Alabama looks to slow down Georgia's SEC leading rushing attackBy Cody Estremera | 01/08/2018 4:52pm
Georgia tailback Nick Chubb (27) runs the ball during the second half of the SEC Championship game between the No. 2 Auburn Tigers and the No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017.
Photo courtesy of Casey Sykes, The Red & Black.
ATLANTA— The duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel ran for 199 yards and a touchdown against Alabama in the only time either player has faced the Crimson Tide. The stat is a little misleading, since 83 of Chubb’s 146 yards came on a long touchdown run. The rest of the time the Alabama defense stifled the second and third all-time leading rushers in Georgia history.
“They are definitely tough and they are probably one of the greatest teams I ever played against,” Chubb said. “It's hard to run the ball on them but we're going to have to run the ball.”
Both teams have changed a lot in the two years since the last meeting, but Chubb expects much of the same.
“They did a great job of coming off blocks and shedding blocks and I expect the same thing in this game,” Chubb said. “They are a great defense.”
Chubb and Michel have both gone through injuries, and have comeback stronger than ever. In their 14 games this season, the dynamic duo has combined for 2,449 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns, split up almost evenly. Chubb has a slight edge over his roommate by 191 yards, but Michel has one more touchdown.
Overall, Michel has 3,540 career yards and 33 touchdowns, while Chubb has 4,744 career yards and 44 touchdowns. Chubb is the second all-time leading rusher in the SEC as well.
The Bulldogs rushing attack has been a nightmare for opponent defenses all season. Georgia leads the SEC with 267.4 yards per game on the ground, which is also good for eighth in the country. It holds a little more than 11 yards per game than second place Alabama.
Even though Chubb and Michel are in the limelight, Georgia has three other running backs that are just as dangerous. D’Andre Swift, the lone freshman tailback, is third on the team with 603 yards, while sophomores Elijah Holyfield [293 yards] and Brian Herrien [265 yards] aren’t far behind. They have also combined for six touchdowns.
“Everyone talks about Nick, Sony and Swift, but Brian Herrien is a good back; Holyfield is a good back too,” defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt said. “You don’t find many places in the country that have five good runners, like they have. They have done any excellent job of keeping them all happy and healthy.”
Alabama’s run defense has been tremendous. The Crimson Tide is first in the SEC and the country in average yards per game [91.8 yards]. The key defensively for Alabama is to stop the run, but it feels that if it executes like it should, there won’t be a problem stopping the run.
“We just need to execute and play our game,” defensive end Isiah Buggs said. “Yeah, they have some great players, but we do too. That’s the main thing. We aren’t worried about Georgia has, we’re worried about what’s on this Alabama Crimson Tide… If we do what we’re supposed to do, execute and make plays, then we’ll be alright.”