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

Bulldawg35

November 17th, 2013
11:08 am

That fluke play will come back to haught Richt for the rest of his career. Just like not spiking the ball last year against Bama!

Bulldawg35

November 17th, 2013
11:10 am

Did y’all know….that we are 0-3 against teams with tigers as their mascots?

Did y’all know that we are 1-3 on the road this year?

Mcgarity do something!!!!!!!!!

Roswell Dawg

November 17th, 2013
11:11 am

I-Dog,

Agree with the teachable moment concept, but history says a Richt coached team will overlook the opportunity. No attention to detail, no total commitment to put the best prepared team on the field, lack of discipline on or off the field.

dawgfan

November 17th, 2013
11:12 am

Mark Richt: “It just didn’t quite happen.”

Well said coach. That about sums up the past 13 seasons of Georgia football. Richt should be inducted in to the Capital One bowl hall of fame with that quote as a caption.

I-DOG

November 17th, 2013
11:12 am

NC Dawg:

I didn’t think that was a bogus call on the jumping penalty against UGA on that punt. I think that gets called 95 out of a 100 times and is an easy and the correct call to make. Whether it is a good rule or not is another story, but it appears that some of the players on the punt return team don’t know/understand the rule. You can leave your feet IF you get by the protection unit, but we looked clueless and poorly coached on that play.

It would be the same thing if we had 5 guys off the line of scrimmage on offense or are lined up in the neutral zone on defense. Players need to have a basic understanding of the rules and we clearly don’t.

kybodawg

November 17th, 2013
11:15 am

two series we played aggressive, we sacked marshal twice, to get them to fourth and 18. then we rush 2 and you give the qb time to stand back there and pick where you want to throw. there will be a play ,one of 3 things will happen its complete, you get a penalty, or you make a play, the prevent doesn’t prevent anything but a win. gata and make him make a quick throw under pressure. this season had a warn how it would go when gurly tweeked his mammie on the first touch where he went 70 yds and mitcheal blew out his knee celebrating. sometimes it happens know anybody who ever married the wrong woman.

Desert Fox

November 17th, 2013
11:18 am

amazing

November 16th, 2013
9:35 pm

Hit the nail on the head. Actually, only 2 of the 3 down LM rushed. The nose just stood there to contain, which is a joke against a mobile QB. CTG, along w/CMR for allowing it gave this game away and blame them not the two GA defenders trying to pic or knock the ball down. The coaches should have pressured the QB all 4 downs and did until the 4th. GA’s pass def has sucked all year and the prevent D only allowed opposing QB’s more time to launch their passes. When I saw what CTG had called I knew it was doom and gloom. These GA players on both sides of the ball had AU on their heels until the coaching staff let them and all true GA’s down. McGarity has got to feel the same way if he’s a Dawg at heart. To wait until the 4th qtr down 20 points then unleas the hounds when that’s exactly what the GA coaches should have been doing from the first GA series. Its just unacceptable. the coaches blew it and AM played his heart out.

Dawg4life

November 17th, 2013
11:22 am

This is our fault….All the fans who accept the coaching behind this team are to blame.
Hype hype hype…..reality……..
This team has a coaching problem, but since we can beat Georgia Tech every year it will never be corrected.

UGA State Champs………nothing more….

SMITTYSTHEMAN

November 17th, 2013
11:24 am

Should’ve never come down to that tipped ball in the first place. Replay of the go-ahead TD by Murray showed the ball did not cross the goal line until Murray’s knees were already down. If the play had been ruled correctly, Auburn would then have just simply ran the clock out. End of story. War Eagle!

Eric

November 17th, 2013
11:26 am

War Eagle!
It’s Great to be An Auburn Tiger!

SMITTYSTHEMAN

November 17th, 2013
11:27 am

And you can’t blame the jumping/leaping rule either. Even if it is a stupid rule (and it is), the players are coached not to do it. The guy did it, he was stupid, and he broke the rule. Period. Don’t blame it on the rule.

Eric

November 17th, 2013
11:27 am

You’re right Smitty. Murray did not score on that play. Dogs got a huge break there.
War Eagle!
It’s Great to be An Auburn Tiger!

CoffeeBluffDAWG

November 17th, 2013
11:28 am

Fluke for sure as we gave away another on D.

We need to blow UK away by half and get Mason in the game. He’ll be the man next yr and has to get some reps.

CoffeeBluffDAWG

November 17th, 2013
11:29 am

Eric,

Camera angles never showed knee was down – that’s why it wasn’t overturned.

