ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Georgia star tailback Todd Gurley was suspended indefinitely on Thursday while the school investigates an alleged violation of NCAA rules.
The school made the announcement two days before the No. 13 Bulldogs (4-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) face No. 23 Missouri (4-1, 1-0) in a crucial Eastern Division game, a huge blow to both the team and Gurley’s Heisman Trophy hopes.
Georgia officials did not reveal the alleged violation.
“I’m obviously very disappointed,” coach Mark Richt said in a statement. “The important thing for our team is to turn all our attention toward preparation for Missouri.”
Gurley leads the Bulldogs with 773 yards rushing and eight touchdowns, averaging 8.2 yards per carry. In addition, he has 11 receptions and a 100-yard kickoff return for a TD.
The junior established himself as a leading Heisman contender with several signature games and moments, including a school-record 293 all-purpose yards in a season-opening victory over Clemson, not to mention a hurdler-like leap over a Tennessee defender to pick up an extra 10 yards.
Georgia began the season with plenty of depth at running back, but that has taken a blow in recent weeks with injuries to backup Keith Marshall and freshman Sony Michel.
Now, the Bulldogs are dealing with the toughest blow of all. Gurley is simply irreplaceable, a dynamic mix of speed and power who has allowed Georgia to keep winning even with a mediocre passing game.
Freshman Nick Chubb, who ranks second on the team with 234 yards rushing, will likely step up to start against Missouri. Sophomore Brendan Douglas is the only back with significant experience.
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