November 12, 2011

Crowell, Thomas shine

Both Carlton Thomas and Isaiah Crowell felt they each owed Georgia fans a little something following last week's suspension which cost him a one-game suspension against New Mexico State.

If their performance in Saturday's 45-7 win over 24th-ranked Auburn is indication, consider it a dept paid.

In their first game back, Crowell and Thomas both went over the 100-yard mark, rushing for 132 and 127 yards, respectively.

It marked the first time two Georgia back have one over 100 yards in the same game since Washaun Ealey and Caleb King did so against Georgia Tech in 2009.

"I hope we gave the Bulldog Nation something to be proud of with this win," Thomas said. "I'm really happy because I feel I was able to give back to all those people who supported me the whole time, my whole year here."

Thomas was particularly impressive.

Despite his 5-foot-7, 170-pound frame, the junior from Frostproof, Fla. ran hard with a physical style that helped him rush nine times for 72 yards in the first half alone.

Thomas counted two runs of 20-plus yards (27 and 24) among his 15 carries.

"The guys opened up some big holes, Ben Jones, Cordy (Glenn), the whole O-line. You could see it in their eyes, they were ready to open some holes," Thomas said. "They made it a point to get some movement so I made it a point take advantage of those holes. I didn't want their hard work to be in vain."

Crowell said he tried to do the same.

"Me and Carlton both just wanted to show the Bulldog Nation that we belonged here," said Crowell. "I hope we showed that."

Head coach Mark Richt was pleased with the way both backs responded after missing last week's game.

"I liked the way they played, no doubt, but I really liked the way they handled their discipline," Richt said. "They worked hard that week. They had some things to take care of physically that are not a lot of fun because during practice Coach (Joe) Tereshinski put them in the pit the whole week, pulling sleds, lifting. Instead of sitting watching practice with their arms folded, they were working."

The former Carver standout did most of his damage in the second half.

The freshman appeared to tweak his ankle on a couple of instances in the first half when he picked up just 18 yards on seven attempts.

But when he came out for the second half, Crowell, who has been criticized by some for taking himself out of games, rushed for 114 of his total in the final two quarters, scoring from 10-yards out with 5:59 left in the game.

"The first half I didn't do so well, and the second half I had something to prove to the fans, my family and the Bulldog Nation," said Crowell, who was hampered the first half with a sore ankle. "I got banged up, but I knew I had to keep fighting and stay in the game."

Thomas said he tried to run with more of a purpose as well.

"There was a purpose," Thomas said. "When you have disappointment like last week you really want to come out and right your wrong. I feel like last week the guys righted my wrong with a win, but today I wanted to show that I was working, too, that I was going to do what I could do to keep us in control of our destiny."

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