Nick Chubb had just put up his season-high rushing total Saturday at Vanderbilt yet his workload once again wasn’t overly taxing.
Such is the benefit of Georgia being able to spread the carries out in its deep group of running backs.
The senior rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries in the 45-14 runaway.
That tied for the most times he’s toted the ball this season. He had 12 games before this season of 20 or more carries.
Chubb is now the SEC’s leading rusher with 618 yards but there hasn’t been much chance to pad the stats with all of these blowout wins for Georgia.
“That’s a sign of a great team,” Chubb said. “Not only that but I’m sharing the carries with like three other backs and we all have great yardage.”
Make that four other backs, but it’s hard to keep track with all of them.
There is of course Sony Michel, who is 11th in the SEC in rushing this season with 406.
D’Andre Swift has rushed for 264 yards, third most among SEC freshman running backs. Sophomores Elijah Holyfield (130) yards and Brian Herrien (125) have combined for 29 carries the last two weeks.
“We have an amazing stable of running backs and it’s great to see them go out there and perform,” tight end Jeb Blazevich said. “Not just put them in the game, but put them in the game and perform.”
Georgia is the only Power Five team with five players with 125 or more yards rushing and one of only five in all of FBS that has done that.
Army and New Mexico have six players and Air Force and Tulane have five, according to cfbstats.com.
Georgia used Chubb, Michel and Swift as ball carriers in the first series in Saturday’s 45-14 rout of Vanderbilt and Holyfield joined the mix in the second quarter.
“I’ve coached a defense before that was like, ‘That’s another back. He’s fresh and I’m tackling and having to do it over and over and they’ve got a new guy in there,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “I thought Holyfield came in there with a great juice and ran the ball hard and had good energy. Swift and Herrien continued to do that.”
Michel is averaging 6.88 yards per carry, third-best in the SEC, and Chubb is 6.79, good for fourth. Chubb ranks fifth (4,042 yards, 37 touchdowns) and Michel 16th (2,817, 21) among active FBS rushers
“Sony is the guy that nobody talks about and he’s had one of the best couple of runs we have had all year,” Smart said. “He was really productive the other day.”
Chubb ranks 45th in carries per game nationally, but doesn’t have to carry the load often for Georgia.
That has something to do with Georgia outscoring SEC opponents by an average of 39-6.
“It’s the way the game plays out,” Smart said. “If it is a tighter ball game you might not see that many. We are big on getting a back lathered up, getting him going and playing.”
Swift doesn’t have enough carries to qualify in the SEC but has a team-best 7.3 yards per carry.
“We want our best runners in there to run,” Smart said. “We want our best protectors in there to protect. We want our best pass catchers in there to catch the passes. The best players are going to play to the point of exhaustion and then we’ve got to be able to play other guys.”
Holyfield has put up back-to-back 51-yard rushing outings the last two weeks.
“I feel like going against those guys everyday (in practice) will prepare you for just about any back you’ll face in the country,” inside linebacker Roquan Smith said.