Heartbreaking loss to Auburn ruins one of Georgia’s greatest comebacks ever

Aaron Murray was big for the Dogs Saturday with both his passing and his running. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Aaron Murray was big for the Dogs Saturday with both his passing and his running. (Jason Getz / AJC)

That was, without a doubt, the wildest, craziest fourth quarter of Georgia football I’ve seen since run-Lindsay-run in 1980.

And absolutely heartbreaking for anyone who calls themselves a Dawg.

A Georgia team that was trailing Auburn by 20 points with 12:39 left on the clock clawed its way back into the game thanks to the incredible play of its senior quarterback and took a 38-37 lead with 1:49 left. It was as if Aaron Murray was willing his team not to lose this one despite plenty of reasons that it should have.

And then, with a mere 36 ticks left, the Tigers faced fourth-and-18 and former Bulldog player Nick Marshall launched a Hail Mary pass that was off-target and yet in miracle fashion was tipped by a Georgia defender and landed in the hands of Auburn receiver Ricardo Louis, who took it in for a score.

That play was one of the most deflating moments in my more than five decades of watching Georgia football.

Even then, it wasn’t quite over, though. An Auburn 2-point conversion attempt failed. Getting the ball back with just 25 seconds left, the amazing Murray — who was 33 of 49 for 415 yards in the air, threw two touchdown passes and scored two more running — brought his team racing downfield and wound up on the Auburn 20 with enough time left for two throws.

As Mark Richt said after the game, “we were very close to having a double miracle — one for us, one for them.”

But, as Richt noted, “It just didn’t quite happen.”

Richard Louis gets the winning score for Auburn on a freak play. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Richard Louis gets the winning score for Auburn on a freak play. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Some folks might be inclined to blame Tray Matthews and Josh Harvey-Clemons for not batting that pass down like they’ve been taught to, which would have ended the game with a Georgia win, instead of going for an unnecessary pick.

But, actually, Georgia even being in a position to win at that point was in defiance of the sloppy, discombobulated game the Dogs played in the first half (particularly a horrible first quarter).

Yes, Auburn’s uptempo offense was all it was advertised to be, and more, as Marshall and the Tigers burned Georgia on quite a number of passing plays in addition to looking unstoppable at times with the run.

But Auburn got a number of big helping hands in the first half from Georgia’s offensive line, which had awful pass protection when it wasn’t getting called for false starts, and from the Dogs’ continued lousy special teams play and coaching. (It was also a terribly officiated game — by the Penn Wagers crew, natch — but that burned both teams.)

So, overall, the Dogs put themselves in quite a hole, and yet still nearly won the game thanks not just to the offense battling back but also to Georgia’s defense getting some big second-half stops due to more aggressive playcalling by Todd Grantham.

Had the Dogs played the first three quarters like they played the last one, we’d be talking about what a bust the No. 7-ranked Tigers turned out to be.

In the end, as Eric Zeier put it afterward, it was a game Georgia had no business being in and yet had no business losing.

To do so on a freak play hurts, yes. But the fact that Georgia was in a position to win the game at that point says a lot about the never-say-die attitude of this team and its scrappy quarterback.

That’s my take on the game. Feel free to share your own, but keep it civil.

Got something you want to discuss concerning the Dawgs? Or a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Email me at  junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

343 comments Add your comment

Roswell Dawg

November 16th, 2013
9:14 pm

First caller to post-game show: “The play wasn’t a miracle, it’s a miracle that Richt and Grantham still have a job.”

Ronbo

November 16th, 2013
9:14 pm

This one will hurt for awhile and I don’t think I can listen to sports talk radio for a few days.

Roswell Dawg

November 16th, 2013
9:18 pm

Poor coaching, poor recruiting. Spurrier said it best. No need to even quote him.

F. Sinkwich

November 16th, 2013
9:18 pm

“That play was one of the most deflating moments in my more than five decades of watching Georgia football.”

Same here though not quite five.

Snake bit this year. Big time.

erictin

November 16th, 2013
9:22 pm

Why is our defensive coordinator the only one in the nation who calls plays from a cue card?What is that about?

