Georgia RB Todd Gurley diversifies Heisman resume
During this week’s buildup to the Georgia-Vanderbilt game, a matchup that deservedly earned very little recognition in what promised to be college football’s best weekend to date, the Commodores called Georgia junior running back Todd Gurley "just another running back" to stop in the SEC.
This is your weekly reminder that that is most certainly not the case.
On a weekend that saw Heisman contenders too substantial leaps forward and back — for instance, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, Alabama’s Amari Cooper, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott and Texas A&M’s Kenny Hill watched their stocks fluctuate in different directions — Gurley did enough against Vanderbilt to hold steady, adding a little more to steal away some attention from the top-25 matchups. He hasn’t suffered a bad game yet, and his gaudy numbers are comparable with any running back out there.
The junior superstar, who has established himself as one of the premier offensive weapons in college football, finished with a ho-hum 163 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. It was his fourth game with 130 or more yards this season, each one coming against Power 5 conference teams. That leaves him with 773 yards and nine total touchdowns this season.
But Gurley doing excellent things in the running game is nothing new. When healthy, he’s been doing this since bursting onto the scene as a true freshman.
He also made his case to get some more looks at quarterback, too.
If Heisman voters want to see some diversity in a candidate’s resume, Gurley is supplying it. First came his 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Clemson in front of a national audience. On Saturday, Gurley provided some fireworks with his arm, finding freshman tight end Jeb Blazevich for a 50-yard gain (via SBNation):
After the game, Gurley was asked when was the last time he threw a pass in the game and what was the result. His answer? High school and, naturally, it went for a touchdown. So it was understandable if his arm showed a little rust.
"It was kind of weird because it was wobbling a little bit different … than I’m used to seeing it," Blazevich said. "No, I was joking. He got it out there very well. For one of the best running backs in the country to go out there and throw a pass like that, he did a really good job."
As many pointed out in the aftermath, it was the longest pass play of the season for the Bulldogs. The Georgia passing game, which has been without a few of its top playmakers, under quarterback Hutson Mason has come under fire in recent weeks, but that wasn’t a problem against Vandy and shouldn’t be moving forward if Gurley continues to churn out big yards on the ground. Of course, now there’s the threat of him going to the air now as well.
The Bulldogs will likely return to the top-10 after four of the top six teams nationally lose in the same week for just the second time since the invention of the AP Poll in 1936. They have a fairly high-profile three-game slate coming up with Missouri, Arkansas and Florida, so if Gurley is going to keep putting up these numbers don’t expect him to fade from this race any time soon.
He’s not just another running back. Vanderbilt can vouch for that now.