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.

Find me on Facebook.

Follow me on Twitter.

— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

343 comments Add your comment

Donald

November 17th, 2013
7:38 pm

It’s about time that Georgia’s luck ran out. They should have lost to Tennessee.

Debriefer

November 17th, 2013
7:39 pm

How many assistant coaches have been fired from Georgia since Mark Richt became HC?

Nick Saban has never fired an assistant coach at Alabama. The ones who left Alabama left for promotions. Being “7 yards away from a National Title” is a fancy way of saying “we lost”… Again.

Bulldawg35

November 17th, 2013
7:48 pm

I wish Richt would of punched penn wagers…then Richt would of been fired and maybe wagers would of been dramitized….and quit his job…would of knocked out 2 problems with one stone.

thomp

November 17th, 2013
7:52 pm

You can blame everyone, but bottom-line the two UGA safeties are too duml. They are just too dumb… What else explains why they would not just let the ball hit the ground?

Dumbest play in Georgia history!

JB at home

November 17th, 2013
7:53 pm

News Flash: Outside of the 50 or regulars on here, nobody reads this trash. No one. I would think only 400 to 500 people read these blogs. I talk to fellow Dawg fans about them and they don’t what the Hell I’m talking about. This blog is a small group of frustrated fans and trolls.

BankerDawg

November 17th, 2013
7:54 pm

Donald – Auburn out played GA defenitely for 3 qtrs. I don’t know where your defense went in the 4th. If I were an Aubarn fan I would have some doubts going into the iron bowl. Our safety tipped the ball to your receiver and you guys won. Case closed. I would be thumping my chest about winning that way. Hear this from a GA fan, wins over inferior teams by way of weak schedules is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Go win the Iron bowl and then come back on here. I’ll be the first one to say that you’ve done something.

BankerDawg

November 17th, 2013
7:56 pm

What’s your point JB?

NCDawg

November 17th, 2013
7:56 pm

Troll – you are delusional… you always have been. You are an irrational, hate filled sociopath. No right minded person dwells in the negative the way you and a few others here do. Just the facts.

I had to go do REAL life things so I left… I knew you’d blow up andI goaded that out of you on purpose.

Here is how it works because I know that you are psychologically, emotionally, and mentally incapable of figuring it out:

When YOU beat someone that is ranked they inevitably fall in the rankings. If Auburn beats Bama they can say they beat the #1 team in the country… even though Bama will no longer be ranked #1.

Simple logic and only a fool that has his brains turned to mush by hate would argue with it.

Pitiful…

BankerDawg

November 17th, 2013
7:57 pm

Are you a frustrated fan or troll?

NCDawg

November 17th, 2013
7:59 pm

Mobile Dawg
November 17th, 2013
5:45 pm

If Grantham is fired probably 2 of those 3 are taken care of. We don’t have an assigned coach for Special Team because we have 2 LB coaches. It’s likely that a new DC would have only 1 LB coach, thus room for a STC.

BankerDawg

November 17th, 2013
8:01 pm

NCDawg – do you think Richt will fire Grantham?

Bulldawg35

November 17th, 2013
8:02 pm

Tray Mathews would of done better to just turn around and let the ball hit him in the back for crying out loud! I think auburn just caught us off guard on that final play!!!! The young defense celebrated to early! I’m sick of this mediocrity! We are cursed!

Bulldawg35

November 17th, 2013
8:04 pm

I predict Grantham will be fired this year…..after the tech game! We will not stop tech this year! That’s no credit to tech either….cuz we can’t stop anybody!!!!!!!!!!!

BankerDawg

November 17th, 2013
8:13 pm

A loss to the Nerds would be unconscionable

The Habsburg Connection

November 17th, 2013
8:15 pm

Buh bye to the dwags, wait’ll next year!

Saint Jan Kemp

November 17th, 2013
8:19 pm

The wheels of justice grind slowly, but grind they do. So, another Dream Team coming up to disappoint?

BankerDawg

November 17th, 2013
8:24 pm

Sorry to disappoint you Count Habsburg, our season ended with the loss to Vandy. Your a few weeks too late in “rubbing it in”.

Bulldawg35

November 17th, 2013
8:25 pm

Poor Aaron Murray I feel sorry for him….he has been running for his life the hole season. If Richt doesn’t want to recruit great lineman or can’t get them to dignify with UGA. Then we need to switch to the spread!

BankerDawg

November 17th, 2013
8:26 pm

Troll alert – the Nerds just left the tummy stick meeting and have ascended on the board

dawgfan

November 17th, 2013
8:29 pm

“When YOU beat someone that is ranked they inevitably fall in the rankings.”

No, when Tennessee and Ole Miss beat someone after YOU beat them they fall out of the Top 10 and you cannot say that you beat a Top 10 team anymore because ….get this smart guy….THEY AREN’T A TOP 10 TEAM ANYMORE.