Cuz

November 16th, 2013
9:24 pm

The team and Arron Murray never gave up. We had no business being in there at the end but by God, we even went ahead. That last Nick Marshall play was just what happens in football. Sometimes you get the breaks, sometimes they do. As Grizzard once said, the ball bounces funny.

BRDawg

November 16th, 2013
9:25 pm

Microcosm of the CMR tenure… always one blown play away from greatness.

DawgVoiceofReason

November 16th, 2013
9:26 pm

To quote Lewis Grizzard, “They tore out my heart and stomped that sucker flat.”

SenoiaDawgs

November 16th, 2013
9:26 pm

Plain and simple the same things plagued us. Poor special teams and awful defense. Marshall should not have had time to even throw the pass. Go back and watch the LSU game and UF game. We won because we got pressure the LSU game shows it best the 4th down conversion and then the last play.

The undisciplined play is all coaching:

Repeated false starts in road games since game one. Not corrected.

Defenses predicting our snaps in road games getting the jump on our offensive line. Not corrected.

Coming out of TV Timeout with two many people on the field and two many men on the field in critical time of game. Constant problem the last what seems like forever years. Not corrected

Defense constantly confused, looking at the side line and the other team snapping the ball. Not corrected all season.

We finally have an offense and haven’t had a D since BVG left. Not corrected

UGA not playing 4 quarters and hasn’t since the Hawaii Sugar Bowl year. Not corrected

Not playing fundamental football. Not corrected

Yes I was excited by the comeback and the near win. I am a Dawg fan for life I just don’t see Richt taking this to the next level.

Plain and simple our coaching staff gets in the way with the basics.

bullwinkle

November 16th, 2013
9:27 pm

Th 4th quarter was certainly entertaining. The problem was the three that came before it.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

November 16th, 2013
9:28 pm

Once again poor coaching and uninspired football with a team that could easily have won this game

It took 3 qtrs to decide to start calling non conservative plays and playing inspired football and that was mainly due to Murray trying to rally his teammates on the sideline

777-9311

November 16th, 2013
9:28 pm

I guess Grantham forgot that 4th and 23 play against LSU. A prevent defense only prevents you from winning.

stendek

November 16th, 2013
9:28 pm

Aaron Murray history after this season. Good riddance!

No SEC or championships but lots of PERSONAL records.

Too bad Mark Richt and Mike Bobo will retire as UGA coaches.

More collapses and disappointments in 2014 and far beyond…

So very sad for Bulldog Nation starved for hard tough Dawg team.

Never gonna happen under this clueless marshmallow head coach.

Sorry Russ.

Go back to nap.

:(

UGA Season Ticket Holder Since 1986

November 16th, 2013
9:30 pm

I wish I had gone my whole life without knowing how Florida felt on the “Run, Lindsey Run” or how Tennessee felt on the “Hob Nail Boot” or how Auburn felt on the “Miracle on the Plains” catch by Michael Green from David Greene (or whatever it was called) or how Texas felt when it was Ten to Nine” in the Cotton Bowl. Dang. Maybe that one will become known as “Knock it Down, Dang it.”

JoynerDawg

November 16th, 2013
9:30 pm

Grantham at his best, 3 man rush, what a joke, Willie Ball Part II

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

November 16th, 2013
9:34 pm

stendek

how can you blame Murray for a poorly coached O-line; poorly coached special teams and poorly coached defense

This has been going on before Murray showed up in Athens

amazing

November 16th, 2013
9:35 pm

Nick Marshall is not a passing QB. The defense had pressured him on three straight possessions and he had completed zero passes /been sacked. With ANY pressure on 4th and 18 – no way he completes a pass or scrambles for a first down. Instead, we only half heartedly rush 3 DL and he has all day to release the Hail Mary. Enough said…..remember the 3rd and 19 against LSU – doesn’t Grantham learn anything from past mistakes. He must go – doesn’t relate to these young men nor do his assistants.

