Saturday was senior day in Athens. It was the last game for the Georgia seniors between the hedges at Sanford Stadium.
The ceremony honoring the seniors is always great, with the parents also being recognized. This year’s senior day was different, even more special than usual. This year, two players were honored who should never be forgotten in Georgia’s history.
Nick Chubb and Sony Michel will leave Georgia in a few months near the top of many records. The two running backs are not finished, but their work so far may be hard to beat for future running backs in Athens.
In fact, after Herschel Walker, there’s Chubb and Michel. Think about that for a minute.
For years, Georgia fans wondered if there would ever be another Walker. It’s doubtful. He was one of a kind. Will this program ever find another combination like Chubb and Michel? It’s doubtful.
They, too, are one of a kind. We saw that again Saturday.
In the first half against Kentucky, Georgia was up 21-6 and of the 231 offensive yards Georgia had, 99 came from Chubb (7 carries, 31 yards) and Michel (7-68).
The duo kept it up in the second half. Chubb had 120 more yards and Michel added 19 yards. Chubb’s long 55-yard touchdown sealed the victory early in the 4th quarter. At the end, Chubb (15-151) and Michel (12-87) had accounted for 238 of Georgia’s 504 offensive yards.
We’ve always believed no one would ever catch Walker, who had 5,259 yards in his three years. Chubb won’t be so far away by the time he’s finished, and remember, Chubb didn’t become a starter until midway through his freshman year and then missed most of his sophomore season with the knee injury.
Chubb is now at 4,469 career rushing yards. With 81 more yards in his remaining games, Michel (now at 3,204) will pass Todd Gurley (3,285) for third place in Georgia’s history for career rushing yards.
To have two kids come in the same year and become the second and third-best running backs, at least statistically, in Georgia’s history is incredible.
Georgia had a lull for a few years in the running game. Between Knowshon Moreno’s two years (2007-2008) and when Gurley came in 2012, backs like Washaun Ealey, Caleb King and Isaiah Crowell did not get it done. Things changed when Gurley became a star, and once again Georgia was called “Running Back U.”
Chubb and Michel just kept it going.
Chubb has been the power back, running over people like Walker did in his day. To think of how Chubb has regained his speed and ability following the awful injury he had in Tennessee two years ago is incredible. He seems almost as good now as he was then.
Michel has been the elusive fast back who no one could catch. When Chubb needed a breather, there was no worry that Michel would not fill in admirably.
The duo could simply have not been better together. They didn’t duplicate each other, but instead complimented one another perfectly.
Some have whispered Georgia might be just fine next year, with D’Andre Swift and incoming freshmen Zamir White and James Cook, both five-star prospects. Well, if two of that trio can be anywhere close to how good Chubb and Michel have been, Georgia will have an excellent chance at being successful the next several years.
As this season winds down, we should all appreciate what we’ve seen the last four years. There may never be a better duo than Chubb and Michel, and it’s been historic to watch.
Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on “Middle Georgia’s ESPN” – 93.1 FM in Macon and 99.5 FM in Warner Robins. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.