OXFORD, Miss. — Georgia freshman running back Isaiah Crowell was the last player to enter the room for media interviews following the Bulldogs’ 27-13 victory over Ole Miss on Saturday.
Wes Muilenburg/Dawg Post Georgia running back Isaiah Crowell runs for some of his career-high 161 yards during Georgia’s 27-13 win over Ole Miss on Saturday.
In fact, the talented Columbus native timed his entrance with coach Mark Richt’s address to the contingent of reporters, allowing for a few extra moments to breath.
After 30 carries and 147 yards, Crowell may have needed the time to relax.
“I felt winded in the third — around the third and fourth quarter I was winded,” he said.
Crowell was the focal point on the majority of the Bulldogs’ 82 offensive plays, including seven rushes on third down. Two of those were converted to move the chains.
“There were a lot of plays — third-and-8, third-and-10, where we got him the ball,” said redshirt sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray. “He got first downs. Sometimes he got six or seven yards and almost got the first down. We definitely trust him that every time he gets the ball in his hands he’s going to make a guy miss or use his feet to get by people and make plays for us.”
No carry was bigger than on a third-and-9 play from the Georgia 2-yard line in the second quarter. Crowell sprinted 29 yards for a first down, continuing a 99-yard drive the Bulldogs eventually capped with a touchdown.
“They called on me ,so I just had to do the best I could,” he said. “Yeah I was surprised, but I don’t have no control over (playcalling).”
“He did a nice job of sucking it up on that drive and carrying the load and making a big run,” said offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.
The increased amount of carries is yet another sign of progression for the young tailback. He rushed 16 times twice this season — against South Carolina and Coastal Carolina — and said earlier this week he could handle more touches.
He got what he wanted Saturday.
“I never would have dreamed that Isaiah would have 30 carries,” Richt said. “When you run 82 plays and as much as we run our tailback in our system, I thought Isaiah did a real nice job taking care of the football and making good decisions as a runner.”
By the fourth quarter, Crowell admits he was wearing down. Juniors Richard Samuel and Carlton Thomas combined for 15 carries to help Crowell catch his breath. When asked if he could have rushed more than 30 times Crowell responded: “I dunno. I dunno about anymore. I was tired out there about the fourth quarter. If my team needed me to, I could have.”
Still only four games into Crowell’s career, Richt would like to lessen the amount of times they call his number.
“Well I’m not looking for him to have 30 carries a game,” Richt said. “That’s not really what we’re trying to do. I’d love for him to be somewhere around the 20-carry range and maybe catch three or four balls. If he gets 20 to 25 touches a game, that’s a good thing to shoot for. We’ve got to make sure we keep track of that.”
Either a credit to his youth or reserved attitude toward answering questions, Crowell downplayed his amplified role.
“I didn’t really notice it,” he said.