UGA Season Ticket Holder Since 1986

November 16th, 2013
9:35 pm

The only solace is knowing that dawgfan, delusional flat tire and roswell dawg would have posted the EXACT same hateful posts even if we HAD knocked the pass down and we had won one of the greatest wins in the history of Georgia football..

short memories

November 16th, 2013
9:36 pm

The only two drives in the first half where Georgia opened with a pass instead of a run up the middle are the only two drives Georgia scored on in the first half.
Besides the 8 catatrophic plays given up by the Georgia special teams this year, there are the constant smaller plays of setting up Auburn at the forty on their opening drive because we are the only team in the SEC that can’t kick it through the end zone as well as 23 and 36 yard punts in this game.
Murray had a gutsy effort after Bobo finally got in the game. Its a shame Grantham blew it with a 3(actually 2) man rush on 4th and l8. Grantham you did it against LSU and everyone said how stupid it was. Why in the world would you do it again? How pathetic. yea you should have coached your players to knock the ball down but if you would just pressure the quarterback that throw never happens.
I hate to see these athletes coached by junior high coaches. Georgia will always be if, if, if as long as Richt is there to blow it.

Kyle

November 16th, 2013
9:37 pm

i have never been more disgusted in UGA football as I was tonight. if this doesnt make our idiot AD make some changes nothing will. FIRE these MORONS NOW!!!!!!!!

ironcity

November 16th, 2013
9:38 pm

Stendek HOWCAN YOU POSSIBLY BLAME MURRAY, HE ALONE TRIED TO RALLY THE TEAM PUT THE BLAME WHERE IT BELONGS ON THE DEFENSIVE CO ORD WE SCORE 40 A GAME AND STILL LOSE TIME AFTER TIME MAYBE ANOTHER RAISE FOR TODD MIGHT HELP///

graphite

November 16th, 2013
9:38 pm

I bet we (BAMA) will rush more than three in that situation!! I know this is hard to say,but,I hurt for my puppy friends.

short memories

November 16th, 2013
9:38 pm

Hey UGA season ticket holder, The key word in your post is IF. It is the mantra of the Mark Richt Kool-Aiders

DawgVoiceofReason

November 16th, 2013
9:39 pm

Man, that one hurts bad. It was a tremendous, hard-fought comeback when everything seemed lost only to pull ahead, finally getting a break from the replay officials on the Murray goal-line touchdown, only to have it all shattered by a freak, fluke, miracle play by our former player Marshall and his wide receiver. Murray got hammered with what now should have easily fallen under the targeting rule, both at the last 30 seconds of the first half and the last play of the game. We also got jobbed on the turnover in the first half that was handed to Auburn and the bizarre “leaping” penalty on the Auburn punt. But, ultimately, our defense is terrible and Grantham has got to go. He does absolutely nothing for our defense that any of a hundred defensive coordinators couldn’t do just as well, for less money.

ShowMeYurTD's

November 16th, 2013
9:39 pm

I strongly dislike our coaching staff, anyway dawgs did well for only playing one quarter. Coaches have to go; time to clean house.
Hey J Harvey-Clemons, want some mustard with that hotdog?

Roswell Dawg

November 16th, 2013
9:40 pm

Not true Season Ticket holder. Tired of seeing the same ending to the same movie from our BrianTrust. Kool aid drinkers are getting just what they want, mediocrity.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

November 16th, 2013
9:42 pm

Ticket Holder

I guess for you its ok for people to blame Murray for the reasons this program continues to underachieve every year. Not a word from you defending Murray

rockinthedeepend

November 16th, 2013
9:43 pm

That was the football equivalent of Bill Buckner’s famous whiff…and will be remembered by both Auburn and Georgia for just as long. That pass was uncatchable until Georgia’s defensive mental error ensured that it would be Auburn’s version of “Run, Lindsay, Run!” I’ll bet there was still some property destroyed in Georgia tonight. Heartbreaker…

short memories

November 16th, 2013
9:46 pm

Mark Richt said “we were very close” and “it just didn’t quite happen”. Pretty well sums up the Richt era. If you look up the phrase “a day late and a dollar short” in the dictionary you will find Mark Richt’s picture.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

November 16th, 2013
9:47 pm

I thought the “defense had turned the corner”

I guess Auburn isnt App St

Charles Schwable

November 16th, 2013
9:48 pm

Ha! Ha! where are all the Billy Bob’s at now? Oh I forgot they are warming up their 12 gauges for Deerhead trophy hour!

