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Nick Chubb closing in on Bo Jackson
Georgia travels to Auburn this weekend for what is the biggest Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry in years and one of the biggest games on the college football calendar this season. If Georgia comes away with a win, it’ll have four in a row over Auburn, and its path to the College Football Playoff will have rolled right through The Plains, two facts that wouldn’t sit well with Tigers fans.
That ignominy is avoidable with an Auburn win, which is a prospect that isn’t all that unlikely. Georgia is only a 2 1/2-point favorite, after all. But a small humiliation the Tigers probably can’t stop is a Georgia Bulldogs player passing an Auburn legend on the list of SEC career rushing leaders.
Georgia senior Nick Chubb (4,291 yards) needs 13 rushing yards to pass 1985 Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson (4,303 yards) for fourth on the list of SEC career leading rushers. Chubb is averaging 96.3 yards per game this season, so he’s a good bet to eclipse Jackson early in the game against the Tigers.
Chubb likely won’t be finished climbing the ranks of all-time great SEC rushers after he passes Jackson. The senior from Cedartown needs 267 yards to overtake Kevin Faulk of LSU (4,557 yards) for third and 300 yards to pass Darren McFadden of Arkansas (4,590 yards) for second. At his current pace, Chubb would pass Faulk against Georgia Tech and pass McFadden in the SEC Championship Game.
Georgia legend Herschel Walker (5,259 yards) still sits head and shoulders above all others. Chubb would need a legendary finish to his senior campaign to close the 968-yard gap between himself and Walker.
The argument that Jake Fromm can’t pass doesn’t hold weight anymore. Sure, you can argue he hasn’t been asked to pass. But through nine games the freshman has been astoundingly accurate when called upon, including clutch situations.
Georgia leads the SEC in third-down conversion rate (51.2 percent) thanks to its stable of backs and Fromm’s efficient passing. Through Week 10 of the season, Fromm leads the country in third-down passer rating. He also leads the nation in third-down touchdown passes and third-down passes of 25+ yards. Unsurprisingly, he was money passing on third down against South Carolina. From Seth Emerson of DawgNation:
- Third-and-6: Pass complete to Javon Wims on a comeback pattern right at the marker.
- Third-and-7: Pass complete to Wims on a comeback pattern for 6 yards, short of the marker.
- Third-and-10: Pass incomplete deep but holding results in first down.
- Third-and-5: Pass complete to Riley Ridley for 7 yards on a short hitch.
- Third-and-6: Sacked. (Gamecocks stunted over Isaiah Wynn and Kendall Baker and then the dam broke up the middle.)
- Third-and-4: Pass complete to Sony Michel for 16 yards. It looked like it was set up to go to Michel as the first option, sort of a delayed screen. Michel took it and went most of the way himself, but Fromm did a good job waiting for the play to develop.
- Third-and-4: Touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman in left side of the end zone.
- Third-and-9: Fromm scrambles for no gain.
- Third-and-goal: Pass incomplete.
Natrez Patrick set to return vs. Auburn
Inside linebacker Natrez Patrick is supposedly set to return from a four-game suspension this weekend against Auburn, although Kirby Smart is staying mum on the subject, just as he has for the last month.
“His discipline will be handled internally like it always is,” Smart said, according to Emerson. “He’s been practicing with us the last few weeks. He’ll continue to practice with us. And that competition will continue to go on.”
While you never want to see a guy get arrested, Patrick’s absence could end up as a blessing for Georgia, from a football standpoint, thanks to that competition Smart mentioned. Without Patrick in the mix, Reggie Carter was forced to step into a spot alongside Roquan Smith with the first-team. He’s done well enough the last four weeks to make a case for himself keeping the No. 1 gig. Junior Juwan Taylor and freshman Monty Rice also took turns starting when Carter missed a few games with a concussion.
That all adds up to an incredibly deep crew of inside linebackers that can turn to its No. 2 to No. 5 player — let’s be honest, there’s no touching Smith — without losing much. Even if Patrick doesn’t slot back in with the starters, he’ll get back in the rotation, and that’ll be a major boon for a defense that needs depth to keep winning down the stretch.
“It’s going to be huge,” Carter said of Patrick’s return. “When both of us were out, the young guys were doing good. When I came back, the young guys were still doing good. It’s just great to have everybody back, and the young guys with experience under their belt, and having a leader on our defense like Natrez back.”
The path to the playoff
Andy Staple of Sports Illustrated broke down paths to the College Football Playoff for the 17 teams that are still alive by his estimation. Here’s the gist of what he had to say about Georgia:
If Notre Dame can keep winning, Georgia’s win against the Fighting Irish would act as a buoy to keep the Bulldogs above Notre Dame in the rankings. Since an 11–1 Notre Dame would have a great shot at making the playoff, a 12–1 Georgia—coming off a loss to Alabama in the SEC title game—would still have a great chance to make the playoff. A 13–0 Georgia is a lock for the playoff and probably would be the No. 1 seed playing in the Sugar Bowl.
Dawgs on Twitter
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) November 7, 2017
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) November 6, 2017
— Coach Kirby Smart (@KirbySmartUGA) November 7, 2017
"Go to bed. You've got dog school in the morning!"… pic.twitter.com/OH3nUvLC0J
— Funny GIFs (@FunnyGIFs4You) November 3, 2017
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