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Todd Gurley vs. Sony Michel: Who was the better Georgia running back?
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Todd Gurley vs. Sony Michel: Who was the better Georgia running back?

Todd Gurley vs. Sony Michel: Who was the better Georgia running back?

Todd Gurley vs. Sony Michel: Who was the better Georgia running back?

Welcome to Good Day, UGA , your one-stop shop for Georgia footballnews and takes. Check us out every weekday morning for everything you need to know about Georgia football, recruiting, basketball and more.

Todd Gurley and Sony Michel differ on the third-best running back in Georgia history

Sony Michel and Todd Gurley both agreed. On recent interviews with Adam Lefkoe of Bleacher Report, the two both stated Herschel Walker was Georgia's best running back of all-time. He's the school's most recent Heisman Trophy winner and the all-time leading rusher in spite of 0nly playing three seasons in Athens.

They also both picked Nick Chubb as the second-best. Chubb is the school's second all-time leading rusher and that's with him missing several games due to a knee injury he sustained in his sophomore season.

But when talking about the third-best Georgia running back of all-time, the two Georgia greats differed. Gurley said Michel, while Michel picked Gurley. And it got us thinking, who was the better running back: Gurley or Michel?

We've decided to look at a few different factors and see how the two running backs stack up.

Statistics:Gurley and Michel were both on the 2014 roster, with Gurley in his junior season and Michel being a freshman. Michel went on to stay for four seasons, while Gurley declared for the NFL draft after just three seasons.

Michel actually had more 1,000 yard rushing seasons, but he never had a statistical season that topped Gurley's freshman campaign where he rushed for 1,385 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. Gurley also had the best pass-catching season between the two running backs, as he caught 37 passes for 411 yards in just 10 games during the 2013 season.

In 30 career games, Gurley finished with 3,285 rushing yards and 36 rushing touchdowns. Michel finished his career with 3,638 rushing yards and 33 rushing touchdowns. But those numbers came over the course of 44 career games.

Raw totals would say to give the edge to Michel. But Karl Malone finished with more career points than Michael Jordan. Raw numbers aren't everything, and due to superior averages, we're going to give the edge to Gurley.

Edge:Gurley

Signature moment: For Gurley, it's complicated given all the suspension during his junior season. If you had to pick an on-field moment, I think you'd have to pick his kickoff return against Clemson in the season-opening game of the 2014 season. You don't see kick returns from Gurley's size often. You see kickoff return touchdowns from guys like Gurley even less.

Georgia reclaimed the lead on the play and never looked back in a game that looked like it was going to be a great sign of things to come.

For Michel, it's much easier, and ultimately more iconic. It's his walk-off touchdown in double overtime to win the Rose Bowl. It was the perfect punctuation mark an incredible Georgia football win. And him doing the jazz hands celebration has never been cooler as he waved goodbye the Oklahoma defense one last time.

In terms of iconic Georgia football plays from the 21st century, Michel's has an argument for being the best for the Georgia football program.

Edge: Michel

Best game:For Gurley, it's the Clemson game from 2014. He ran for more yards against Tennessee that season 208 and had a huge performance in the 2012 SEC Championship Game against Alabama when he ran for 125 yards and 2 touchdowns.

But against Clemson, he could do no wrong. He rushed for 198 yards on just 15 carries while scoring 3 rushing touchdowns. There was also the aforementioned kickoff return. That game was Gurley at the height of his powers and when it became crystallized that he could realistically be the best player in college football

For Michel it's the Oklahoma game. In addition to the 181 rushing yards on 11 carries, he had another 41 receiving yards. He scored 4 touchdowns against the Sooners, including the game-winner. And he did all of that in a game where Georgia trailed by 17 points just before halftime.

Maybe Michel gets a bump because of the magnitude of the College Football Playoff game, but in what was the biggest game in a while for the Georgia football program, Michel absolutely delivered.

Edge: Michel

Importance to the program: Both running backs were first-round picks. Gurley helped give Mark Richt one last push at a national title in 2012. Michel got even closer to delivering Georgia a national title in 2017. Both guys are a big reason why people know Georgia as RBU, and that is absolutely a recruiting tool Georgia uses.

But in terms of how much outside people associate them with the University of Georgia, Gurley has a bigger reach. Part of that might be attributed to the fact that Gurley is the biggest star for the Los Angeles Rams, while Michel may not even be the best former Georgia Bulldog on the New England Patriots with David Andrews at center.

To put this in movie terms, Michel was Brad Pitt in Ocean's 11. A huge star, and rightfully so. But for Michel's time in Athens, and much like George Clooney's time on screen, Chubb was the bigger star. Even without Michel, Georgia was still going to be very good with Chubb at running back.

Gurley meanwhile is like Russell Crowe in Gladiator. His entire time in Athens was basically him asking people, "Are you not entertained?" And people were, and still are, with what Gurley did in a Georgia jersey.

Edge: Gurley

Verdict: Gurley was the bigger icon during his time in Athens. Michel was more dependable and part of perhaps the greatest running back duo in college football history. Michel played a key role on a team that played for a national championship. Gurley likely would've done the same had the College Football Playoff been around in 2012.

And who knows how many rushing yards Gurley would've finished with if he hadn't been suspended or torn his ACL in his junior season. And a what if Michel heads to the NFL after his junior season? Had that happened, this probably isn't even a discussion.

The reality is, you can't honestly put one over the other. When it comes to ranking these two Georgia running backs, it is of my belief that you have to call it a tie. That might be cowardly, but they were and still are both fantastic running backs and ambassadors for Georgia football.