Wayne

November 16th, 2013
9:49 pm

Mr. Athletic Director- Please tell me how you can tell UGA people that support this program with their hard earned money that this coaching staff deserves your vote of confidence that they have the program heading in the right direction. I am beginning to think the problem might in fact be you. Your continued ignorance and blindness of what we see week to week, season after season is a slap in our faces. Mr. Mcgarity, I can assure you that your former boss will NOT let his program go in the wrong direction for long. Apparently, you didnt learn that lesson very well.

RNB

November 16th, 2013
9:50 pm

Team was not prepared for first half period. This has been the problem consistently under CMR. If nothing else we need a change on the defensive side of the ball. Hoping Muschamp is available after this season.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

November 16th, 2013
9:51 pm

Wayne

Remember; we need more contract extensions or we might lose recruits

Wayne

November 16th, 2013
9:57 pm

Unfortunately, I hope that KY and Tech somehow find a way to win this year. That would force McGarity to make a change as he could not withstand the fanbase imploding. It would either be the coaching staff or HIS job.

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing can Stop it

November 16th, 2013
9:57 pm

Flat Tire,

Good thing that defense “turned the corner” against App State. LMAO

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing can Stop it

November 16th, 2013
9:58 pm

You can’t even tackle…
33 years

Dawg4Ever

November 16th, 2013
10:01 pm

CMR will win a NC someday. We must be patient. Our fans are all fair weather. CVD would have been fired in 1979 if he had the same fans that we have today.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

November 16th, 2013
10:02 pm

Wayne

Nothing is going to happen; most of the fanbase will live off last years tipped pass for probably another decade

Penn wagers loser

November 16th, 2013
10:03 pm

Why is Penn Wagers ever calling another GA game. Some many obvious trumped up calls but the missed holding call by 73 left tackle on the miracle would have never happened cause Ray Drew would have planted Marshall, sad sick feeling after this RIP OFF,

ShowMeYurTD's

November 16th, 2013
10:04 pm

FSU may just jump to #1 and BAMA #2 in the BCS on style points alone.

Bill Moses

November 16th, 2013
10:06 pm

The winning td wasn’t just bad luck, it was bad coaching. If Grantham was good at his job those DBs would have been reminded to knock the ball down before the snap. I’d bet good money it never crossed Grantham’s second rate mind. Why is it Bama has so little ”bad luck” ? It’s because Saban prepares his players infinitely better than Grantham prepares his players.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

November 16th, 2013
10:07 pm

Dawg4Ever

Coach Dooley had 3 SEC championships and 3 one loss seasons by his 13th season; Richt has only 1 one loss season

Coach Dooley never went over 7 years without an SEC championship

and Coach Dooley never had near the talent Richt is able to get now

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing can Stop it

November 16th, 2013
10:08 pm

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

November 11th, 2013
9:33 am

35

Remember now we were told this year our O-line was our strong point

And sorry 35 but “the defense has turned the corner”

UGA 35 Auburn 17 (the defense has turned the corner)

IT WAS APP STATE!!! LMAO!

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing can Stop it

November 16th, 2013
10:09 pm

I can’t quit….

Turned the corner! HAHAHA
APP STATE!!!!

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing can Stop it

November 16th, 2013
10:11 pm

Do you football morons still blame the most prolific quarterback in SEC history on your inability to tackle people?!?

PDawg5960

November 16th, 2013
10:12 pm

The only ones who should be fired are all the couch sitting crybaby fans !!!!!

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing can Stop it

November 16th, 2013
10:14 pm

So what will the most prolific passer in the history of the SEC call his signature win?

Would it be from the Outback bowl?
Perhaps beating UT in 2013
So many championships to choose from.

Recruits please take notice; don’t waste your time playing for a team with a defense that has to Turn the Corner against App State.

HAAAAAA

November 16th, 2013
10:16 pm

Flat Tire needs to take a dose of reality. CMR has 2 SEC championships in which he had to win on the field unlike Dooley. Also, Dooley only had to compete with Bama where CMR has FL, Alabama, LSU, and Auburn. Just a few years ago, fair weather fans like you were crying for Muschamp to replace CMR and now look at Florida. Now everyone wants Kirby Smart. I guarantee Smart won’t win as many games as CMR. Stick with him and he will win it all one day.

david

November 16th, 2013
10:17 pm

i never comment but was the last play of the game a helmet to helmet hit? If so ant punishment to defender or officials?
thanks