ATLANTA -- Georgia had a flashback in its backfield Saturday night against rival Georgia Tech.
Running hard and healthy, sophomore running back Kregg Lumpkin looked like the Kregg Lumpkin of old - particularly in the first half of the Bulldogs' 14-7 victory.
In his most impressive effort since a knee injury on the first day of summer practice wrecked his 2004 season, Lumpkin rushed for 62 yards on six carries against the Yellow Jackets in the first half.
Lumpkin finished the game with 75 yards on 11 carries, an average of 6.8 yards per carry. In comparison, starter Thomas Brown had eight carries for no yards. In fact, the rest of the team ran for minus-13 yards.
Given the long recovery time from the serious knee surgery, Bulldogs coach Mark Richt had said this year he wanted to take it easy with Lumpkin, who gradually emerged to amass 523 rushing yards his freshman year.
That was the case particularly with Brown and Danny Ware healthy and able to handle the load on the ground.
But in recent weeks, Lumpkin had looked stronger and stronger in practice - something that forced Richt to rethink how he was using him.
He subsequently vaulted the Lithonia, Ga., native above Ware to No. 2 on the depth chart.
After watching Lumpkin run Saturday evening, especially early, it seemed that Richt had made the correct move.
Lumpkin had four carries for 31 yards on the Bulldogs' eight-play, 82-yard touchdown drive midway through the first quarter. Lumpkin also had a 21-yard rush later in the half, his longest run of the season.
The 21-yard run topped his season per-game average (15.6) entering Saturday.
Also, in nine games, he hadn't topped the 40-yard mark. His best day was a five-carry, 38-yard effort Nov. 19 against Kentucky.
But Saturday he more closely resembled the player who rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown in the Bulldogs' Capital One Bowl victory against Purdue two years ago.
Reach Travis Haney at email@example.com.
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