Troy (0-3) at #13 Georgia (1-1)
ATHENS — Perhaps Georgia's depth at tailback didn't take an immediate hit after all when freshman Nick Chubb had surgery on Monday to repair his fractured left thumb.
Coach Mark Richt said Tuesday he hasn't crossed Chubb off his list of running backs for No. 13 Georgia's game against Troy on Saturday.
"I don't know how much he will practice this week, but if he wakes up Saturday morning and feels good he'll remember how to run a sweep or a stretch or a zone play, so I wouldn't be shocked to see him play," Richt said.
Chubb is the Bulldogs' second-leading rusher behind Todd Gurley. Though Gurley is the established star of the unit, Chubb and another freshman, Sony Michel, have helped provide enviable depth at tailback for Georgia (1-1).
Chubb has 104 yards rushing, including a 47-yarder in the season-opening win over Clemson.
There will be even more depth when Keith Marshall fully recovers from the right knee surgery which ended his 2013 season.
Richt said he expects "some nice runs" this week from Marshall, who has only 10 yards rushing through two games.
Marshall ran for 759 yards and eight touchdowns as a freshman in 2012. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee against Tennessee on Oct. 5, 2013.
Richt said Marshall has had bad luck finding running room so far this season.
"It seems like every time he's gotten the ball there hasn't been a lot of space," Richt said. "He hasn't had room to go anywhere. Sometimes it's the luck of the draw when you get the ball handed to you, but sooner or later there's going to be some space for him when he gets it and I think he'll do well."
Gurley already has 329 yards rushing and four touchdowns, including 131 yards with a touchdown in last week's 38-35 loss at South Carolina.
Troy (0-3) will be making its first visit to Sanford Stadium since 2007, when Knowshon Moreno, now with the NFL Miami Dolphins, was Georgia's star running back. Troy coach Larry Blakeney said Gurley is so good he should be compared with the Bulldogs' greatest back of all, Herschel Walker.
"I think Knowshon has proved his worth in the NFL, but this guy (Gurley) reminds me more of a guy nobody will forget at Georgia, and that's Herschel," Blakeney said Monday. "I think he's in that class."
Georgia tight end Jay Rome said Chubb and Michel showed early in preseason practice they could make an immediate impact.
"It was a great feeling," Rome said. "We saw real early in camp that both Sony and Nick were great running backs, almost the spitting image of Todd and Keith when they were younger."
Fullback Quayvon Hicks, who had 30 yards rushing with a touchdown against South Carolina, said the depth at tailback is Georgia's big edge.
"It's great because if one goes down there's no slack between the others," Hicks said. "They're all different backs but they're all capable of making plays. I trust every one of them, regardless of the experience. ... They give us an edge as an offense. They make it hard for defenses to scheme for us."
The big question this week has been why Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo didn't rely on Gurley and the running game with the game on the line against South Carolina. Georgia had a first down at the South Carolina 4 with 5:24 remaining. Instead of giving Gurley the ball, Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason looked to pass and drew a 10-yard intentional grounding penalty.
Ultimately, Marshall Morgan was wide right on a 28-yard field goal.
"It's like any other play call," Hicks said. "If we would have scored a touchdown it would have been the greatest play in history. We didn't, so now it's the worst play you could ever call."