On a night that was expected to be all about Todd Gurley, Nick Chubb made sure his name was on the marquee as well.
The freshman from Cedartown, who had filled in spectacularly for Gurley during his four-game NCAA suspension, matched his star backfield mate carry-for-carry as No. 20 Georgia ran all over No. 9 Auburn on the way to 34-7 Saturday night at Sanford Stadium.
Gurley was injured with 5:21 remaining with a left knee injury. Georgia coach Mark Richt and Gurley’s teammates claimed afterward they did not know the seriousness or extent of the injury. But sources familiar with the situation said that the news was the worst possible for a star tailback — a season-ending knee injury.
Asked if the Gurley injury put a damper on the Bulldogs’ resounding victory, Richt hung his head and nodded. “It did for me,” Georgia’s 14-year coach said. “Just not knowing (the extent of the injury). But it was a great victory.”
The resounding victory came in the Bulldogs’ final SEC game of the season put them in position to win the league’s Eastern Division with a Missouri loss at any point the rest of the way. The Tigers were locked in a 13-13 tie with Texas A&M when the Georgia-Auburn game concluded.
The Bulldogs improved to 8-2 overall and 6-2 in SEC play. With their second straight loss, the Tigers fall to 7-3, 4-3.
Georgia’s victory also avenged last year’s “Prayer at Jordan-Hare,” in which the Tigers scored on a 73-yard, deflected TD pass with 25 seconds left to score a 43-38 win. Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall, who threw the winning pass, started his career as a defensive back at UGA before being dismissed in 2012.
Gurley and Chubb both had big nights for the Bulldogs. They combined for 282 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 48 carries. Chubb led the way with 144 yards and two scores and went over 1,000 yards for the season with 1,039.
Gurley had 138 yards on 29 attempts, but his night ended prematurely. Gurley injured his left knee on a six-yard carry to the Auburn 11-yard line with 5:21 remaining in the game. At the time the Bulldogs led 27-7. Chubb came in and scored a touchdown on the next play.
The Bulldogs’ defense deserves a lot of credit as well. Auburn’s point total was its lowest in its two years under coach Gus Malzahn and the 292 yards total offense was also a low under his leadership. The Tigers had three turnovers to none for Georgia, raising its turnover margin for the year to plus-16.