ATHENS – About a half-hour after Saturday’s game, Georgia tailback Keith Marshall noticed the piece of paper in a reporter’s hand.
“Those the stats?” he asked. “Let’s see.”
One number jumped out: Georgia’s 300 yards rushing.
“OK,” Marshall said. “That’s good.”
After being held to their two lowest rushing totals of the season in the previous two games – 120 vs. Missouri and 69 vs. Florida – the Bulldogs had a season high in rushing yards in Saturday’s 27-3 win over Kentucky.
Starting tailback Sony Michel had a career-high 165 yards on 24 carries, including a long run of 45 yards and a 1-yard touchdown run, despite playing with a broken bone in his right hand. Marshall had 60 rushing yards on 13 carries (and also scored a touchdown on a 10-yard screen pass). Seven Bulldogs ran the ball.
“I mean, it’s nothing new. This is what Georgia does,” Michel said. “We had two games where we didn’t have great rushing yards, but it’s just part of adversity. You’ve just got to move forward.”
The Oct. 10 loss of star tailback Nick Chubb to a season-ending knee injury was a big blow to Georgia’s running game. Getting it back on track was a top priority against Kentucky.
“We had to run the ball better. We knew that coming into the week,” Marshall said. “The last couple of games, we haven’t run the ball the way Georgia normally (does), and it kind of slowed things down for the whole offense. That was a big focus this week, and it was good to go out there and get back on track.”
Michel said his broken right hand, sustained early in the Florida game, was a non-factor – an assessment supported by his statistics. He carried the ball in his left hand, as he usually does anyway.
“I forgot about (the injury),” he said, “because I couldn’t use it as an excuse for fumbling or for not performing well. … I could have easily just said, ‘No, my hand is broken; I can’t play any more, Coach.’ ”
Michel said he also forgot about the turmoil that had enveloped the Georgia program and its fan base in the aftermath of a 1-3 record in October.
“We can’t really worry about the outside noise,” Michel said. “Everybody is going to have their opinions, and hopefully this just shows everybody that Georgia is trying to … do what we do.”