ATHENS — Nick Chubb says he has been misunderstood. He does care about this whole 100-yard streak thing. And it has nothing to do with him or Herschel Walker.
For him, it’s about putting three-digits on Alabama. Plain and simple.
“I’m more motivated to get 100 yards not because I could break the record but just because they haven’t allowed anyone to get 100 yards on them this season,” Chubb said of the 13th-ranked Crimson Tide, which visits Sanford Stadium on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. “I know my (offensive) line is also very excited about it. They’re probably more excited about breaking the record, just being a part of this, what we’ve got going on.
“I just think it will be very interesting. We’ll see what happens.”
Indeed, that little storyline is at least part of the reason CBS has bothered to show up and make Saturday’s contest between the hedges its national SEC game of the week. Chubb is making a run at history.
Chubb has totaled more than 100 yards rushing in 12 consecutive games, which is No. 1 for active players in FBS. More importantly for the Bulldogs, that’s one game shy of Herschel Walker’s school record of 13 straight games of 100-or-more yards spanning the 1980 and ’81 seasons.
But more than getting 100 yards against Alabama, Chubb said a productive day from him or any of the tailbacks means that the Bulldogs are getting it done on offense.
“Nobody has been able to run the ball against them so far this season,” he said. “That’s very impressive. … It’s going to be hard, but I think we can do it.”
Hard might be an understatement. Not only has the Crimson Tide not allowed a 100-yard rusher all season, they haven’t yielded 100 yards to a TEAM all year. Ole Miss, which beat them 43-37 two weeks ago, had the most this season at 92 yards on 32 carries.
Alabama is giving up 56.8 yards rushing per game. The leading rusher so far has been the Rebels’ Jordan Wilkins, with 39 yards on seven carries. Louisiana-Monroe’s leading rusher last Saturday was Ben Luckett with 13 (on 7 attempts). The Warhawks had a total of nine yards on 31 carries.
Armed with that knowledge, Georgia is not so naive to think that it can just line up with its veteran offensive line and force its will with Chubb and Sony Michel. But the Bulldogs do believe they can move the football in a variety of ways.
“This game is a line of scrimmage game,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “It’s going to start on the line and our quarterbacks are going to have to makes some plays, ours and Bama’s. Sometimes making a play is just doing what you always do. … Rarely does a guy have to do something acrobatic or above and beyond the call of duty. Just do your job and do it well. That gives you a chance.”
That obviously means they’ll be depending heavily on the eyes, arm and decision-making abilities of quarterback Greyson Lambert. But it is not to say they’ll try to throw the football all over the field.
A heavy run-pass mixture along with a high-tempo pace appears to be Bulldogs’ plan of offensive attack. Gradually, Georgia has become more and more balanced as the season has continued. Before they moved to salt away victory in the fourth quarter against South Carolina, they had called 24 runs and 23 passes.
“We can’t do anything if we can’t get the run started,” junior receiver Reggie Davis said. “So we’ve just got to play Georgia football. We’re trying to keep it balanced. There’ll be opportunities, but we’ve still got to the small things first. Big things are nothing but a bunch of little things put together.”
Said senior wideout Malcolm Mitchell: “We’ll see what happens Saturday. That’s all I have to say about that. You never know what it’s going to come down to until you’re in the moment. But I’m pretty sure it won’t be as simple as we run, they hit, we run, they hit. I’m pretty sure it won’t be that stagnant.”
That said, don’t expect to the Bulldogs come out in five wides with an empty backfield. Just because the book on Alabama says you can’t run against them doesn’t mean you don’t attempt it. Georgia definitely plans test its mettle against one of the deepest and most talented fronts in the league. And it expects the Crimson Tide to be motivated to stop it.
Meanwhile, Alabama has been somewhat vulnerable to aerial attacks. It’s 11th in the league in pass defense at 210 yards per game. Ole Miss passed for 341.
So Georgia will simply take what the defense gives it, which probably won’t be much either way.
“If we don’t have a box that’s stacked there’s something weird about it,” junior guard Greg Pyke said. “We’re just used to having that, because they know we’re gonna run the ball. I think if Greyson’s having the game that he’s been having, people are gonna have to be worried about the deep-ball threat. I mean he’s been doing a great job out there. Our receivers have been doing a great job.”
Said Chubb: “Being able to pass the ball will be key, ‘cause just showing that they’ve struggled against the pass game and they’ve done well against the run. But we’re going to run the ball here at Gerogia. So we need to be pretty much balanced against those guys.”