ATHENS — Three different Georgia players earned with player of the week honors from the SEC because of their performances against Tennessee this past weekend.
Tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall actually shared the SEC Freshman of the Week award with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny “Football” Manziel. According to the SEC’s Charles Bloom, it’s the first time the league has bestowed an award on three individuals.
Meanwhile, senior cornerback Sanders Commings was named Defensive Player of the Week. He, too, shared his award. Ole Miss linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche of Grayson also was honored for his defensive play.
This is the third freshman honor for Gurley and first for Marshall. The roommates combined for 294 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns in Georgia’s 51-44 win over Tennessee ton Saturday.
Gurley, a Tarboro, N.C., native, ran 24 times for 130 yards, which tied his career high, and scored three touchdowns, including a 51-yard scoring run, against Tennessee. It was Gurley’s fourth game over 100 yards in his five collegiate contests. He is leading the SEC in four categories, including rushing (107.2 ypg) and scoring (60 points).
Marshall exploded for a career-high 164 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries (16.4 avg.) against the Volunteers. It Marshall’s second 100-yard game of his career is the biggest rushing output for Georgia since Washaun Ealey racked up 183 yards versus Georgia Tech in 2009. Marshall’s scoring runs were 75 and 72 yards.
It was the first SEC weekly award of Commings’ career. The 6-foot-2, 217-pound senior from Augusta tallied five tackles — including four solos — and had a pair of interceptions in the final six minutes of the game to help thwart Tennessee’s comeback attempt. His first pick came with the Bulldogs up a touchdown with six minutes left with the ball near midfield. Commings then intercepted quarterback Tyler Bray again with seven seconds left to clinch the victory for Georgia. It marked the first time a Georgia had two picks in a game since Bacarri Rambo recorded a pair against Ole Miss last season. Commings helped anchor a defense that held Tennessee to just 14 points in the second half after the Volunteers scored 30 in the first two quarters.
No. 5 Georgia (5-0, 3-0 SEC) travels to Columbia, S.C., on Saturday to take on No. 6 South Carolina (5-0, 3-0). The 7 p.m. game will be televised by ESPN.