Georgia's game plan without Nick Chubb
Unfortunately, it appears as though Georgia running back Nick Chubb is out for the season after he suffered a serious knee injury Saturday in the Bulldogs’ 38-31 loss to Tennessee, dropping their conference record to 2-2.
Chubb burst onto the national spotlight during a sensational freshman campaign, finishing last year with 1,547 yards rushing, 14 TDs, a top-10 PFF position grade (+18.6) and the No. 3 ranking in PFF’s elusive rating, which measures how effective a running back is at generating yards independent of his blocking.
Even though it appeared he was off to a slow start this season, Chubb was third nationally in yards (745) and had the sixth-best PFF running grade (+8.3) entering today’s game.
The key reason for the poor marketing of Chubb as a Heisman contender was due to the emergence of fellow SEC back Leonard Fournette and the lack of a big win or signature moment. Even though he gained 146 yards with a score last week against Alabama (with a positive PFF game grade), the Bulldogs were blown out 38-10 and that’s all anyone remembers.
So how does Georgia continue on without Chubb? There’s no need to panic, even after blowing a 24-3 second quarter lead today.
If you recall it was also Week 6 last season when their top player, RB Todd Gurley, was suspended, and Chubb took over with the offense never losing a step.
Now it’s sophomore Sony Michel’s turn to be the focal point of the offense and he’s already off to a fast start, turning in his top career mark for total yards in a game Saturday with 171 (145 rush + 26 rec.). Entering this week, Michel ranked 11th in elusive rating, higher than Chubb, albeit on a small sample size of carries.
Michel’s pass-catching ability will also be key as he entered the game as PFF’s fifth-rated receiver at his position (+3.7) on only 96 snaps.
Also, keep in mind that the SEC Eastern Division is the little sister to the West with up-start Missouri taking the last two titles.
If Georgia can run the table starting with that Missouri team in Athens next week, and then the rival Gators two weeks later in Jacksonville, it will be up to their defense to make it happen. However, you can’t win the SEC after allowing 38 points in consecutive games, especially after taking a 21-point lead in the one today.
The defense is actually the reason for optimism. They were ranked 13th in the nation last season for PFF (+147.5) and entered the game today ranked 10th(+80.4).
If the defense can regroup and the offense can get more big plays from WR Reggie Davis — who broke out with a two TD game and a career-high 101 receiving yards — the Bulldogs can make things interesting in the East.