On a night when Georgia lost its senior quarterback and a senior receiver to injury the young guys were more than capable of bringing it home for the good guys, grinding Louisville down in the stretch run to prevail 37-14 on a chilly Charlotte.
Nick Chubb did what he's done so often this year, running strong in the second half behind an offensive line that gained the upper hand on Louisville as the night wore on. The Ground Hound from Cedartown finished with a career high 266 yards on 33 carries, bringing his season total to 1547 yards and breaking the Georgia bowl rushing record. That 1547 yards is the fourth most in a season in Bulldog history, and the most ever by a player not named Herschel Walker, which is pretty special given that Chubb didn't actually start until the sixth game of the season and only started seven total games. Chubb's 7.1 yard per carry average on the season also set a new Bulldog record.
Looking ahead, I would be shocked if Chubb isn't among the Heisman front runners going into 2015. Please, please do not let him autograph anything for you, and if he does do not give him anything of value in exchange. I beseech you. Sony Michel chipped in 31 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, but also had another bad fumble. It will be interesting to see how he, Brendan Douglas, and a hopefully healthy Keith Marshall split carries behind Chubb.
Hutson Mason was his usual workmanlike self, completing 10 of 15 passes for a touchdown before going down with a suspected concussion in the second quarter. In the process he locked up the UGA all-time single season completion percentage record. Mason completed 67.8% of his throws in 2014, eclipsing the 65% completed by one Michael Roscoe Bobo*.
He gave way to redshirt freshman Brice Ramsey, who may have looked more like a freshman than he had all season. Ramsey was 4 of 9 and three a pick on his first attempt when he threw a solid 3/4 of a second too late to Malcolm Mitchell and gave the defender time to recover and make a play on the ball. I still think he may be our best bet going into 2015, but he has a good bit of work to do (though he settled in and made a couple of nice throws to convert third downs). Like Hutson Mason before him, Brice Ramsey could be made to look much better if he's told to turn around and hand it to #27 early and often.
The real star of the evening, however, may have been the Bulldog defense. Sure they gave up 380 yards, including 315 through the air. But they also forced 3 turnovers, seemingly when they needed them most. The unit will now turn to replacing several seniors who really stepped up this season to make Jeremy Pruitt's first season a lot smoother. From Herrera and Wilson, to Swann, Drew, and Thornton, this defense has some serious shoe-filling to do.
The win locked up Mark Richt's ninth 10 win season at the helm in Athens. He can now turn to a pivotal offseason of finding an offensive coordinator, rebuilding his strength program, and holding together the best recruiting class of his tenure in Athens. Because 2015 is here already, and there's no rest for the weary. Don't believe those dumb rumors that he'll step down in the next few days. Mark Richt is getting ready for next season, and soon it will be time for you to do the same. Thanks for enjoying another football season with us here at Dawg Sports. We couldn't have done it without you. Until later...
* Is Mike Bobo's middle name Roscoe? Of course not. But he ain't flying back from Colorado to correct me.