September 21, 2013

It wasn't pretty

No doubt a nation's collective eye was focused squarely on a rainy Sanford Stadium Saturday when North Texas was thinking upset midway through the third quarter against ninth-ranked Georgia.

Fortunately for the Bulldogs, Aaron Murray had other plans, accounting for two second-half touchdowns allowing Georgia to pull away with a 45-21 win.

Murray finished 22 of 30 for 408 yards and three scores, while adding another touchdown on a 1-yard run.

But despite the final 24-point margin, this was too close for Mark Richt's comfort, especially after a couple of special-team breakdowns - a 99-yard kickoff return by Brelan Chancellor and a blocked punt that Zach Whitfield recovered in the end zone - had the score tied at 21 eight minutes into the third.

However, that's when the Bulldogs were able to regain their mojo, scoring 24 straight points allowing Georgia (2-1) to ease to the win.

Murray accounted for both, first scoring on a 1-yard run before hitting Chris Conley for a 6-yard touchdown pass to put Georgia up 35-21.

A 27-yard field goal by Marshall Morgan and a 2-yard run by freshman J.J.Green in the final minute accounted for the final 38-21 score.

From a Bulldog perspective, the first half of Saturday's game was lackluster to say the least.

Georgia came into the contest as a 33-point favorite, but when the buzzer sounded signifying the end of the first half, North Texas was very much in the game, trailing just 21-14.

The Bulldogs started well enough, jumping out in front 14-0 on a 12-yard run by Todd Gurley (21 carries, 91 yards) and a school-record 98-yard touchdown pass from Murray to Reggie Davis on the first play of the second quarter.

Not only was it the longest touchdown pass in Bulldog history, but it was also the 100th scoring toss of Murray's career.

Not only was it the longest touchdown pass in Bulldog history, but it was also the 100th scoring toss of Murray's career.

But Bulldog breakdowns kept breathing life into the Mean Green.

In the first quarter it was an interception in the end zone by outside linebacker Will Wright after Georgia drove to the 3.

Later, a blown coverage left tight end Drew Miller open for a 26-yard gain, setting up Derek Thompson who hit wide receiver Darnell Smith on the very next play for a 20-yard score to cut the lead to 14-7.
Georgia responded to go back by 14 on a 16-yard pass from Murray to tight end Arthur Lynch, but on the ensuing kickoff Chanchelor returned the ball 99 yards to draw within 21-14.

The Bulldogs would have two more opportunities to answer, but failed to respond, including a 52-yard field attempt by Morgan that fell short as the buzzer sounded.

NOTES: The 98-yard touchdown pass from Murray to Davis was the longest in Georgia history, beating the old mark of 93 yards accomplished three times, including the famous pass from Buck Belue to Lindsay Scott to beat Florida in 1980. The reception was also the first of Davis' career … Junior safety Corey Moore received his first career start on defense when he opened at strong safety. … With his six-yard touchdown pass to Conley, Murray became Georgia's all-time total offense leader with 11,277 yards, passing David Greene. Murray is now third all-time in the SEC.

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