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  • Welcome to Good Day, UGA , your one-stop shop for Georgia footballnews and takes. Check us out every weekday morning for everything you need to know about Georgia football, recruiting, basketball and more. Georgia football D'Andre Swift D'Andre Swift does not care what you might think of Georgia's offense. 'We're going to do what we need to do to win games,' Swift told reporters after win. 'And if people don't like what we're doing, they shouldn't come to the games.' To Swift's point, the Georgia offense did enough to win the game, largely because of the junior running back. He put up a season-best 179 rushing yards and scored two touchdowns. The effort earned him SEC Player of the Week honors and placed him at the top of the SEC rushing leaders list. Swift didn't care that the game was played in a constant downpour. Or that he was ripping off huge runs. He wanted Georgia and quarterback Jake Fromm to throw the ball. 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D'Andre Swift @DAndreSwift !!!! #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/JS1PTlbZwp Hiro Katsuki (@KatsukiFB) October 20, 2019 While Kirby Smart said it was hard to take anything away from a game played in that much rain, one thing became crystal clear: If Georgia is going to accomplish its championship goals this season, Swift is going to be the biggest reason why. Any time you have an opposing coach openly campaigning for you to go to the NFL like Kentucky's Mark Stoops did, you're a special a player. In three career games against Kentucky, Swift has 401 yards and 4 touchdowns. If they cared about football as much as they about basketball in Kentucky, Swift would be right up there with Christian Laettner as far as Kentucky killers. Two years ago, the University of Georgia RB depth chart included Sony Michel, Nick Chubb, and D'Andre Swift. Wait until NFL fans see Swift next year. Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) October 22, 2019 But Georgia will play tougher teams than Kentucky in the coming weeks. Georgia's schedule during October pales in comparison to the gambitit's set to face in November. The Bulldogs open the month against the No. 7 ranked Florida Gators, host the 5-2 Missouri Tigers, visit No. 9 Auburn, host Texas A&M and close with a visit to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech. Georgia's offense is going to need to be much improved from what it was in the month of October if it's to make it through that November stretch without a loss. But Georgia entered last November facing a similar stretch of games and desperation. Georgia turned to Swift to help carry the Bulldogs to the SEC championship game. Related: Georgia RB D'Andre Swift stands up for team, puts critics in their place He ran for 104 yards and a touchdown against a Florida team that ended the season ranked in the top-10. He followed that up with a 156-yard performance against Kentucky, which won 10 games. Then against Auburn, he went off for a career-high 186 yards. Swift played his best football in November last year, and it coincided with Georgia playing its best football of the year. He's going to need to do that again in November and possibly in December and January. If Georgia is going to reemerge as one of the best teams in the country, it's going to need to take up the mindset of Swift. 'He brings energy without making plays. He's heart and soul. A leader. He's inspirational,' Smart said.' The runs kind of get the fans involved. Swift gets the team involved by all the things he does and says. He cares.' A few teammates have already taken up Swift's new mantra, as offensive lineman, Ben Cleveland repeated Swift's phrase of 'Whoever counting us out, can't count,' after Georgia's win over Kentucky. But those suspect of Georgia's title chances will continue to mount as long as the passing offense continues to look like what it has the past two weeks. For as great as Swift is, most still believe you'll need to create explosive plays in the passing game if you're going to beat Clemson, Alabama, LSU or Ohio State. And right now, Georgia ranks 72nd in the country of completions of more than 15 yards down the field. One member of the Georgia team still has confidence in what the Georgia offense is doing. 'I don't doubt what they are doing, eventually it will work, they just kept leaning and pushing on those guys,' Linebacker Monty Rice said. 'I don't think anything is misfiring it looks fine to me, it looks like the same offense that we've always run here. We went to the national championship using the same offense, so I think it's fine.' That national championship run was led by Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, who both combined for over 2,500 yards that season. Against Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff, the two ran for a combined 326 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Bulldogs are going to need efforts like Swift's Kentucky display if they are to reach the highs of the 2017 season. If Georgia is going to be 'fine' as Rice indicates, it will be because of Swift literally carrying the Bulldogs offense there. Georgia football running back D'Andre Swift speaks after Kentucky game More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation Georgia football winners and losers following victory over Kentucky Georgia football freshmen report: UGA 21, Kentucky 0 Former UGA players offer prayers and support for Mark Richt after heart attack Former Georgia football coach Mark Richt tweets good news after suffering heart attack Georgia football podcast: 5 pieces of good news as UGA heads into bye week Georgia basketball lands commitment from 2020 guard K.D. Johnson Georgia defense bought in to offense: We've got each other's backs' 3 takeaways from Georgia's 21-0 win, some reminders for booing fans Dawgs on Twitter I am assuming word travels fast. So I wanted to be able to inform everyone that I did have a heart attack this morning. I am doing fine. As I went through the experience I had peace knowing I was going to heaven but I was going to miss my wife. I plan to be at work this week. Mark Richt (@MarkRicht) October 21, 2019 Hoping for a quick recovery for coach @MarkRicht ! Maybe take a few days off before heading back to work coach. The Joneses are praying for you. Feel better Chipper Jones (@RealCJ10) October 21, 2019 #ATD #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/hLi1cIzotf Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) October 21, 2019 Sony Michel powers in for his third TD! Michel now has 18 Rush TD in 23 career games (Including playoffs). #NEvsNYJ (via @NFL) pic.twitter.com/DggzjzNVhj NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) October 22, 2019 Good Dawg of the Day This is Willo. She likes to awoo while she eats. Tonight's meal was worthy of a gentler, but perhaps more meaningful, second awoo. 13/10 pic.twitter.com/I6vWGvwEsd WeRateDogs (@dog_rates) October 22, 2019 The post Georgia's offense, and championship aspirations, will go as far as D'Andre Swift can go appeared first on DawgNation.