Chubb runs for 222 yards, Ge­or­gia beats UNC 33-24

The Standard Journal - - SPORTS - By PAUL NEWBERRY

AT­LANTA (AP) — Nick Chubb left no doubt. He’s fully re­cov­ered from that grotesque knee in­jury.

Less than 10 months after go­ing down on a play that’s still tough to watch, Chubb ran for 222 yards and a pair of touch­downs to lead No. 18 Ge­or­gia to a 33-24 vic­tory over No. 22 North Carolina in Kirby Smart’s coach­ing de­but Satur­day night.

Look­ing just as dom­i­nant as he did be­fore his in­jury, Chubb car­ried a stag­ger­ing 32 times and clinched the Chick-fil-A Kick­off Game vic­tory for Ge­or­gia (1-0) on a 55-yard run with 3 1-2 min­utes left in the game.

“That dude doesn’t stop,” moaned North Carolina de­fen­sive line­man Nazair Jones.

Chubb said he never doubted his abil­ity to re­cap­ture the form that made him a Heis­man con­tender be­fore a tackle at Ten­nessee mid­way through last sea­son caused his left knee to buckle in the wrong di­rec­tion, an in­jury that looked so bad some won­dered if it might be ca­reer end­ing. No way. “I felt good the whole game,” Chubb said. “Give me the ball. I know we have a great team.”

Ge­or­gia also got some promis­ing play from fresh­man quar­ter­back Ja­cob Ea­son , who didn’t start but was on the field as the Bull­dogs ral­lied from a 24-14 deficit in the sec­ond half.

North Carolina (0-1) ripped off 17 straight points, in­clud­ing a pair of touch­downs by T.J. Lo­gan that in­cluded a 95-yard kick­off re­turn to start the sec­ond half.

Then, a pair of pass in­ter­fer­ence penal­ties on fresh­man cor­ner­back Pa­trice Rene set up a touch­down that got Ge­or­gia back in the game, and two more penal­ties — one an un­sports­man­like con­duct call on coach Larry Fe­dora — backed up the Tar Heels deep in their own ter­ri­tory, lead­ing to a safety when Eli­jah Hood caught a short pass in the end zone and was quickly knocked down.

“We got the penalty on a line­man down­field. I was ques­tion­ing the call. The guy didn’t like what I said, so he threw a flag on me,” Fe­dora said. “That’s no­body’s fault but mine.”

Fifth- year se­nior Greyson Lam­bert started at quar­ter­back for Ge­or­gia, but Ea­son — a touted fresh­man Ge­or­gia fans were clam­or­ing to see — hooked up with Isa­iah McKen­zie on a 51-yard pass that set up Wil­liam Ham’s go-ahead, 29-yard field goal with 5:27 re­main­ing.

Smart, the long­time Alabama de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor, was coach­ing a team of his own for the first time. He was hired after the Bull­dogs dumped Mark Richt, who wound up at Mi­ami after 15 years lead­ing Ge­or­gia.

“It felt re­ally weird,” Smart said, chuck­ling. “A com­edy of er­rors. I had to flip over on my head­phones, try­ing to fig­ure out who I was talk­ing to. That was dif­fer­ent for me. I was try­ing to find the spe­cial teams. I didn’t feel like I was coach­ing my play­ers, which I al­ways felt was my best as­set. It was a unique experience for me that I will build on

and learn from.”

Ge­or­gia’s QB ques­tion

Ea­son looks poised to take over the Ge­or­gia quar­ter­back job, but Smart isn’t ready to make the call just yet.

The fresh­man was 8 of 12 for 131 yards and a touch­down, while Lam­bert went 5 of 8 for 54 yards. The fifth-year se­nior also was sacked three times.

“There is no plan right now,” said Smart, who didn’t name a starter un­til two days be­fore the game. “I’m sure all you guys (in the me­dia) will want to know who’s go­ing to start the next game, and we’ll start it all over again.”

The take­away

The play of Chubb and Ea­son gives the Bull­dogs plenty of rea­son to feel hope­ful about con­tend­ing in the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence East, es­pe­cially after a shaky show­ing by fa­vored Ten­nessee in its sea­son opener. When run­ning back Sony Michel re­turns from a bro­ken left fore­arm sus­tained in an ATV ac­ci­dent — and he sure looked good in pregame warmups — the Bull­dogs will have an­other of­fen­sive weapon.

Poll im­pli­ca­tions

The Bull­dogs should move up a spot and could jump a cou­ple of teams that beat lesser op­po­nents in Week 1.

Up next

The Bull­dogs take big step down in com­pe­ti­tion when they host FCS school Ni­cholls State be­tween the hedges.

Cur­tis Comp­ton/At­lanta Jour­nal-Con­sti­tu­tion via AP

Ge­or­gia tail back Nick Chubb stiff arms North Carolina safety Do­minique Green on a run dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter of an NCAA col­lege foot­ball game in At­lanta, Satur­day, Sept. 3, 2016.

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