Nick Chubb couldn’t believe it.
It was halftime of Georgia’s 48-6 win over Southern and the running game was off to more than just a slow start. Through 30 minutes, Georgia had a grand total of 35 rushing yards, with Chubb totaling 31 of them. Chubb wasn’t necessarily counting his yardage total. But he knew something was amiss considering the dominant rushing attack was missing through two quarters.
"We run the ball, that’s what we do," Chubb said. "It’s kind of embarrassing for them to stop our run game. It disrespected us so we came out with a lot of energy and ran the ball right down their throat."
That, the Bulldogs did. Over the final two quarters, the Bulldogs, as a whole, ran for 226 rushing yards, giving them an expected total of 261 for the game. Chubb, who is fifth in the nation with 599 yards and six touchdowns, ran for 100 of his 131 in the third quarter. The offensive line did a much better job opening holes against a Southern team which gave Georgia everything it could handle in the first half.
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At halftime, head coach Mark Richt told his team it was losing the battle up front. He made it an emphasis to tell the offensive line it needed to execute better to help out the backs.
"I challenged our line at halftime," Richt said. "Our backs were slamming into trash. There was no space. We weren’t controlling the line like we’re used to. Once we got space for the backs, good things happened. The whole key was when the line took over."
When the Bulldogs took the field in the third quarter, Chubb became a bit more vocal than he normally is.
"He came into the huddle in the second half and talked to us a little bit," right guard Greg Pyke said. "He told us to hold our blocks up and he'll take care of the rest. He pretty much did."
Left tackle John Theus said offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer let the line hear it some, too.
"Coach Schotty came out here and challenged our physicality, and said we’re going to run the ball until they stop us," Theus said. "We took it as a challenge. We knew we weren’t playing as well as we should have. We came out in the second half and took that first drive, trying to set the tone."
Georgia's offensive line knows it will have to play much better through four quarters this week against a tough Alabama front seven. The Crimson Tide are holding teams to an average of under two yards per rush.
Theus said he and the rest of the line will take a look at the Southern film and make the necessary corrections. It's on the guys up front, he said, to make sure there's enough space for the running backs to make plays.
"If we give those backs a little bit of a hole, they’re going to hit it," Theus said.