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NCAA Football Georgia Bulldogs

Todd Gurley Kicks Off Heisman Campaign with Georgia Bulldogs

Dale Zanine, USA TODAY SPORTS

Dale Zanine, USA TODAY SPORTS

Todd Gurley, running back for the Georgia Bulldogs, got his Heisman Trophy campaign off to a big start on Saturday.

Gurley carried 15 times for 198 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-21 win over the Clemson Tigers on Saturday in Athens. Gurley padded his stats by returning a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.

The junior has had two outstanding seasons for Georgia already, but even bigger things are expected from him this season. With quarterback Huston Mason running the offense for the first time, Gurley will be counted on for big production out of the backfield.

Gurley was injured for part of last season, so Georgia head coach Mark Richt and his staff will make sure to not overwork Gurley this season. Luckily for Richt and the Bulldogs, there is depth at running back. Keith Marshall and Nick Chubb will also see time in the backfield spelling Gurley.

Having others running the ball may seem like a disadvantage for Gurley if he is trying to put up Heisman-type numbers. However, if Gurley is able to return kicks, catch passes and add statistics in other ways, that could make him an even stronger candidate.

While Gurley’s numbers were not eye-popping in the first half of game one, he picked things up in the second half. He had an 18-yard rushing score early in the fourth quarter, then finished the scoring with a 51-yard scamper with 7:34 remaining.

Players are not going to win the Heisman in the first week of the season, but they can take themselves out of the conversation. That did not happen to Todd Gurley in his opener.

Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.