SMITTYSTHEMAN

November 17th, 2013
11:35 am

If the play had been ruled a stop. the replays wouldn’t have overruled that either. Could/ve gone either way, but most announcers and ESPN guys agreed he was down before the ball crossed the goal line.

Bulldogged

November 17th, 2013
11:36 am

When I saw the 3-man rush, the first words out of my mouth were “Oh (word that rhymes with hit)”. I guess we didn’t learn much from the LSU game. Lots of time is a QB’s best friend.

Still…it was well defended. What a fluke.

Aubie

November 17th, 2013
11:43 am

The call that I had a problem with was on Auburn’s first possession. That catch at the 5 yard line was a catch and it wasn’t a fumble. This couldn’t have been any clearer on the replay film. Auburn should have been up 7-0 on the next one or two snaps instead of settling for a FG.

icedawg

November 17th, 2013
11:48 am

It was a surprise that the DAWGS gave Auburn the game that it did. They came that close to winning this one. If we had any semblance of a defense this season would have turned out much differently. But we did not and we have not for years. Consequently we could go 8-4 or 7-5 this year. A sad finale for Aaron Murray who has had another very good season. Unless something drastically improves on the defensive side of the ball we will continue to be a second tier team.

I-DOG

November 17th, 2013
11:51 am

On the Murray touchdown run. There wasn’t enough evidence on the replay screen to show that his knee was down before he broke the plane. It probably was down before he scored, but it wasn’t clear enough. If it was, the call would have been reversed.

If Murray had been called down, that call would have held up too. The replays just didn’t show a clear picture one way or the other, so the call on the field would have held up either way.

I think his knee was down before he got in but it was extremely close.

CoffeeBluffDAWG

November 17th, 2013
11:52 am

Aubie, yes it was a catch on poss 1 and was called incorrectly even after review.

But your guy fumbled and Clemons recovered clearly showed by the replay.

A lot of bad calls both ways but they seemed to about even out at the end of the game.

Dawg4life

November 17th, 2013
11:56 am

Guys,

Leave it alone and let it go….. We have peaked with this coach, but as long as we beat GA Tech that is considered a winning season….

I-DOG

November 17th, 2013
12:00 pm

Aubie,

Congrats on the win, but you are incorrect. The long pass to the 5 yard line was not a catch because the receiver must possess it all the way through hitting the ground. They got the call right on the review. It wasn’t even close. You may disagree with the rule, but that is the rule.

In terms of congratulating UGA for their “effort” and 60 minutes of play. I appreciate that sentiment, but UGA did not start giving any effort until there were 12 minutes left in the game and THEN they played their hearts out.

We would have lost to Vandy again last night had we played them with the effort our team gave.

Auburn had the game won, and then had one unlucky play where the two Auburn players ran into each other on 3rd and 4 and fell down. Auburn did not help themselves late in the game by throwing. If they ran the ball, UGA runs out of time and Murray never has a chance to get to the one foot line on that 4th and 5 for the go ahead score.

On one critical auburn drive before UGA’s go ahead drive. Auburn threw the ball three straight times getting zero yards. They ran about 20 seconds off the clock and UGA was able to save the timeouts. Had Auburn run the ball, I’m sure they would have gotten at least on first down and salted the last five minutes of the game away.

As prepared, motivated, and physical as Auburn was… the late game coaching was suspect for Auburn.

Auburn deserved the win, they played better and harder than UGA.

stendek

November 17th, 2013
12:02 pm

Have different take on Murray non TD.

Open up closed minds and bear with me.

I also believe ball should have been marked inside 1.

Hold off on tar and feathers and hear me out true fans.

War Eagle Tigers would have taken over in dire scenario.

Do not believe Dawg D would have seen any passes from EZ.

Dawgs still had timeouts so punt from end zone would have occurred.

Best case scenario would have had Dawgs 30 or so yards from end zone.

Believe Aaron Murray would have had time to negotiate those yards for win.

Leaving any victory up to defense is a sure way to turn certain victory into defeat.

Just saying.

Now about those tar and feathers…

stupid is as stupid does

November 17th, 2013
12:09 pm

Not sure where the intellect is with the kids on defense. There comes a point when you have to think for yourself on the field, that is IF you can think. After that play, it stands to reason that at least two starters on defense are not capable of thinking what should be common sense. If you’re on the field for an SEC school at the end of a critical game, you’ve been taught something right over the 10-15 years you been playing this game. So, at some point you have to use the brains God gave you and THINK for crying out loud. It should be instinct for a defender(s) to knock the ball down. That should have been running through their heads… KNOCK THE BALL DOWN…KNOCK THE BALL DOWN! At the end of the day these kids “ARE WHAT THEY DO”. their time to shine, their time to perform a simple, common sense action. “STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES”.

