You really have to feel for Nick Chubb.
The Georgia running back returned from a devastating knee injury that knocked him out for more than half of the 2015 season, rushing for career regular-season high of 222 yards in the 2016 opener in his first game back. In an embarrassing Week 4 loss to Ole Miss, however, Chubb sustained an ankle in the second quarter and wasn’t able to return.
Whether he will be healthy enough to return for a ky SEC East matchup with Tennessee next weekend remains to be seen.
“Don’t know the severity yet. He couldn’t come back in the game,” head coach Kirby Smart said according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution following the loss. “If he could have come back, I know he wanted to. So we’ll see how that goes the next couple days.
In his three games since the opener, has for just 200 yards total. Included in that was the 57 yards on 12 carries he had prior to the ankle injury. If Chubby can’t go vs. the Vols, Brian Herrien (11 carries for 78 yards against the Rebels) and Sony Michel (11-66). Herrien also scored the Bulldogs’ two touchdowns in the 45-14 loss, both of which came on the ground.
The story of September for No. 23 Ole Miss (2-2, 1-1 SEC) had been the inability to keep its foot on the gas pedal once it jumped out to a sizable lead against a quality opponent. Whether it was a lesson learned or the mere fact that No. 12 Georgia (3-1, 1-1 SEC) was over-ranked heading in, the Rebels did not let up Saturday afternoon in Oxford. Ole Miss built a 17-0 lead in the first quarter, took a 31-0 lead into the halftime break and went on to demolish Georgia, 45-14.
Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly was able to get an early rest after one extremely productive first half. Before Hugh Freeze handed the offense to backups quarterbacks, Kelly completed 16 of 21 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns. The ball was distributed pretty well between the running and passing games as well. Eight different players caught a pass for Ole Miss, and seven different Rebels carried the football at least once. Kelly took off four times for 53 yards and a touchdown in addition to his efficient day through the air.
Georgia’s running duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel rushed for a combined 123 yards, but neither scored a touchdown before the game started to get out of hand and away from Georgia’s strength. The early hole meant Georgia had to try and catch up through the air, with freshman quarterback Jacob Eason having a rough afternoon on the road. Eason completed 16 of 36 pass attempts for 137 yards and an interception, and a number of dropped passes.
Georgia will return home and hope the momentum is quick to swing back in its favor next week. The Bulldogs play a pivotal SEC East contest against Tennessee. The Vols are playing an important SEC East game today against Florida. Georgia may need a win at home to bounce back, with games at South Carolina and at home against Vanderbilt following before a bye week. After the bye week comes the annual game in Jacksonville against Florida. How Kirby Smart gets his team to come back next week with Eason will be key as Georgia looks to prove this loss was a bit of a fluke.
There was certainly nothing flukey about it though, as Ole Miss showed what they can do when they play a complete game. For the first time this season, Ole Miss did not get tired against a physical opponent and continued to make plays all afternoon to lock down the win. This was one Ole Miss needed to have after the way this month has played out thus far. Next up for Ole Miss is a bit of a revenge game at home next week against Memphis of the American Athletic Conference. The Tigers stunned Ole Miss last season with Paxton Lynch at quarterback and Justin Fuente coaching. Both have moved on from Memphis (Lynch to the NFL, Fuente to Virginia Tech), so the Tigers will have their work cut out for them if they are to pull the stunner once more. Ole Miss will be a prohibitive favorite and get a chance to get to the bye week with a winning record before heading to Arkansas and then to LSU before returning home to play Auburn.
The first quarter today in Oxford, Mississippi went about as expected for anyone who has watched Ole Miss play a football this season. The Rebels jumped all over Georgia with a 17-0 first quarter advantage, doubling the offensive production of the Bulldogs and forcing a turnover and returning it for a score. Of course, what happens after building a double-digit lead is what has been the story of the season for Ole Miss this season, with two blown double-digit leads resulting in losses against Florida State and Alabama. At the half, Ole Miss leads Georgia by a score of 31-0, and even they may be able to hold on to this one.
The Rebels opened the scoring at home on their first offensive possession by settling for a field goal by Gary Wunderlich from 24-yards out. The defense would be responsible for the first touchdown of the afternoon when Derrick Jones stepped in front of a pass from freshman quarterback Jacob Eason and returned it down the left sideline for a 52-yard pick-six and a 10-0 lead. The Ole Miss offense would get in gear the next time they held the football by driving 84 yards on 10 plays for a touchdown. D’Vaughn Pennamon picked up the goal-line touchdown to cap a drive highlighted by a 37-yard pass from Chad Kelly to Evan Engram from the Ole Miss 42-yard line.
Kelly would step away form a defender and unload a 55-yard touchdown pass to DaMarkus Lodge in the second quarter to extend the lead to 24-0. The lead was pushed to 31-0 when Kelly connected with Engram inside the 10-yard line late in the first half. Kelly has completed 13-of-17 pass attempts for 233 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Eason has completed just seven of 21 attempts for 64 yards. It hasn’t helped that Georgia receivers have had a knack for dropping passes that would help bail Eason out at times, especially in the second quarter.
Georgia has converted just one third down out of 10 (although they have gone two-for-three on fourth down). Ole Miss has out-gained Georgia 323-186. If you think Georgia has Ole Miss right where they want them based on prior results this season, keep in mind that both Florida State and Alabama managed to snatch the momentum right before halftime against Ole Miss. That did not happen this afternoon for the Georgia, who is well on its way to the firts loss under heard coach Kirby Smart.
A pair of offseason incidents will continue to prove costly on the field for Jonathan Ledbetter.
The Georgia defensive lineman, Kirby Smart confirmed, remains suspended and will miss this Saturday’s game against Ole Miss. The contest in Oxford, to which the lineman will not travel, will mark the fourth consecutive game Ledbetter has missed because of his suspension.
The head coach gave no timeline for an eventual return.
In July, Ledbetter was arrested on a pair of alcohol-related charges. Four months earlier, he was again arrested on another pair alcohol-related charges.
Shortly after his second arrest, Ledbetter acknowledged in a statement that he has “a problem” with alcohol and will “continue to receive additional treatment for this disease.”
After playing in seven games as a true freshman in 2015, Ledbetter had been expected to compete for an increased role in the Bulldogs’ defensive line rotation this season.
As the Lamar Jackson Heisman hype train hurtles down the tracks, at least one wagering establishment has wholeheartedly hopped aboard.
In its latest set of odds released Tuesday afternoon, Bovada.lv has pushed the Louisville quarterback to its pole position for the 2016 Heisman Trophy. In fact, Jackson, whose 18 touchdowns this season are more than all but seven teams have scored through three weeks, is the site’s overwhelming favorite at 1/2 after being at 6/1 just one week ago.
The Sept. 13 favorite, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, has gone from 5/1 to 8/1. Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey (9/2) has slightly longer odds at 11/2, while Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett held steady at 6/1.
Greg Ward Jr. saw one of the biggest surges as the Houston quarterback went from 25/1 a week ago to 16/1.
Leonard Fournette was Bovada‘s preseason Heisman favorite at 4/1. The LSU running back dropped to 12/1 after Week 2 and 20/1 after Week 3. Around this time last year, Fournette was the Bovada favorite for the Heisman that ultimately went to Alabama running back Derrick Henry, who couldn’t even crack the top six 12 months ago.
Two players that were off the board last go ’round were added: San Diego State running back Donnell Pumphrey (25/1) and Washington quarterback Jake Browning (40/1). A handful of players were taken off the board, most notably quarterbacks Chad Kelly (Ole Miss), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) and Josh Rosen (UCLA).
Below is the complete list of Heisman Trophy odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv: