ATHENS – Georgia certainly made some adjustments and heard some motivational speeches from coaches at halftime of Saturday’s game against Southern. But according to a couple of the Bulldogs’ offensive players, it was an in-huddle rant by Nick Chubb in the third quarter that truly lit a fire in Georgia’s running game.
The Bulldogs had rushed for just 35 yards on 14 carries and held a pedestrian 20-6 halftime lead against their FCS visitors this past Saturday when they trotted back on the field to start the third quarter. Huddled up to start , the normally quiet-spoken Chubb spoke up.
“Chubb came into the huddle, and that’s the first time that he screamed at everybody,” senior receiver Malcolm Mitchell said during a postgame interview on the Georgia Bulldogs Radion Network. “At one time at least.”
Asked what it was Chubb said, Mitchell chuckled: “Get it together!”
That in itself motivated me to go out there and block in the run game. I’m going, ‘all right, he doesn’t get like that often. He’s fixin’ to break a long one!’ He doesn’t same much. Game day he just plays football. But when he spoke up I was like, ‘all right, it’s about to get serious out here.’”
It did get serious indeed. Here’s what happened after the Bulldogs clapped in unison and broke that huddle:
- Chubb over right tackle – 11 yards;
- Chubb over left tackle – 13 yards;
- Chubb around left end – 11 yards;
- Greyson Lambert play-action pass to Mitchell – 11 yards (plus facemask penalty);
- Chubb up middle – 9 yards and touchdown!
Five plays, 65 yards, one minute and 34 seconds later, the rout was on.
And Georgia kept it up for the remainder of the quarter. Chubb would come back two possessions later to rip off a 49-yard touchdown run. Sony Michel got loose for a 58-yard score toward the end of the period. In between, Mitchell hauled in a 23-yard TD pass.
Chubb and Michel combined for 162 yards on nine carries in the third quarter alone. The Bulldogs had 99 yards on 24 rushes the rest of the game.
“I don’t know if I’d say he screamed necessarily, but he definitely spoke up,” Georgia tackle John Theus said of Chubb’s third-quarter directive. “And we heard him.”
Said junior guard Greg Pyke: “Chubb doesn’t say much, but when he does, you know that he means business. … He told us to hold our blocks up and he’ll take care of the rest. And he pretty much did.”
Georgia will have to play with a similar sense of desperation the whole game this Saturday. In No. 13 Alabama, the Bulldogs will be facing a defense that gives up allows only 56.8 yards rushing a game. That’s fourth in the nation and fewest in the SEC by far.
Chubb carries a 12-game, 100-yards-plus rushing streak into Saturday’s contest. Meanwhile, Alabama hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher yet this season.
Something’s got to give.
“It all starts up front,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “They’ve got some big, strong guys, you know? Their defense as a whole is a very veteran group. They have eight returning starters, including all of their down linemen. … Very stout, strong people.”
Georgia has a few of those as well, so it should be interesting.