And on we suffer…..

carlos berenguer

November 17th, 2013
12:16 pm

Todd Grantham is the sorriest excuse for a DC ever. All that talent for naught. We should have lost to Tennessee and could have easily lost to LSU South Carolina and Florida if it had not been for the offense and specifically Aaron Murray keeping the ball from our defense to win the games. As far as Murray is concerned he is one of the best if not the best quarterbacks Georgia and the SEC has ever had and he would have won many championships if he had not had the horrible defenses of the last two years or playing for another team. We should thank him for staying an extra year and apologize for the lack of support he has had…

dawgfan

November 17th, 2013
12:18 pm

Hutson Mason will be our 5th starting quarterback since we last won an SEC title. Why on earth should things be any different with him at the helm?

It’s not the quarterback people. Never has been.

Real Problem

November 17th, 2013
12:22 pm

HAAAAAA, “Stick with Richt” he will win it all one day. My guess is the aliens will get us first. Go get a Georgia kid, Kirby Smart, and at least we will have a coach that will demand excellence.

Edvis

November 17th, 2013
12:24 pm

Lots of quality thinking on here — and I agree with the comment that we all finally known how Florida felt after “Run, Lindsay.” That play — executed by yet another great Georgia player who ended up somewhere else — may be the straw for this regime.

SatillaDawg

November 17th, 2013
12:27 pm

KNOCK IT DOWN!

sick of Richt

November 17th, 2013
12:28 pm

after Alabama wins another NC hiring Kirby Smart as head coach should be the paramount goal of McGarity

78Dawg

November 17th, 2013
12:29 pm

Let’s pull for Auburn over Bama. Bama has the most obnoxious fans in the nation. No class rednecks.

sick of Richt

November 17th, 2013
12:31 pm

Not because smart is a UGA alum (but that part would fire up the Dogs fan base too), but because this guy has been mentored by the best coach in college football and proven to be a great defensive coordinator. Sure, he might flop like muschamp, but this program will never be an elite team under Richt.

sick of Richt

November 17th, 2013
12:40 pm

Bobo’s not the problem. Sure his play calling is bizarre and too conservative at times, but with ANY kind of defense Georgia might be unbeaten this year rather than 6-4. Richt’s time has come and gone. This situation has come down to Richt staying at Georgia not even because of money but his ego. And UGA contributors are wasting our dollars on this “coach”. Someone said a long time ago doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.

Jim Ortiz

November 17th, 2013
12:50 pm

Didn’t ANYBODY see the same game I did?!? Dawgs fight back from 31 to 17 to go ahead 38 to 37, Auburn has the ball, they’re on 4th and 18 for a 1st down, or score. Grantham puts in a 3 MAN FRONT?!? WHERE IS THE BLITZ?!? In that situation, with the SEC EAST potentially on the line, you BLITZ!!!!!!! Put PRESSURE ON THE QB!!! HE WILL MAKE A MORE THAN LIKELY NOT COMPLETE THE PLAY!!!!!
CMR NEEDS TO REAM CTG A NEW ONE!!!!!
I have lost ALL confidence in CTG. Bring back CBVG!!!
GO DAWGS!!!!!!

TrishaDishaWarEagle

November 17th, 2013
12:58 pm

WAR DAMN EAGLE!!!

on behalf of the AU family, I want to congratulate Aaron Murray on a great college football career (2-2 vs AU) and a whale of a good game yesterday.

It’s GREAT to be an AUBURN TIGER!!!

War Eagle, fly down the field!
Ever to conquer, never to yield.
War Eagle, fearless and true,
Fight on you orange and blue.
Go! Go! Go!
On to vict’ry, strike up the band!
Give ‘em hell, give ‘em hell,
Stand up and yell, hey!
War Eagle, win for Auburn,
Power of Dixieland!

dawgfan

November 17th, 2013
1:03 pm

4 of the past 6 seasons with 4 losses or more. Even in the two good years there were games where we were completely overwhelmed and blown out.

There is nothing to get excited about anymore until there’s a change at the top.

1969 Graduate

November 17th, 2013
1:09 pm

I-DOG, I appreciate your comments.

_______________

I’m pretty sure we can beat Kentucky, but we’ll have to have some defense to beat Georgia Tech, I think.

I certainly hope we don’t go to a bowl game to further demonstrate how sorry our coaching staff is.

_______________

It will be interesting to see how Auburn and Alabama play. I suspect this Auburn team has a very good chance. Alabama is very good, but this sort of Auburn team plays to their relative weaknesses. I’ll cheer for Alabama, but enjoy the game no matter who wins.

