’t expect a Lattimore-less backfield to be a problem at all.
May the best ground game win.
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE