They were talking about Todd Gurley even before the game.
This from ESPN College GameDay’s Desmond Howard: “I think Gurley jump-starts his Heisman campaign tonight vs. Clemson.”
The Georgia tailback gave them even more to talk about in the Bulldogs’ season-opening 45-21 victory at Sanford Stadium.
This from Falcons receiver Roddy White, via Twitter, after Gurley returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown: “That’s a 230 pound man running that fast. #I’mreadyforthenfl.”
Gurley finished with 198 yards rushing on 15 carries — an average of 13.2 yards per carry — plus the 100-yard kickoff return. He had a school-record 293 all-purpose yards after accounting for a 5-yard receiving loss. He scored four touchdowns (three rushing and one on the return).
All of that appears to have the makings of a Heisman campaign.
“I just go out there and play, and stuff happens,” Gurley said when asked if he expected such a big game. “I expect it to happen.”
“It wasn’t surprising. I mean, he’s been doing it for several years,” quarterback Hutson Mason said of Gurley’s game. “It’s Todd.”
Mason also credited offensive coaches Mike Bobo and Will Friend for in-game adjustments that led to some of the big plays.
Gurley started strong and got stronger as the game progressed.
He had four carries in the first quarter, averaging 11 yards each, including a 23-yard touchdown run over left end that tied the game at 7.
In the second quarter, he fielded a kickoff several yards deep in the end zone, burst up the middle of the field, crossed the “G” logo at mid-field and then veered to his left en route to a touchdown that tied the score at 21.
“I knew somebody was behind me,” Gurley said of his second career 100-yard kickoff return and the fifth in UGA history. (Brandon Boykin had the other three.)
By limiting Gurley to four carries from scrimmage in the first half, Georgia appeared to be preserving him for later on a hot, humid night. It worked.
“That was the gameplan — for everybody to play,” Gurley said.
Early in the fourth quarter, as Georgia sought to stretch a 24-21 lead, Gurley had a powerful run of 38 yards, followed four plays later by an 18-yard touchdown run up the middle. Even later, with Georgia leading 38-21, Gurley broke loose for 51 yards and and the Bulldogs’ final score.
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