AUBURN, Ala. - It was only a year ago when Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley were wrapping up their seniors seasons at their respective North Carolina schools.
The two had already established the fact that they wanted to play together at the next level, but they couldn't have anticipated this level of success.
In Saturday night's 38-0 SEC East-clinching win over Auburn, the two freshmen playmakers eclipsed the 100-yard mark in the same game for the third time this season.
Whether it was expected or not, both Marshall and Gurley are grateful for the chance to play a key role.
"Its just a blessing" said Gurley. "I mean, its fun to go out there and help your team win, but the stats don't matter really. Wins are what matter."
Marshall echoed his friend and roommate's thoughts.
"This is definitely what we came here to do," said Marshall. "We wanted to play together and be successful, and it's just a blessing to do what we have done."
It isn't like Gurley and Marshall are making plays for a team is rebuilding, either.
Georgia is a veteran team that relies heavily on the two freshmen, and that isn't something to which Marshall has committed much thought.
"I've never really thought about it that way, but when you think about it, it is pretty significant," said Marshall. "We won the SEC East, and it is a blessing to have a chance to help us get there."
Gurley, who needs 27 yards to reach the 1,000-yard mark on the season, isn't in a hurry to take credit for his success.
"My fullbacks have done such a great job, and my offensive line," said Gurley. "They have been great all year, and the receivers have been working hard and blocking good, too."
Like Gurley, Marshall has a reputation of being mature beyond his years, and nothing illustrates that trait better than his growth from his first practice until now.
"I've grown so much as a player and mainly with what I do without the ball," said Marshall. "Knowing what to do at all times and blocking are things I feel like I have gotten better at and need to keep getting better at."
In the third quarter on Saturday, Marshall broke his fourth touchdown run of the season of 50 yards or more, when he scampered 62 yards to pay dirt to give Georgia the 38-0 lead.
Being level-headed is something Marshall always aims for, but he is also confident in his ability in the open field.
He is especially confident in his speed.
"When I saw it open up, I knew I had to score," said Marshall. "I made the cut and just went for it. He wasn't going to catch me."
The North Carolina natives have produced enough to this point to have a wealth of confidence, but it would be tough to find anyone that believes more in the two young ball carriers than offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.
"I have tremendous trust for those two guys. All the trust in the world," said Bobo. "There is nothing we can't do offensively with them in the game because of how they go about their business. They always know the game plan and know what to do. They are just tremendous for us."
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