ATHENS – Georgia’s first night game at home this season was a wake-up call in many forms. One that stood out among the others was the performance of true freshman tailback Keith Marshall. Marshall in a way has become the forgotten freshman after the emergence of his roommate, and fellow North Carolina native, Todd Gurley.
But Marshall stepped up Saturday against Florida Atlantic as he rushed for 104 yards on 10 carries, both highs in his freshman campaign. Late in the first quarter, Marshall had his first career touchdown with Georgia. The 2-yard run moved Georgia back into the lead for the second time at 14-7. “It was a great feeling,” Marshall said of the touchdown. “I just got the ball and put my head down and got to the goal line." Marshall and Gurley both eclipsed 100 yards, the first time a duo of freshman tailbacks has achieved the feat in the same game in eight years. The previous pair to do so was Thomas Brown and Danny Ware. “I think it means we did a great job,” Marshall said. “Todd did a great job, too. Hopefully we keep it going and get better. We feed off each other and push each other each and every day in practice.” Gurley agreed.
“That’s good right there for both of us to get 100 yards,” he said. “If we can do that every game, then hopefully the outcome will be a win." Both were quick to give credit to their offensive line. “The line did a great job,” Marshall said. “We had a ridiculous amount of yards offensively so that’s a good job by them.” “The offense we just came out and were hitting it,” Gurley said. “We felt good.” Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo enjoyed Marshall and Gurley’s play but also Ken Malcome’s.
“I liked that our running backs got a chance to score every time they touched the ball and getting explosive plays in the run game," Bobo said. “You've got competition there. You have competition (at tailback) not only in games but in practices, too.” Georgia head coach Mark Richt added it was "wonderful" having his two true freshmen surpass 100 yards. “It was probably what they envisioned because they are good friends,” Richt said. “They wanted to play together and complement each other with their abilities. They’re probably thinking their plan is going pretty good so far.”