Georgia again turns to Chubb against Buccaneers
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) Jamey Chadwell has confidence his Charleston Southern players won't be awed by their first visit to No. 9 Georgia.
The coach said that Charleston Southern, a FCS school, has visited other FBS sites.
Even so, Chadwell acknowledges he is concerned about the speed and size of Georgia (8-2). The Buccaneers' second-year coach said he is especially impressed with Bulldogs freshman tailback Nick Chubb.
Georgia will rely on Chubb after losing junior star Todd Gurley to a season-ending knee injury in last week's win over Auburn. Chubb took over as the starter during Gurley's four-game suspension before the Auburn game.
Asked how Chubb compares with other backs the Buccaneers have faced, Caldwell said ''He doesn't compare.''
''We've got some good backs in our league, no doubt, and we've faced some good backs,'' Caldwell said. ''He is for a freshman, he's phenomenal. His balance, the strength he runs with, and then you add his speed, he is by far the best player that I think we've seen overall in really the time I've been here the last two years. He's pretty special, especially to be that young.''
Chubb has rushed for more than 100 yards in five straight games. He ranks second in the Southeastern Conference with 1,039 yards rushing. He was named SEC freshman of the week for the fourth time after running for 144 yards and two touchdowns in the Bulldogs' impressive 34-7 win over then-No. 9 Auburn.
Georgia (No. 10 CFP) would earn a spot in the Southeastern Conference championship game if Tennessee beats Missouri on Saturday night.
Charleston Southern (8-3) will be playing its second SEC East opponent, following a 21-20 loss at Vanderbilt on Oct. 11.
Georgia coach Mark Richt used the Vanderbilt game as evidence his players should not overlook Charleston Southern.
''Obviously they're not afraid to go into an SEC setting and beat someone's tail,'' Richt said. ''They had Vanderbilt on the ropes already this season and we know that they're an outstanding football team. I've said this before and I mean it, it's hard to beat teams that are used to winning. And this team has got the fever when it comes to winning.''
Here are some things to know as the Bulldogs try to improve their 38-1 home record against teams outside the SEC since 2001:
RUNNING WITH REYES: Charleston Southern has its own strong running back in senior Christian Reyes, who was last week's Big South player of the week after running for 188 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-36 win over Liberty. Georgia gave up only 150 yards rushing to Auburn last week, but it allowed 418 yards rushing in a 38-20 loss to Florida on Nov. 1.
DON'T LOOK AHEAD: Richt had a quick negative answer when asked if he hoped to rest Chubb or other starters for next week's state rivalry game against Georgia Tech. ''You can't. That's why people get beat,'' Richt said, adding that kind of talk would have players thinking they were getting ready for an easy game. Added Richt: ''There's no reason to think that this game won't be a physical game. These guys are really good. The more I watch them, the more I see why they're winning.''
WINNING WITH TAKEAWAYS: Georgia ranks second in the nation with a plus-16 turnover margin. It is the third-best margin in school history and its best in Richt's 14 seasons. The Bulldogs have scored 76 points off 22 turnovers. Georgia opponents have scored only six points off six Georgia turnovers.
MORE ON CHUBB: In his five games as a starter, Chubb has rushed for 815 yards with seven touchdowns. He has averaged 6.7 yards per carry in that span. He is the first Georgia freshman to run for 1,000 yards since Gurley had 1,385 in 2012.
MASON ON TARGET: Georgia senior Hutson Mason has completed 67.6 percent of his passes (150 of 222), a school-record pace. The Georgia record for accuracy in a season was set by Mike Bobo, now the offensive coordinator, when he completed 65.03 percent of his passes (199 of 306) in 1997. Other quarterbacks in the top five are Aaron Murray (twice), Eric Zeier and Hines Ward.