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Blog: SEC championship game a showcase for freshmen Gurley, Yeldon

The top freshman tailback in the Southeastern Conference will be on display Saturday in the Georgia Dome.

Georgia’s Todd Gurley and Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon can make their case in the league title game.

Gurley is second in the SEC in rushing with 1,138 yards with 14 touchdowns. Yeldon is 12th with 847 yards and 10 scores.

The 6-foot-2, 216-pound Yeldon averages 6.6 yards per carry while the 6-1, 218-pound Gurley gets 6.5 per rush.

Gurley, from Tarboro, ranks third in the nation among freshmen rushers. Yeldon, who hails from Daphne, Ala. is eighth.

“They are very similar,”Georgia linebacker Christian Robinson said. “They both run really hard.  When I look at Todd I just see lower body. You know, people try to hit him high a lot of times, and he just keeps churning his legs and gets those extra yards and makes a lot of people miss. What I’ve seen of Yeldon, he has the speed to get around the edge. He turns up a lot on people that don’t think he’s as fast as he really is. You’ve got to hold the edge of the defense or else he’s gone. I think Todd has speed as well. Obviously looking at Yeldon, he looks a little bit faster, but I would say Todd’s a little bit bigger and more of a bruiser.”

Both Gurley and Yeldon share the load in their backfields.

Junior tailback Eddie Lacy leads the Crimson Tide with 1,001 yards and 14 touchdowns, but he averages just 13.7 carries per game while Yeldon gets 10.8.

“Yeah, we’re a lot fresher than we would be if we were taking 20, 25‑plus carries a game,” Lacy said. “You know, the rotation we have helps out a lot in that department.”

Gurley likewise benefits when Georgia brings in fellow freshman, Keith Marshall, who has rushed for 720 yards and eight touchdowns.

“We haven’t really faced a team that has a one‑two punch like that,”Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley said. “That’s one reason Georgia’s offense is pretty explosive. Then again, we’re going against two great running backs each day in practice, so we have to use that to our advantage and make sure we do our best to try to contain those guys.”

–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer

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