ATHENS – The “Gurshall” phenomenon continues to grow.
That is the nickname Georgia receiver Tavarres King coined for the freshman tailback tandem of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, combining syllables from their last names to rhyme with the first name of Georgia’s greatest tailback — Herschel Walker.
“At first it was just a little thing, but now it’s getting big,” Gurley said. “I guess everybody knows about it. We just try to come out there and play our game and try to be like nobody else. But it’s a cool thing.”
Marshall acknowledged “Gurshall” has gotten a lot of attention, especially on social media, “but we try not to focus on that. We try to focus on every day at practice, getting better and not letting that stuff go to your head.”
Through five games, the “Gurshall” tandem has accounted for 964 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns — 536 yards and nine touchdowns by Gurley, 428 yards and five touchdowns by Marshall.
And if you’re wondering, Walker had 463 yards rushing and five touchdowns in his first five college games back in 1980. He finished that season with an NCAA freshman-record 1,616 yards rushing and finished his three-year UGA career with 5,259.
Gurley and Marshall will get by far their biggest test Saturday against a South Carolina defense that has allowed only 77.6 rushing yards per game and only two rushing touchdowns this season.
“Watching film on them, they are a great defense,” Marshall said. “So this should be a good matchup.”
Noting that South Carolina ranks No. 2 among SEC teams (behind only Alabama) in scoring defense, Gurley said: “Numbers don’t lie.”
Lattimore … again
Georgia’s defense gets a third attempt at slowing Marcus Lattimore on Saturday and hopes for a lot more success than in the first two.
South Carolina’s powerful tailback ran for 358 yards on 64 carries in two previous games against Georgia, 182 on 37 as a freshman and 176 on 27 last season. He returned this season after knee surgery (torn ACL) sidelined him the final six games of last season.
“We played him well last year up until the fourth quarter, and then he had a couple of big runs,” Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “We’ve got to understand that we’ve got to play four quarters on him. … I’ve got a lot of respect for him. … He plays that position the way you should play it.”
Lattimore is averaging 88 rushing yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry this season. He topped 20 carries in each of South Carolina’s first three SEC games and surpassed 100 rushing yards in two of them. He also has caught 16 passes, most on the team.
“I think we just have to gang tackle him,” Georgia cornerback Sanders Commings said. “Everybody has to play their assignments, and once one guy gets a hat on him, then two, three and four more just got to bring that guy down.”
Georgia announced the kickoff time for its Nov. 17 home game against Georgia Southern: 1:30 p.m. TV arrangements “are still being finalized,” the school said. … Aaron Murray’s next touchdown pass will tie David Greene’s UGA career record of 72. … Michael Bennett’s season-ending knee injury hasn’t changed Georgia’s plan to redshirt freshman receiver Blake Tibbs. … Amarlo Herrera is expected to start at the “Mike” inside linebacker position Saturday. He shifted to that spot after Alec Ogletree’s return from suspension last week at the “Mo” position. “He’s earned the right to play,” Grantham said of Herrera. “We’ll stick with it and continue to work it.” Michael Gilliard and Christian Robinson also remain in the playing-time mix at inside linebacker.
– Tim Tucker
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