Gurley returns for rival Auburn

Photo by Rob Saye

This Saturday will be the 118th time that Auburn and Georgia will have played each other in football. It has been called ‘The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry’ and it also marks the return of playmaking running back Todd Gurley. Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few weeks, Gurley has been out for the last four weeks for receiving money to sign autographs for numerous memorabilia dealers.

His head coach Mark Richt isn’t passing any judgment on his running back, after he was sat down by the school and NCAA.

“We’re all human,” Richt said. “We all make mistakes. We all blow it sometimes, you know, and no one knows what it’s like to live in his shoes either. So no one’s throwing stones here. We love our teammate.”

Richt also mentioned during his Tuesday press conference, that Gurley is thought of as a great teammate for the way that he treats everyone on the roster. Richt also added that Gurley is indeed the starting running back. He even mentioned as much on his Monday call-in show, saying that Gurley would be on the field the very first offensive play against Auburn. Gurley’s teammates are all happy to have him back on the field for the final three regular season games and beyond. That said, quarterback Hutson Mason also took time this week to think back on the players who stepped in for their leading rusher.

“I think guys just really stepped up,” Mason said. “I think that’s what it came down to. (Nick) Chubb did a phenomenal job of handling 30 carries a game. It seems like we got better in the passing game and made plays where we needed to make plays where we needed to make plays.”

This series between Auburn and Georgia is now sitting at an all-time record of 55-54-8, thanks to last year’s heartbreaking deflection of a fourth and long pass by safeties Tray Matthews and Josh Harvey-Clemons into the hands of Tigers receiver Ricardo Louis. Both Bulldogs are no longer with the program and senior defensive back Damian Swann thinks that loss doesn’t bother this team anymore.

“I think we’ve kind of moved forward,” Swann said. “It’s not a revenge factor. We have a new team from last year. We’ve got new guys.” Swann did add that the way to defend a pass like that is practiced every Thursday. They now bat it down.

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