The tailback shared SEC freshman of the week honors with Alabama’s T.J Yeldon Monday after Gurley’s showing in a 45-23 win over Buffalo on Saturday. No Georgia player has won or shared that award after their first game since its inception.
“What an outstanding football player,” Buffalo coach Jeff Quinn said Monday. “We didn’t know exactly what we were going to get there. Coach (Mark) Richt was very pleased with his performance, a very explosive football player.”
The 6-foot-1, 218-pound Gurley rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries, and returned a kickoff 100 yards for another touchdown. Brandon Boykin has the other three 100-yard kickoff returns in program history.
Gurley, a Tarboro, N.C., product was the first Georgia freshman since Danny Ware in 2004 to reach 100 yards in their Bulldogs debut.
“Obviously he impressed me as a runner and he’s been impressing me and the rest of our staff and the team in how he’s doing,” Richt said. “He’s got a knack for breaking tackles and he’s got more speed than you’d think for a big man.”
Said Quinn: “I think a lot of people are going to have to gear up. Anytime’s the ball in his hands, he’s obviously a very explosive player. They’ve got a good one there.”
Malcome expects to play, Richt upbeat on Theus
Tailback Ken Malcolme’s sprained left wrist was in a cast on Monday, but the redshirt sophomore practiced without limitations and said he expects to play against Missouri.
“Out there, I caught the ball and ran,” said Malcome, who started the opener and rushed for 32 yards on six carries.. “I feel like I’ll be able to play.”
Cornerback Malcolm Mitchell, who missed the Buffalo game and was on crutches Saturday, is listed as limited with a left ankle sprain.
“He might have done a little scout team work, but he was out there doing some pre-practice stuff with (director of sports medicine) Ron Courson,” Richt said on his call-in radio show Monday night. “I’m feeling pretty comfortable we can get a few guys back that weren’t able to play this last game.”
Starting right offensive tackle John Theus didn’t practice Monday due to a sprained left ankle.
“I think he’s doing better,” guard Chris Burnette.
Top backup offensive lineman Watts Dantzler also missed practice with a sprained left ankle.
“I think there’s a good chance those guys will be able to play,” Richt said.
Receiver Marlon Brown (strained hamstring) and running back Richard Samuel (hip contusion) are listed as limited.
Richt said Brown practiced on Monday.
Buffalo running back Branden “Bo” Oliver’s 111 rushing yards Saturday put him in some rare company recently against Georgia.
“We did a little research,” Quinn said. “There was only one player last year, one running back all last year that had more than 100 yards rushing (against Georgia) and that was the South Carolina running back.”
Marcus Lattimore rushed for 176 yards in the 45-42 Gamecocks. Oliver also topped the century mark on a day he had 30 carries.
“That runner was legit,” Richt said. “He had 1,400 yards rushing (last year). When you watched the tape, you knew that if you gave him a little bit of space he was going to be able to take advantage of it.”
“Bo and the offensive line did a great job,” Quinn said. “Bo reached over 100 yards and we were close to 200 yards rushing, we were 100 percent in the red zone in scoring.”
Norman on first game: `Decent’
Former walk-on safety Connor Norman started in place of suspended Bacarri Rambo in the opener and except for one missed tackle in space, Richt liked what he saw.
“He does a great job of knowing what to do, getting lined up,” Richt said. “He is a sure-tackler when he fits up into the responsibilities of doing that. I think he’s got good ball-skills too. We like what he’s doing.”
Norman characterized his play on Saturday as “decent.”
“It’s a big change for me to be out there starting and playing every play,” he said. “It was hot Saturday. I was obviously nervous. I feel like that’s expected because you’re playing around such great guys out there. I feel like I need to step up my game when I’m playing too because I’m playing around such great players.”
Georgia hasn’t said if Rambo is suspended again Saturday for a second violation of Georgia’s drug policy.
This and that
Missouri is listing right offensive guard Jack Meiners (knee) and middle linebacker Will Ebner (neck) as questionable for Saturday. “I’ll be on the field Saturday,” Ebner told the Kansas City Star.
Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was off limits for interviews after his comment referring to Georgia’s offense as “old man football.” Missouri spokesman Chad Moller said Monday: “He’s on vacation from media today.”.
Saturday’s Georgia captains: quarterback Aaron Murray, receiver Tavarres King, linebacker Jarvis Jones and special teamer Kosta Vavlas.
Joe Tessitore, Matt Millen and Quint Kessinich are calling the Georgia-Missouri game Saturday night on ESPN2.