Oct. 3, 2012
ATHENS -- Georgia's two true freshman running backs Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley have both created quite the buzz early in their Georgia careers. On Saturday against Tennessee they cemented themselves as stars.
Marshall and Gurley - or as many Georgia fans have begun referring to them "Gurshall"- combined for 294 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns in the Bulldogs' 51-44 victory over the Volunteers.
While many have speculated on the potential rivalry between the two, Gurley said if anything it is friendly competition with both men being solidly team players.
"We talk about that we've got to have a good game. We've got to go out there and carry the load or whatever," Gurley said. "But we're happy for each other. Any time he scores I'm jumping up and down just ready for him to get to the sideline to give him words of encouragement."
Marshall sparked life into Georgia with touchdown runs of 75 and 72 yards that helped him rack up a career-high 164 yards. After the game Marshall said playing in the Georgia offense has so far been an enjoyable experience.
"It's very fun, especially when the offense is rolling like it has been rolling. Everyone's been making plays and it's very exciting," Marshall said. "I work hard but I give all the credit to my teammates and the coaches. They've been teaching me everything and blocking well for me."
After enrolling at Georgia in the winter, Marshall was joined by Gurley as the beginning of fall. During the two players' time with the program, Marshall said the veterans have looked after them.
"For me and Todd we've had a lot of the older guys take us under their wing and make sure we know everything," he said. "They make sure we work hard so we can have the success we've had."
Clearly the hard work is paying off with the success the two North Carolina natives are having. Both running backs acknowledged the role they know they are playing in the explosive Georgia offense. The 2012 Bulldogs have become the first in school history to score 40 points or more in the team's first five games.
The Bulldogs needed every one of their 51 points on Saturday as Tennessee pushed fifth-ranked Georgia to the final minutes. A lot of the problems Georgia had stemmed from offensive turnovers, including a fumble by Marshall, who said that he put pressure on himself to make amends for his mistake.
"The coaches said we were hurting ourselves. They (Tennessee) weren't stopping us, we were stopping ourselves. If we limited the turnovers and mistakes, we knew we could beat them," Marshall said. "I put extra pressure on myself but the coaches and all my teammates were telling me everyone makes mistakes. It was just one play, move on."
After their outstanding performances on Saturday the Bulldog nation weren't the only people recognizing the play of the two freshmen. The Southeastern Conference office named Gurley and Marshall as two-thirds of the SEC tri-freshmen of the week. The Georgia backs had to share the award with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.