Turns out maybe the biggest detriment to Todd Gurley’s Heisman Trophy campaign is his own backup, Nick Chubb.
Following a 38-carry, 143-yard performance in a 34-0 win at Missouri, true freshman Chubb powered No. 10 Georgia to a 45-32 defeat of Arkansas in Little Rock, Ark.. with a career-high 202-yard, two-touchdown effort. Without the help of Gurley, or fellow tailbacks Keith Marshall and Sony Michel, Chubb has rushed 68 times for 345 yards (5.07 yards a pop) and three scores.
Chubb got most of his work in early, carrying 12 times for 127 yards and both of his two touchdowns (from three and 43 yards) in leading the Bulldogs to a 38-6 lead at the break. Of course, you can’t build a 32-point lead on the strength of just one player. Hutson Mason threw and ran for a first-half score, and the defense produced three sacks and three turnovers, and one of each on the same play as Jordan Jenkins sacked Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen and forced a fumble, which Dominick Sanders collected and returned 54 yards for a touchdown to close the scoring in the first half with 2:08 to play and gave the Dogs a 38-6 lead.
The game looked like anything but a Georgia romp to start as the Hogs accepted the ball to start the game and ate up more than half the first quarter on a 13-play, 75-yard drive (12 rushes, one pass) for a one-yard Alex Collins touchdown plunge. But John Henson’s PAT was blocked, the second consecutive block dating back to last week’s 14-13 loss to Alabama, and it was pretty much all downhill from there for Bielema’s boys.
To its credit, Arkansas showed much more fight in the second half than one might expect from a team headed toward its fourth straight loss. The Razorbacks out-scored Georgia 26-7 in the second half, but never pulled closer than the final margin of 13 points. Allen finished the day with a less-impressive-than-it-looks 296 yards with three touchdowns and two picks (plus the disastrous fumble) on 28-of-45 passing. Jonathan Williams led the way for Arkansas’ running game with 18 carries for 108 yards, while Collins added 11 carries for 31 yards and two scores.
Mason hit a workman-like 10-of-17 passes for 179 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, plus another score on the ground. Chris Conley caught five passes for 128 yards and a touchdown.
Georgia will now take a week off before meeting Florida in Jacksonville, giving its bevy of injured running backs, wide receivers and defensive backs an extra week to heal and Gurley 13 more days to have his case resolved.
Arkansas, losers of its last 16 SEC games, will see that week stay alive for at least one more week as the Hogs step out of the conference to host UAB on Saturday.