Georgia running back Nick Chubb has rushed for at least 100 yards in his last 11 games.
If he extends that streak against Southern on Saturday, he will move within one game of Herschel Walker’s school record. The Jaguars know the task facing them.
Coach Dawson Odums was asked at his weekly news conference Tuesday if the experience of playing against Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Dixon, whom Odums called one of the best running backs in the country, helped prepare Southern for Chubbs.
“Yes,” Odums said, before adding, “Tech had one. Georgia has three or four that are about the same.”
Chubbs leads the Bulldogs and the Southeastern Conference with 468 rushing yards. He’s averaging 8.4 yards per carry and has four touchdowns. Sony Michel has 148 yards and two touchdowns and averages 5.7. Keith Marshall has 103 yards and three touchdowns and averages 5.4.
“It doesn’t matter who you see. They’re going to keep them coming,” Odums said. “We know it will be a challenge. We know that they’re going to try and run the football. That’s what they do; that’s who they are;that’s their identity.
“So we’ve got to do a great job of making sure we tackle well and fill our gaps well and everything else will take care of itself.”
Linebacking corps holding up
Much of the responsibility for containing Chubb and company will fall on the Jaguars’ short-handed linebacking corps.
Senior Demetrius Carter, the Jaguars’ leading tackler last season, is out for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery to repair an Achilles tear he suffered against Mississippi Valley State on Sept. 10. His primary backup, Calvin Lunkin (knee), is expected to miss his second consecutive game this week.
Still, Odums said he was pleased with the way the group played in a 50-31 victory against Jackson State last Saturday.
“I thought the combination of those guys did an outstanding job,” Odums said.
Through three games, Kentavious Preston is tied for the team lead with 19 total tackles and he leads with 2½ tackles for loss. Javon Allen is tied for third with 14 tackles.
“Kentavious Preston is going to have to continue to step up for us,” Odums said. “Javon Allen is going to have to make some plays.
“You’re able to see that we have some depth there. We’re recognizing guys, we’re continuing to practice guys and get them better and they’re stepping up.”
Nothing new on injuries
Odums said there’s nothing new to report on the five players who were unavailable for last week’s game.
In addition to Carter and Lunkin, the other injured players are cornerbacks Jamar Mitchell (hamstring) and Ki-Jana Curtis (shoulder). Nickelback Rhaheim Ledbetter is ineligible.
None of the players are listed on the depth chart.
More productive passing game
So far, the Southern passing game is more productive than it was last season.
The Jaguars are averaging 276 passing yards per game compared to 222 last season — but they’re not just producing more yards per game, they’re producing more yards per completion.
Southern is averaging 15.9 yards per reception compared to 14.1 last season. The improvement has been a group effort. Of the 11 players who have caught passes this season, nine are averaging at least 11 yards per catch. Of the 14 players who caught passes last season, only seven averaged that much.
The victory against Jackson State came in Southern’s first home sellout since the Jackson State game two years ago.
“If you were here you got to see what kind of environment we’re capable of having here on the bluff,” Odums said. “I thought the crowd was outstanding. I thought the atmosphere was electric and I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
“If you’re a college football fan, that’s the kind of excitement you like to see and I think that’s why a lot of people like college football. So it was great to see our fans out in full support.”
Bus trip to Georgia
The 6th Man Club is sponsoring a bus trip to Saturday’s game at Georgia. The cost is $335 for a single person, $550 for a couple and $765 for three people. The costs include game tickets. For information, call Gail Ray at (225) 356-5252; Freddie Green at (225) 388-9403 or (225) 421-6637; Elijah Wilkinson at (225) 355-9249; or Anna Jones at (225) 387-1982; (225) 907-7212 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Les East on Twitter: @EastAdvocate.