ATHENS, Ga. — Once again, Clemson didn’t see a lot of Todd Gurley. But Georgia showed the Tigers — and the nation — enough to get his Heisman Trophy campaign started and give the Bulldogs a season-opening victory at Sanford Stadium.
No. 12 Georgia used its prized junior tailback sparingly. He had only four carries at halftime, but it paid off in the second half as a fresh and strong Gurley cherry-picked his way to 198 yards rushing on 15 carries and four touchdowns in a resounding 45-21 victory against No. 16 Clemson.
One of Gurley’s scores came on a 104-yard kickoff return in the first half. By the time Georgia had the game well under control midway through the fourth quarter, Gurley had amassed 293 all-purpose yards — a school record — and it came on just 16 touches, an average of 17.24 yards per touch.
“I think he’s the best player in America,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said, “or at least one of them.”
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The game-tipper for Georgia came on Gurley’s 18-yard cut-back run for a touchdown on a toss sweep right. That gave the Bulldogs a 31-21 lead and broke open what had been a fairly sedate second half to that point.
When the Bulldogs gave Gurley yet another blow on their next possession, freshman Nick Chubb came in and immediately took a toss sweep to the right 47 yards down the sideline for another touchdown. Now the blowout was on.
Georgia brought Gurley in one more time and he did it again. At the 7:34 mark, he duplicated the youngster’s feat and went 51 yards down the home sideline for his fourth score of the night.