What a past couple of months it has been for Georgia RB Washaun Ealey. Many felt that Ealey could have a breakout season after finishing 2009 strong. The true sophomore tallied 525 yards and 3 touchdowns in his final five games of the season—including a 183-yard effort against Georgia Tech. After a slow start in Week 5 against LSU, he started to find his groove, and made a strong case for coming into 2010 with a fighting chance at going above a 1,000 yards rushing.
But the early morning of August 27th, 2010 changed all that. Ealey was charged with hit and run as well as driving on a suspended license. Coach Mark Richt suspended Ealey for the season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette in which the Dawgs easily won 55-7. There was excitement in the air when Ealey returned to the team the following week and played heavy minutes against South Carolina. Ealey struggled against the Gamecocks rushing for only 75 yards on 19 attempts – an average of 3.9 yards per attempt. But that was not the worse of it – Ealey fumbled at the South Carolina’s 3 yard line as Georgia was on the verge of tying the game late in the 3rd quarter. Ealey bounced back the following week against Arkansas and rushed for 87 yards on 18 attempts. But the Mississippi State game put Ealey back in the doghouse as he fumbled on the goal line changing the momentum of that game. The following week against Colorado, Ealey rushed only one time. Against the blowout Tennessee win the following week, Ealey rushed for 33 yards on 12 attempts – an average of only 2.8 yards per attempt.
Now the Dawgs have no choice but to go with Ealey against Vanderbilt based on RB Caleb King’s two game suspension following his arrest for failure to appear in court. Ealey and King were supposed to complement each other, but have not been on the field much this season due to suspensions and injuries. In 2009, the tandem of Ealey and King worked successfully together in the Dawgs season-ending triumph over Georgia Tech where the two combined for 349 yards rushing. Ealey and King pushed each other to do well and they finished the year with a combined 1,311 yards on 239 carries – an average of 5.4 yards per carry.
Vanderbilt is looking for some consistency in their offense as they scored 28 points in beating Mississippi on Sept. 18, but no more than 21 in losses to Northwestern and Connecticut. Vanderbilt is led by QB Larry Smith who had his best game last week against Eastern Michigan – 253 yards and two scores. Vanderbilt’s defense has given up 40 points in a loss to UConn two weeks ago, and 27 points to LSU last month.
Georgia is favorite by two touchdowns and it’s homecoming in Athens. Ealey and the running game will be the focal point to take pressure off redshirt freshman QB Aaron Murray. But of course, the real star of the game will be Big Bad Bruce. Who is Big Bad Bruce? He’s Georgia’s newest dog to serve as UGA’s mascot – Uga VIII. Maybe that is all Ealey needs to change his luck around.
About the Author
Written by Bob Ballard