College Football – (10) Georgia Staying Focused on Arkansas (UPDATED)
John BensonNo comments
This Saturday, the Georgia Bulldogs (5-1, 3-1 SEC) will travel to Fayetteville to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks (3-3, 0-3 SEC). All the media attention leading up to the game has been focused on the Bulldogs’ embattled running back, Todd Gurley.
The erstwhile Heisman frontrunner is adept at making defenders miss, but his NFL-calibre speed and agility will not help him evade the wrath of the NCAA for allegedly getting paid to sign autographs.
With the emergence of freshman running back Nick Chubb, though, whether Gurley plays this weekend is borderline immaterial. (Update: As of Friday morning, it is being reported that Gurley will, indeed, miss the game against Arkansas.) Last week against No. 23 Missouri, Chubb gained 143 yards on the ground during his team’s 34-0 rout.
After the game, Georgia head coach Mark Richt said, “I think our guys really understand that football is a team game. The best chance we have is for everybody to take care of their responsibilities.”
When asked whether Gurley will play, Richt acknowledged that he doesn’t know, “I just don’t have any answer for that. I don’t know. If there’s something worthy of reporting, we’ll report it. But other than that, we’re just focusing on things that we can control right now.”
Like Georgia, Arkansas’ offense relies on the run game. The Razorbacks lead the SEC at 278.7 rushing yards per game and have two players – Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams – with more than 500 yards.
It’ll be interesting to see how Arkansas bounces back after taking No. 7 ranked Alabama to the wire last weekend before losing 14-13. Arkansas had been horrendous at defending the rush against top ranked teams, but were able to limit the Tide to just 66 yards.
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema was not surprised by his team’s performance against Alabama. He said, “I think the negative effect comes from those that don’t live in our program. I think that is a thing that from the outside world looking in maybe you get amazed at, but I am not concerned the least bit as a head coach.”
Arkansas will need another strong defensive performance this week to stay with the Bulldogs.
With both defenses coming off solid performances, and both offenses focused on the ground game, look for this game to stay under the 58.5 total.