Todd Gurley made his long awaited return to the Georgia backfield at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in the Bulldog’s rivalry game vs. Florida. However, the 6-foot-1, 232-pound running back highly anticipated debut was tempered when he left the game in the first quarter and went to the locker room.
Gurley started the game with 34 rushing yards on three carries and a five-yard touchdown on the ‘Dawgs opening possession and backed that up with a 73-yard touchdown reception after he and Aaron Murray exposed the Gator’s defense.
Gurley sprinted right down the middle of the field in his longest play from scrimmage since his first carry of the season. Shortly thereafter, he was seen on the sideline looking as if he just ran a marathon. The CBS crew calling the game speculated about an aggravation of the ankle injury that kept him out the past three games or if he injured his other ankle.
He went to the locker room and after 10-15 minutes came back after he was simply gassed. His conditioning levels aren’t up to par as they would normally be after missing a month of action, but Gurley returned with about 10 minutes to go in the second quarter and promptly ripped off a 30-yard run off right tackle.
Georgia fans may have been holding their collective breath about another injury to Gurley in a season that started with Heisman aspirations. He’s missed chunks of two games and missed three, but he’s fine now and should be even better next week.
Just think if this is the type of performance he delivers vs. the No. 1 rush defense in the SEC and No. 7 nationally (entering Saturday), then think how scary he’ll be when he’s 100 percent. He’s probably at 75-80 percent now.
Gurley had 151 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns in the first half. He finished with 100 rushing yards on 17 carries and 87 receiving yards and two total touchdowns in the 23-20 win. The third straight win for Georgia over Florida as they keep their hopes of an SEC east title alive.
Georgia held the ball for the final eight minutes of the game as Gurley and Georgia punched Florida in the mouth and the Gators could not stop Gurley and Murray. It was a physical and chippy battle as you would expect in this rivalry game, and Gurley and Georgia landed the last punch.
Gurley is a future first-round pick in the NFL and if he were eligible this season, he’d be my first running back off the board.
Patrick’s a college football writer for Rant Sports and radio host on Sportstownchicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt and Google and email him at SchmidtPatrick@gmail.com for media inquiries.