You are beyond clueless.

dawgfan

November 17th, 2013
8:33 pm

“Are you a frustrated fan or troll?”

Both. I want Richt gone. The only thing that interests me about Georgia football anymore is getting rid of Mark Richt. Therefore, that’s what I post about. If I cared about what meaningless bowl game we go to I would post about that, but I don’t care. If I cared about next year then I would post about next year, but I don’t care. I’ve lost all faith in the direction of this program under Mark Richt.

If this makes me a troll then I’m a troll. Whatever.

Buzz-off

November 17th, 2013
8:39 pm

Dawgfan,

You are not a troll……just a blatant fool!!!!

BankerDawg

November 17th, 2013
8:47 pm

Buzz Off- nice win over Clemson. Oh that’s right, you got destroyed. Calling a GA fan on a GA blog a troll is the definition of a “blatant fool”.

Dawgfan – I aimed that question at JB. By your definition, I guess I am a troll too. My posts are about recognizing what’s wrong with our program and improving on it. The facts point to Richt being the problem. How any fan, after the last 8 seasons, can rationally conclude anything else is baffling.

sick of Richt

November 17th, 2013
8:51 pm

As a Georgia fan, what for me are the takeaways for this season?
Quarterbacking grade is A. Aaron Murray is a class act and I wish him a great career in the NFL.
Running backs. Grade A-. Todd Gurley is the best in the nation, and Brendan Douglas ain’t bad either.
Offensive line. Grade C. Too inconsistent. Some good performances, but far too many penalties and mailing in efforts in others.
Receivers. Grade B. Can’t fault the efforts of the group that’s managed to make it thus far with no season ending injuries.

Defense against run. Grade D. Couldn’t contain, couldn’t tackle, poor at pressuring quarterbacks. Ray Drew is the only player on DL that would start for a good SEC team.
Linebackers. See previous comment except there’s no Ray Drew in this group.
Pass defense. You guessed it: F. Can’t cover, can’t tackle. Only highlights shown of this group are of them chasing receivers after a catch.

Mike Bobo. grade B. His play calling is infuriating at times, but his charges are not the problem

Todd Grantham. Is there a grade worse than F because he deserves it. He couldn’t make a good unit last year with some fine players, and this year with marginal talent (think Damian Swann for openers) has been a disaster.

Special teams. As far as I know there’s no coach to grade, but if there was, the grade would be D. Poor snaps, blocked punts, no return game ( it looks like whichever player asks first to receive a punt gets the job) and every kickoff is a heart stopping adventure. Only Marshall Morgan’s field goal kicking keeps this from being an F. grade is D.

Mark Richt. Mark Richt. What can I say? He’s had his chance at Georgia and it’s time for new leadership. Refused to concentrate on special teams. Is stubborn despite poor results. Accepts mediocrity from his coaching staff. Unable to “coach up” players. And is the worst in the history of college football at clock management. Grade F.

Dawg4life

November 17th, 2013
8:51 pm

Ah man, some of you die hard fans really need to take the blue pill and wake up instead of the kool aid pill.

This is a disaster, We ranked in the top 5 in the nation in recruiting for the last TEN……10…TEN years….. Where are the results on the field…….
Since Richt has been there name one year we didn’t start a season with a started suspended….
Scott/Wesley will be suspended for 2014……..

But you guys are still parading around that game from last year…..we came 5 yards short, ran out of time….We had the better team on paper….. NFL Talent…….nothing to show for it!
Remember when blair walsh had that awful senior season, but his first year in the NFL he goes to the pro bowl…… Why…..Coaching…..

Richt did what he could for Georgia, he built us up and we started beating tech and won two SEC championships. but after 2006 we have been average. Uf has won two NC since then, Auburn has won it, LSU has won it, Bama has won it, and we will never win it with this staff.

But hey, as long as we beat tech you guys seem to be happy. and we wonder why the top talent leaves the state…. they leave to go to a team that is well disciplined and is led by a man who puts football first over feel good stories.

Lets go to the pool….. hey lets watch some film…. Remember, this was suppose to be our year…just like last year, and the one before that……..

Jep Palmer

November 17th, 2013
9:04 pm

Coach Cornbread Granthum…his defenses always crumble, we do have a well rounded defense we can’t stop the pass or run, the guy is a overpaid blow hard period. This is based on his 5 years of work not just this year.
We have heard it all.. first two years: ” He needs to get his players in place to run his scheme”
Year three: ” Were almost there just need more depth”.
Year four: ” All those talented players are looking toward the NFL and not giving 100%.
Year five: “Well we are a young defense”.
Bottom line he can’t coach defense period.

Macclenny_dawg

November 17th, 2013
9:22 pm

Time for the energy vampire to go.

