Georgia's freshmen running backs have been really fun to watch this season. They've owned the ground game for the Bulldogs and have helped Georgia's offense be much more balanced than it has been in the past.
But the stats pumped out by Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall don't tell the whole story. They're also helping Georgia's wide receivers get more opportunities to face defenders one-on-one. It's a receiver's dream, and the Bulldogs' wideouts are loving it.
With how much defenses have to pay attention to Gurley and Marshall, who have combined for 964 yards and 14 touchdowns, Georgia wide receiver Michael Bennett said it makes defenses extremely honest. Linebackers and safeties are playing closer to the line, making the play-action key to Georgia's game plan.
Forcing more defenders in the box has given Bennett and his teammates more chances to take on cornerbacks one-on-one, which is something Bennett says is a major advantage for the Bulldogs.
"We know we can break them off when they’re in our face and we showed that [Saturday]," Bennett said following Georgia's 51-44 win against Tennessee.
Against Tennessee, four Georgia receivers combined for 14 catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Bennett collected five of those receptions for 70 yards and both touchdowns.
On the season, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray has had a field day with his receivers. Bennett and fellow wideouts Marlon Brown and Tavarres King have combined to catch 57 passes for 924 yards and 10 touchdowns. Each is averaging more than 60 yards per game, and Bennett hopes to see that sort of balance at wide receiver continue.
To him, getting in one-on-one situations more will make Georgia's passing game that much tougher to stop, but it starts up front. He needs the running backs to take extra players out of the equation, so Georgia's receivers can take care of the rest in situations Bennett said the Bulldogs have the advantage in.
"We’re good enough as receivers to get open when it’s one-on-one coverage, and we make it happen," he said.