The year of Todd Gurley is here, and the Georgia Bulldogs are here with it. The No. 12 Bulldogs made relatively easy work of the visiting No. 16 Clemson Tigers Saturday night, riding four total touchdowns and a school-record 293 all-purpose yards from their star running back to a 45-21 victory.
The two teams traded touchdowns early, heading into halftime tied 21-21. From there, the Bulldogs took over, completely shutting out the Tigers offense in the second half and utilizing their deep backfield to run for more than 300 yards.
The biggest play in the first half? This 100-yard kick return for a touchdown, courtesy of Gurley.
He wasn't the only Bulldog running back running all over the Tiger defense: true freshman Nick Chubb sealed the victory with a powerful 47-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth.
On Georgia's next play from scrimmage, Gurley ran 51 yards up the right side for another score.
Three things we learned
1. Todd Gurley is the best player in the SEC. Four total touchdowns, the aforementioned school record in all-purpose yards and 13.2 yards per carry? Gurley simply looked unstoppable against the Tigers, and it's hard to think of anyone who can stop him. He's not the only weapon in the Bulldogs' backfield, either -- true freshmen Nick Chubb (four rushes, 70 yards) and Sony Michel (six rushes, 33 yards) lived up to their blue-chip billing and give them some impressive options to spell their star.
2. There could be a quarterback controversy at Clemson. Cole Stoudt's first career start did not go so well. The Georgia defense repeatedly bothered him in the backfield, forcing a number of poor throws (including one interception). The senior finished the day 15-of-28 for 130 yards with an interception.
Meanwhile, true freshman Deshaun Watson saw limited snaps but made the most of them, averaging 14.8 yards per pass attempt. The top dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2014, Watson ran for seven yards on his first collegiate play before completing two of four passes for 59 yards and the game-tying touchdown.
3. Georgia is a strong favorite in the SEC East. South Carolina got blown out in its opener and has major weaknesses, while Missouri struggled with FCS South Dakota State. Florida is the only other team with the talent to compete, but until we see the Gators put up points we're going to pump the brakes on that one.