Without Gurley, Georgia carries on

Georgia players held up three fingers in solidarity with the suspended running back.

The support came in text messages.

Friday, before No. 13 Georgia beat No. 23 Missouri at Memorial Stadium, Georgia freshman running back Nick Chubb typed out messages to Todd Gurley.

Gurley, the Bulldogs’ star junior running back, was suspended indefinitely Thursday during an ongoing investigation into a possible violation of NCAA rules, and didn’t travel with the team to Columbia.

“I can’t do what you do,” Chubb texted Gurley, who came into the weekend as the Southeastern Conference’s leading rusher.

“Just be Nick Chubb,” Gurley replied.

Chubb was enough Saturday, when he ran for 143 yards and a touchdown, helping the Bulldogs to a 34-0 win.

And if Gurley, who allegedly accepted money in exchange for his autographs, is out for longer, the Bulldogs said they’ll continue to have enough.

“We had a chip on our shoulder — as far as, we don’t have Todd, and the whole world thinks that the world is falling apart,” Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason said. “We kind of took it upon ourselves that we need to show everybody else that there’s 10 other guys on offense making this thing go and 11 other guys on defense.”

For his part, Mason completed 22 of 28 passes, managing an offense that posted the most points on Missouri’s defense of any team this season.

“He took care of business,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said of Mason.

The Bulldogs’ four touchdowns were each recorded by different players. Chubb, Mason and running back Brendan Douglas each ran in scores. Wide receiver Michael Bennett caught a ball in the corner of the end zone to make the score 20-0 at the half.

With Gurley unavailable, Chubb ran the ball 38 times and caught it another four. Coming into the game, Chubb had 31 carries all season.

“(The coaches) told me early it might be 45 (carries), but I thought they were joking,” Chubb said. “I found out they weren’t joking at all.”

Richt said he didn’t know for certain that Gurley would be suspended indefinitely until the day it happened. After the game Saturday, he didn’t want to talk about the suspension.

The Georgia players did.

As Bulldog fans in the southwest corner of Memorial Stadium celebrated the win, Georgia players made their way under the stadium stands holding up three fingers.

“Free Todd Gurley,” some of them said.

Chubb said he would check his phone later to see what Gurley had to say about his performance. The freshman was sure Gurley’s thoughts would be “something crazy.”

As Chubb made his way toward the Georgia bus, he was greeted by a crowd of fans.

One man, wearing a Bulldogs hat and Georgia hoodie, clutched a football with white panels filled with signatures. He asked Chubb to sign it.

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