Who's Better of Georgia's Star Freshmen RBs: Todd Gurley or Keith Marshall?

Ian BergCorrespondent ISeptember 29, 2012

September 29, 2012; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley (3) celebrates a touchdown run in the first half against the Tennessee Volunteers at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

The Georgia offense has been unstoppable this season. The 561 yards that the Georgia Bulldogs racked up Saturday showed that. The Bulldogs continued to utilize a running back duo that has taken over college football in the past few weeks, but which back is better?

Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall have been all-stars for the Bulldogs with little change coming when they are exchanged in the rotation.

Both backs carry the ball with power and speed. Both Gurley and Marshall have received near-equal carries through the first five weeks of football. They also have long rushes of over 50 yards. Gurley has a long of 55, while Marshall has a long of 72. Marshall had two long runs in the Tennessee game, with his season long coming in the contest.

If not for the jersey numbers, these backs would be seemingly indistinguishable.

With so many similarities, the numbers eventually separate the talents. While both stars carry the football with tenacity and command, Todd Gurley has been the better of the two backs, but the Tennessee game may have changed things.

Keith Marshall was the higher ranked of the two coming out of high school, but Marshall and Gurley are on the same level.

Gurley has had four games with over 100 yards, and has scored a touchdown in every game the Bulldogs have played. Marshall has mustered two games with over 100 yards.

Through the first five games of the season, Keith Marshall has 428 yards on 52 carries, giving him a 8.2 yards-per-carry average. Marshall also has five touchdowns on the season.

Todd Gurley has 535 rushing yards on 68 carries. Gurley has a 7.8 yards-per-carry average and has nine touchdowns on the season.

Both backs have been virtually nonexistent in the passing game, but with the downfield threats that the Bulldogs possess on offense, that comes as no surprise. They did have a few key catches in the Tennessee game, but it is still rare to see the ball dumped to the backs.

As the season progresses for Georgia, both backs will continue to develop and feed off of each other’s success. The Bulldogs have been reliant on the rushing attack early in the season as it has provided Aaron Murray with a safety net on offense. It has not been a free-for-all on the Bulldogs quarterback.

There were some key mistakes in the Tennessee game that led to the Volunteers staying with the Bulldogs. A big fumble by Keith Marshall led to a Tennessee score that gave the Vols the lead late in the second quarter.

Forget the mistakes, the Bulldogs' backfield is loaded.

At this point they are hard to separate, but the style that Todd Gurley brings to the offense is what gives him the edge. He has the speed of Marshall, but he has an edgier style of play. Gurley likes contact, and it is fun to watch.

With these two backs, the Georgia offense appears complete. Georgia is in position to drive to Atlanta for the second time in two years, and these two backs will be a big part of the ride.