Is Nick Chubb the best running back in the SEC?

It’s a question — if asked even a month ago — would have elicited some laughs, considering he wouldn’t even have been thought of as the best running back on his own team.

And heading into the final week of the regular season, it’s definitely a question that deserves some serious consideration, despite Chubb being just a true freshman and starting only five games this season. With Todd Gurley’s four-game suspension and now an ACL injury, Chubb has taken over the starting role and dominated.

Numbers don’t lie

Here’s the current rushing leaders in the SEC.

  • Cameron Artis-Payne — 1,405 yards and 11 TD
  • Nick Chubb — 1,152 yards and 11 TD
  • Josh Robinson — 1,084 yards and 11 TD
  • Jonathan Williams — 1,013 yards and 11 TD

Statistically, it’s obvious Artis-Payne, Auburn’s senior running back, is having the best year among SEC backs. His 1,405 yards are far and away better than any other SEC running backs’ numbers and his production within Auburn’s run-heavy offense has been steady all season long.

However, there’s one caveat. Chubb, although he has 253 less rushing yards than Artis-Payne, also has 91 less carries than him, too.

That means Chubb, who is averaging a conference-best 7.16 yards per carry (among qualified RBs), would be on pace to shatter Artis-Payne’s numbers if the carries matched up.

In fact, it’s the smaller amount of carries that enforces the greatness of what Chubb has accomplished in 2014. For nearly half the season, he was backing up a Heisman Trophy candidate. Chubb, though he was talented, was thought of nothing more than a backup, perhaps the RB of the future for the Georgia Bulldogs.

RELATED: Freshman phenoms: Comparing Chubb, Gurley as rookies

But the true freshman took the SEC by storm when he was given the opportunity to start against Missouri. Since Gurley’s suspension, Chubb hasn’t looked back.

Chubb’s yards since Missouri (game-by-game)

  • Missouri — 143 yards
  • Arkansas — 202 yards
  • Florida — 156 yards
  • Kentucky — 170 yards
  • Auburn — 144 yards (wasn’t the starter)
  • Charleston Southern — 113 yards (played one half)

Chubb also gets better as the game wears on. His two best quarters statistically this season are the second and fourth quarters. He averages 6.79 yards per carry and has rushed for 258 yards on just 38 carries in the final quarter. His four fourth-quarter touchdowns are also the highest of any quarter for Chubb.

The eye test

At 5-foot-10, 228-pounds, Chubb resembles more of a bowling bowl than a running back. And he runs like it, too.

There aren’t many defenders that can stop Chubb in his tracks. Often times, his lower body strength keeps those legs of his moving, even in the midst of taking some hits.

But Chubb is more than just a physical, run-you-over kind of back. His speed is also a very underrated asset and that’s what makes him so dangerous.

Because when you think you’ve got him wrapped up, Chubb possesses the strength to break free and then the speed to out run most defenders. He’s the complete package as seen here in this 83-yard run against Charleston Southern.

Chubb hasn’t been the starter for the entire season and with how much UGA relies on the run, we don’t know how he’ll hold up over the course of an entire season if his body his taking multiple hits throughout his 25-plus carries per game.

But from what he’s shown us so far, he’s built to take the beating, and there isn’t much defenses can do in regard to stopping him.

Considering the fewer amount of opportunities Chubb’s had this season compared to other backs and nearly the same numbers, he’s the clear frontrunner for the best season by a SEC running back in 2014.

So make sure to turn on your televisions this Saturday afternoon at 12 p.m. and flip to the Georgia-Georgia Tech game.

You’ll be watching the best running back in the SEC.