Georgia's Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall Are SEC's Best RB Duo Since...

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Georgia's Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall Are SEC's Best RB Duo Since...
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Remember this summer when Isaiah Crowell was arrested on felony weapons charges and the Georgia backfield was littered with question marks?

Freshman phenoms Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall put an end to those questions shortly after toe met leather for Georgia's season opener versus Buffalo.

Gurley currently leads all SEC rushers with 107.2 yards per game. In just five games, Gurley has posted eight rushing plays of 20 or more yards—two more than Crowell had during the 2011 season.

Todd Gurley 51-yard TD run vs. Tennessee

Need we remind you that Crowell won SEC Freshman of the Year honors from the Associated Press that season?

Marshall hasn't been so bad himself, averaging 85.6 rushing yards per game over his first five games, which includes five rushes of 20 or more yards.

Keith Marshall 72-yard TD run vs. Tennessee

The success of Gurley and Marshall has earned the duo the nickname of "Gurshall," according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which is a reference to former Georgia running back and 1982 Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker.

Haven't Georgia fans learned that comparisons to Herschel Walker don't work? 

Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Former Arkansas RB Darren McFadden

Ridiculous comparisons aside, the early-season success of the duo has already established the two as the best young running back pair in the SEC since Darren McFadden and Felix Jones at Arkansas.

The Razorback duo burst onto the scene in 2005 as freshmen. McFadden rushed for 1,113 yards and 11 touchdowns as a freshman, while Jones added 626 yards and three touchdowns of his own.

In this case, the sequel was better than the original. As sophomores, McFadden rushed for 1,647 yards and 14 touchdowns and Jones rushed for 1,168 and six touchdowns in 2006.

In 2007, McFadden topped himself with 1,830 yards and 16 touchdowns en route to his second straight Doak Walker Award and second-place finish in Heisman Trophy voting for the second straight season. Jones wasn't so bad himself, rushing for 1,162 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Darren McFadden and Felix Jones highlights

Both players were fast, physical and possessed the same kind of home run ability that Gurley and Marshall have displayed during their first five games.

Gurley is on pace for 1,286 yards and 22 rushing touchdowns during the regular season as a freshman, while Marshall is headed toward 1,027 yards and 12 touchdowns.

That's pretty strong, regardless of the two cupcakes that appeared on Georgia's September schedule.

Will Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall both rush for more than 1,000 yards in 2012?

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You could make the argument that Alabama's Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson were a more recent dynamic duo, but they never posted 1,000-yard seasons in the same year. In fact, the only season that is comparable is the 2009 season, when Ingram rushed for 1,658 yards and Richardson rushed for 751 yards.

That season still pales in comparison to what McFadden and Jones did in 2006 and 2007.

Aside from those two, you'd probably have to go back to 2004 when Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown led Auburn to an unblemished record and a win in the Sugar Bowl. 

The success of Gurley and Marshall has transformed Georgia's offense from inconsistent to the top offense in the SEC. If they keep this up, we will be talking about these two players in the same sentence with McFadden and Jones for years to come.

 

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