Not since Herschel Walker plowed through opposing teams’ defenses has Georgia seen a performance like it did Tuesday night.
Despite the loss of its starting quarterback to injury late in the second quarter, No. 13 Georgia literally ran away from No. 20 Louisville for a 37-14 victory in the Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium.
Bulldogs freshman Nick Chubb carried most of the workload and set a Georgia postseason and Belk Bowl record with 266 yards rushing on 33 carries. He scored two touchdowns.
Chubb’s 266 yards were the second-most in Georgia history behind Walker, who ran for 283 yards in 1980 against Vanderbilt.
“Nick did a beautiful job, obviously, but he couldn’t do it by himself. He showed everyone in the country once again that he’s a very talented young man,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said.
“He kind of minds his own business and goes about his business in a very positive way.”
Chubb, a 5-foot-11, 228-pound tailback from Cedartown, Ga., was named winner of the game’s Jerry Richardson Most Valuable Player award. His 82-yard gain in the third quarter also set a Belk Bowl record for longest rushing play.
“I’ve done a lot in high school but this is a whole different level,” he said. “This is great momentum for this team and for everyone coming back next year. It’s been a great season.”
With the win by Georgia (10-3), the SEC is 4-1 in bowls so far this season.
As the clock ticked down, the significant contingent of Georgia fans broke into a loud chant of “SEC, SEC!”
“It’s a very tough league and when you win in this league, you know you’ve done something very special,” Richt said.
“This game is very similar to the type of season we had in terms of losing some key people and other guys having to step up and make plays and continue to fight.”
Chubb’s performance helped Georgia remain on track after it lost starting quarterback Hutson Mason in the second quarter.
Mason completed 10 of 15 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown as the Bulldogs took a 20-7 lead midway through the second quarter before he left for the locker room with what was later described as vision issues.
Mason’s backup, freshman Brice Ramsey, got off to a shaky start, throwing an interception on his first play of the game.
He settled down in the second half as Georgia’s running game took over.
The second half started inauspiciously for both teams.
Sony Michel fumbled on the Bulldogs’ first possession. Then Dominick Sanders intercepted Louisville quarterback Kyle Bolin on the Cardinals’ first possession of the half.
The Cardinals (9-4) finally put together a sustained drive in the third quarter, capped by a 6-yard touchdown run by Brandon Radcliff to cut Georgia’s lead to 27-14.
Louisville, playing its first season in the ACC, saw another good opportunity to score end midway through the fourth quarter when Georgia picked off Bolin a second time with less than nine minutes to play.
“We got beat by a very good football team,” Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said. “Georgia did a great job of running the football and we couldn’t get off the field on third downs.
“Offensively, we never had any consistency and weren’t able to get into a rhythm. I think our young quarterbacks learned that when you call plays and somebody’s covered, you got to throw the ball away.”
Louisville quarterbacks Bolin and Reggie Bonnafon combined for three interceptions. Bolin, who saw most of the action, finished with 300 yards passing, completing 20 of 40 passes with the two interceptions.
“Certainly our quarterbacks will learn a lot from looking at video from this game,” Petrino said.