ATHENS – The Marshall family Labor Day weekend stat line is something to behold.
Between Georgia Tech’s Marcus Marshall and Georgia’s Keith Marshall, runners both, your totals were: 18 carries for 257 yards and four touchdowns.
That’s also an average of more than 14 yards per carry. It would have been much better if older brother Keith wasn’t such a drag on the overall result.
Thursday night, Marcus rushed for 184 yards in his college debut against Alcorn State. Back in Athens, his brother lit up. “I get more nervous and excited and all that watching him than I do for myself when I play,” Keith said.
Then Saturday, Keith, the high-potential, oft-injured junior, re-entered Georgia’s tailback rotation in a big way, running for 73 yards on 10 carries, and scoring twice. Marcus had hoped to attend that one, but there was the matter of practice back at Tech. “He might come hang out with me a little afterward,” Keith said post-game.
There is much for the two brothers to celebrate. A highly prized recruit out of North Carolina, Keith gained 759 yards as a freshmen, but then ran into the injury buzzsaw (most significantly a torn ACL in 2013). When Keith took the ball in from three yards out in the second quarter Saturday – having delivered the ball to the doorstep on a 7-yard carry prior – it represented his first touchdown in nearly two years.
He declared before this season that he was as good as new, and he appeared to lack no burst Saturday.
“I felt good out there today. It was great being back out there,” he said.
But Keith’s got to run even faster to catch up with little brother.
Tough enough that he has to be measured against all the talented runners in his own backfield. Now there’s a blood relative just down the road who might inspire some long-distance comparison.
One who happens to play with the rival school, the two scheduled for a Nov. 28 collision.
“We’re definitely competitive but growing up we competed at things like horse, stuff like that. In football we never really got a chance to compete against each other. It will be fun this year,” Keith said.
“I wish the best for (Marcus). I hope he continues to do great things. Just when we play them – it’s on.”