There were a lot of things former Tarboro running back Todd Gurley expected from his college debut at Georgia two weeks ago.
He expected to score – maybe not three times – and he expected to contribute right away.
And he thought it would be a little bit tougher.
“It’s not as hard as I thought it was,” Gurley said Monday after he helped Georgia start the season 2-0, including an SEC East win against Missouri.
Gurley has made running in the Southeastern Conference look pretty easy so far.
In his first game, against Buffalo, Gurley scored three times and rushed for 100 yards. He also returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, something he did consistently at Tarboro .
It was a play that electrified Georgia coach Mark Richt.
“That was fun to watch,” Richt said of Gurley’s kickoff touchdown in Week 1. “… You need a guy with bravery to hit it up in there full speed, the ability to break some arm tackles and the speed to take it to the house. He looks like he will be a pretty good return man.”
When Georgia (2-0, 1-0 SEC) needed the most help, Gurley was there.
At Tarboro, Gurley was the ultimate closer. Routinely, he dominated games in the fourth quarter. In the final quarter of his first two college games, Gurley had 108 yards and two touchdowns on just five carries.
His per carry average jumped from less than five yards in the first three quarters to 21.6 yards per carry in the final 15 minutes.
“It kind of felt like high school all over again,” said Gurley, who credited his teammates for helping him to prepare. “It was pretty exciting, just at the next level.”
So far, it has looked pretty similar.
“Todd did a good job of running the ball,” Georgia receiver Tavarres King said after the Bulldogs’ victory against Buffalo. “The pressure really didn’t get to him. It was like he was just running the ball in practice.”
Gurley made his first career start last week, against Missouri. On his first carry, he fumbled the ball on a toss to the right. Not everything has been perfect so far, but Gurley scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter that put the Bulldogs ahead 34-20, basically sealing the victory.
“That just makes me even better, being in that tight game at first,” Gurley said. “It’s something I’m used to, but it makes me even more used to it. There’s going to be some tight games. … Every team is great in the SEC, so you have to get used to playing in tight games.”
Georgia faces Florida Atlantic on Saturday. It’s another chance for Gurley to shine if he receives his second start of the season. Even if he doesn’t, Gurley seems to understand that he hasn’t arrived just yet.
“There’s always work that needs to be put in,” Gurley said. “You aren’t going to have great games every time.”
Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or email@example.com