Nick Chubb’s performance against Missouri was nothing short of remarkable as he attempted to fill the void left by Gurley’s absence.

Georgia didn’t hide the true freshman within the offense. Instead, Mark Richt and his staff let him take it to the Missouri defense, carrying the ball 38 times for 143 yards and one touchdown, along with four receptions for 31 receiving yards. His 42 touches nearly surpassed Missouri’s 43 total plays all game and his 38 carries was the most of any Georgia running back in the past decade.

Although Chubb’s 3.8 yards per carry was less than half of Gurley’s 8.22 yards per carry, the freshman back didn’t shy away from the lion’s share of the running game.

He had only 31 carries all season prior to today’s game.

“Nick’s a very physical back,” Richt said after the game. “He earned every bit of that 143 yards he got.”

Even in his limited action so far this season, Chubb displayed that physicality Richt described. He’s explosive out of the backfield and didn’t shy away from contact. When he runs with the ball, it’s customary to hear the constant sound of football pads smashing together as he hits the hole, thanks to his brutal downhill running style.

And that’s what was most impressive about Chubb’s performance against Missouri – the physicality. With Gurley, you would see No. 3 break off several long runs simply because he’s just that much better than everybody. But with Chubb, everyone witnessed a 5-foot-11, 220-pound bowling ball run over the Missouri defense and work for his yards. His longest run was only 18 yards and the fact that he didn’t let up all game shows Chubb’s toughness and his capability to be a featured back moving forward, depending on how long Gurley is out.

Moving forward, Chubb’s performance is incredibly encouraging for a team that relied so much on its running game. Gurley was responsible for 36 percent of Georgia’s offense so far this season and it’s not easy to replace more than one-third of an offense in just two days. But Chubb’s heroic effort was more than enough Saturday against Missouri.

In the event that Gurley is out for an extended period of time, Chubb’s ability to take on the responsibility of leading UGA’s running game seems strikingly clear. He showed up big time in Georgia’s biggest game of the season, which should quell any doubts of Chubb as Georgia’s featured running back.

Not to mention, a strong performance can have a sizable impact on a young player’s confidence. And if Georgia expects to make a return trip to the SEC Championship, they’ll need Chubb keep performing at a high level, especially while No. 3 isn’t on the field.

The Georgia fan base may want to “Free Gurley”, but Chubb’s performance certainly made Gurley’s absence easier to bear, proving they’ll still be in good hands with No. 27 leading the charge.

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