Sabin will be likely to figure something out. He’s read somewhere about adapting, unlike our coaches.

I think Florida State beats Alabama though, if that game happens.

Maybe FSU loses to Florida (right!) and/or Auburn beats the Elephants. We’d get endless ESPN garbage about the wonderful, invincible, immortal Ohio State wonderkids. Then they’d lose to Baylor or somebody.

_______________

I’ve had it with our coaches, and their bosses.

Go, Dawgs!

Bulldawg35

November 17th, 2013
1:13 pm

When auburn caught that fluke td……my body went numb….I couldn’t move for 20 minutes! I was in otter shock and disbelief. I almost felt like crying!!!!!! I felt the same in2005 when auburn beat us on that same kind of pass play or whatever it was in 05. Just such a dish earthing loss….how does two safety guys collide with each other????? Just unreal!!!!

Bulldawg35

November 17th, 2013
1:15 pm

Trisha

Are y’all? Tigers or eagles or plainsman or turkey buzzards…..dang y’all are confused and dang lucky!

fish dawg

November 17th, 2013
1:24 pm

Enter your comments here

fish dawg

November 17th, 2013
1:25 pm

Hats off to Aaron Murray. Wish he had a defense and a good o-line during his career.

fish dawg

November 17th, 2013
1:27 pm

carlos berengue 12:16 thank you My thoughts exactly.

tomnsuwanee

November 17th, 2013
1:36 pm

The coaches didn’t lose this game, the two “hotdog” defensive backs that want to make sure they make the
TV replays shown on national sports shows are the idiots that cost the game. Any high school player knows
to just knock the pass down but hotdogs are only thinking of themselves. To hell with the coaches that spent
hundreds of hours in prep and all the hard work that the rest of the team had invested- this play was “all about
me” ! The helmet to helmet on Murray the play doesn’t count- its only “against” UGA that counts !

John

November 17th, 2013
1:56 pm

Murray always has good stats even in losses….after the opponent goes into prevent defense. He often has his best passing games in blow outs….what does that tell you? He’s a excellent garbage time QB, but does nothing when it counts.

big marv

November 17th, 2013
2:09 pm

The UGA players tipped the ball into the Auburns players hands—————–brilliant!!——Will UGA ever get out of this BS type of play ———–probably not. You pretty much know what the offense if going to do—–and the defense is terrible to say the least. Come on —Richt gets all this talent and they act like dumbos when they get on the field!!! Oh then the flags that did not come on the Auburn field—the fumble that UGA had and that was given to Auburn. Why did UGA not stomp that quarterback?? Again we will never never ever know——————-the half ass UGA way is really depressing. God help us—please.

7576DAWG

November 17th, 2013
2:10 pm

As I have stated before ” How many ways can one team find to beat themselves in one year”.
Let’s be honest, after the Vanderbilt lose because we played conservative , Does it really matter if we lose any or all of the rest of the games. Georgia was never going to be rated higher than 15TH even if they won out.
Now that we have been eliminated from the SEC East race and we are relegated to a very minor uninteresting Bowl game IS THERE ANY REASON THAT MASON CAN’T QUARTERBACK THE REST OF THE GAMES. WHAT REASON WOULD THERE BE NOT TO LET HIM PLAY.

dawgfan

November 17th, 2013
2:17 pm

To add insult to injury, Duke took our spot in the AP poll.

Macclenny_dawg

November 17th, 2013
2:19 pm

Coaches cost us every game. Its up to the coaches to know that your players have basic football knowledge. But remember we are talking about a inept staff. The end of the 1st half same scenario played out Murray had a chance to spike the ball but ran a play anyways. Have y’all forgot that. Its 4th and forever against LSU and we rush 3 they get 2st down. Its 4th and forever again we rush 3. Its bad coaching folks. Why is it we always trying to get a win the last minute of a game no matter who the opponent is??? Laid back conservative football. We play not to lose. The mindset of the players come straight from the coaches. Anytime you get half a fan base that wants their coach gone the only way to excite and reunite the fans is a change.

Aubie

November 17th, 2013
2:27 pm

CoffeeBluffDAWG

November 17th, 2013
11:52 am

Aubie, yes it was a catch on poss 1 and was called incorrectly even after review.

But your guy fumbled and Clemons recovered clearly showed by the replay.

A lot of bad calls both ways but they seemed to about even out at the end of the game.

==============================

No. He caught the ball, ran two steps, was tackled, maintained control of the ball without juggling it until the ball hit the ground. The ground can’t cause a fumble.

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