Georgia’s D’Andre Swift leaps Knowshon Moreno in rushing

Here’s a by the numbers look at Georgia junior running back D’Andre Swift.

D’Andre Swift was puzzled by the question. Asked after Saturday’s game how he thought his defender leap compared to some of Georgia’s all-time greatest running backs, Swift didn’t know how to answer.

“I don’t know; I’m not sure,” said the junior from Philadelphia.

It was a loaded question. Former Bulldog Knowshon Moreno was in the house on Saturday. Moreno, of course, recorded one of Georgia's most famous hurdling leaps against Central Michigan in 2008. And Todd Gurley entered into UGA lore with his leap of a Tennessee defender in 2014.

Georgia's Knowshon Moreno (24) leaps over Central Michigan defenders Mike Petrucci (30) and Vince Agnew (22) on a long run Saturday, Sept. 6, 2008, at Sanford Stadium in Athens.
Georgia's Knowshon Moreno (24) leaps over Central Michigan defenders Mike Petrucci (30) and Vince Agnew (22) on a long run Saturday, Sept. 6, 2008, at Sanford Stadium in Athens.

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

Swift’s leap of a Notre Dame safety earlier this season might have been the best, especially for yards gained after the leap. Swift tried another one on Saturday against Texas A&M, but it was more out of desperation on what was ultimately a lost-yardage play.

Of course, judging leaps is a subjective pursuit. What’s objective is that, with another 100-yard rushing game Saturday night, Swift leaped past Moreno into seventh place on Georgia’s all-time rushing list with 2,797 yards. That remains 488 yards shy of Gurley’s career mark, which stands No. 4 on the Bulldogs’ list, with Garrison Hearst (3,232) and Lars Tate (3,017) in between.

» MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM: Bulldogs' offense floundering

Swift insists he's unconcerned about any of those numbers. He cares only about letters, such as the "W" Georgia recorded Saturday night, 19-13 over Texas A&M.

“We got the win and that’s all that matters,” Swift said.

That Swift got his ninth career 100-yard game with 103 yards on 19 carries was a serendipitous byproduct. But it certainly impressed coach Kirby Smart.

Smart lauded Swift’s work as it came on another night when the opposing defense was slanted toward stopping the run and offensive movement in general was difficult. But like his 106-yard performance against Auburn last week, Swift managed to turn in some eye-popping runs, even when his longest from scrimmage would cover only 23 yards.

“I don’t think the guy gets enough credit,” Smart said. “It just baffles me. I guess people have the expectation of he’s going to get 250 and 300 but I don’t even know like who in the SEC is close to him in rushing yards. What back out there is putting out 100-yard games against these caliber of defenses. I mean it’s crazy to me what he’s been able to will himself to.”

Swift also had four catches for 29 yards Saturday.

For the record, Ole Miss quarterback John Rhys Plumlee (123.6 ypg) and Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill (110.5) are each averaging more yards rushing than Swift.

Swift, of course, shares carries with senior Brian Herrien and two other backs. Herrien had 30 yards Saturday but the Bulldogs managed only 97 rushing as quarterback Jake Fromm was sacked twice for a loss of 19 yards and lost another yard on a run.

Again, Swift claims to pay no attention to such milestones. He’s hyper-focused on Georgia’s offense getting the job done. That has been a tough task of late.

For the second week in a row, the Bulldogs didn’t manage 300 yards offense. At one point late in the game, after Swift took a zone-read handoff from Fromm into a wall of A&M defenders, Swift lit into his quarterback.

“The (clock) ran down to 1 and he hiked the ball and it wasn’t really a good play,” Swift explained after the game. “I was just telling him he needed to snap the ball earlier, but it wasn’t on him. I was just frustrated.”

Smart downplayed the “dust-up,” as it was described to him.

"I wouldn’t call it a dust-up,” he said. “He was just frustrated. It was a situation where we don’t run that play into a pressure from that side. They did a good job disguising it. We told Jake to milk the clock and when you milk the clock you can’t change the play. … It wasn’t a great play.

“But that’s called passion. It’s not a dust-up. It’s love. When you have family, your family doesn’t always get along, right? But they love each other. These two young men love each other as much as anybody.”

Swift now has 1,130 yards rushing on the season, which makes him only the fifth Georgia back in history to break the 1,000-yard barrier in back-to-back seasons. The last one to have three was Nick Chubb.

On a night when 23 seniors were honored on the occasion of playing their last home, Swift was asked if he'd just played his final one on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “I’ll think about that when it’s time to think about it.”

Good answer. In the meantime, Swift certainly has a few more great leaps in him.

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