NCDawg

November 17th, 2013
9:37 pm

BankerDawg
November 17th, 2013
8:01 pm

Not sure yet… but given the chance to give a true vote of confidence, Coach Richt used the “we win as a team and we lose as a team” line instead. It’s what has to be done to hold the team together but he DID NOT say he was pleased with the defense overall. He has done that before in a similar situation.

Grantham is not stupid… he is too smart for his own good. He concocted a defense that if run properly should be able to stop just about anything while still putting pressure on the QB. It was meant for PROS. Problem is these kids don’t have the time necessary to learn it. That’s it bottom line. It’s a complicated scheme that has too much room for error.

If he is fired Chris Wilson may be the only survivor but that is only a 50/50 chance. That is dependent on who the replacement is of course.

I’d say it is highly dependent on what happens in the next couple of games. Struggle against Tech and that may be the fait accompli…win or lose. And no, firing him now is not the way to go about it. But we would need to work fast after the season is over so we can save the recruits. And yes, there are some guys who committed JUST to play for him.

Again, the lack of an out right vote of confidence is telling.

NCDawg

November 17th, 2013
9:38 pm

Jep Palmer – this is year 4 BTW. He was hired in 2010.

Flo-Ri-Duh

November 17th, 2013
9:39 pm

I am really enjoying all the whining by you hypocrites on here. 99% of you have never played a down of football other than in your backyard. You have no clue of how violent football is. All you can do is criticise others and obviously you have never accomplished a thing with your lives. YOU are the losers. You are pathetic.

Troll

November 17th, 2013
9:45 pm

TrishaDishaWarEagle

November 17th, 2013
10:10 pm

Just a reminder, if you do go all lane kiffin and fire everybody, you can pick up resume’s for Brian VanGorder and Trooper Taylor at the piggly wiggly in opelika, AL.

Scott young

November 17th, 2013
11:10 pm

I learned in 3rd grade to knock down a pass with the lead at the end of a game.
Being paid $900,000 to coach those basics and not even mentioning to bat down the upcoming pass lat nite after a time out is INEXCUSABLE. With a mediocre D we win last nite and we win a national championship last season.
We will clear over $50 mil in profit again this yr. Pay top dollar for a top D Coordinator.
We tried to hire Foster, Chavis and then Johnson before hiring a guy who had never been successful as a college coordinator. Clemson wants to get over the hump and win big and pay to do so. Spend the money and get a top, proven talent to lead our D.

Debriefer

November 18th, 2013
7:47 am

Hawaii defeated the #1 team in the nation to start their season last year.

Just sayin…

NCDawg: “Everything is just perfect in Athens. How can the rest of you trolls not see this?”

Jason

November 18th, 2013
8:05 am

“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.”

Or more accurately…If Auburn had played the 4th quarter like the first 3 they would have scored 77 points.

Reality check folks, UGA was never in this game. They didn’t lose by a fluke. They got back in it by fluke.

DawgAllTheWay

November 18th, 2013
8:24 am

It was a freak ass play! Lady Luck!

And if you don’t like Murray, you need to try another sport! You don’ know anything about football! Murray is not only a Qb, but a true football player.

Why even go to that side of the ball. If we had a defense that knew how to tackle, we would be undefeated! Period!

DawgAllTheWay

November 18th, 2013
8:27 am

Wrong Jason! It’s Auburn’s job to stop the other team. They didn’t! Georgia showed them how weak they are. Georgia’s D was in better shape. Showed up in the 4th quarter.
Without the rarely called penalty on the punt and the Wrong call on the Ga fumble recovery. Dawgs win.

DawgAllTheWay

November 18th, 2013
8:29 am

No way in hades that Album beats Alabama!

Roger

November 18th, 2013
8:44 am

As a Bulldog fan, very disappointed in the lack of discipline on this team. Did I say “Team”? No, these two guys were more interested in putting an INT by their names rather than winning a big game as a team. Every 12-year old playing the game knows you knock that ball down!

Does anyone believe that a Nick Saban team would have blown the game like that?

Mark Richt is a nice guy, but obviously 2nd tier coach. He could start by make the team wear white socks, such as Alabama and as required in NFL, rather than “letting the players run the team” wearing gang-style black.

KC Dase

November 18th, 2013
10:16 am

Bulldawg35

November 17th, 2013
7:48 pm

I wish Richt would of punched penn wagers…then Richt would of been fired and maybe wagers would of been dramitized….and quit his job…would of knocked out 2 problems with one stone.

BEST POST YET…….THIS IS GREAT

bobby

November 18th, 2013
4:34 pm

if anybody saw on the hail mary that was ray drew was clearly held on that play and the refs did’nt call it once again the refs caused uga a game.

Dawg Whiner

November 18th, 2013
6:12 pm

Its not fair. The ref are against! We have too many injuries. Everyone plays dirty! We never cheat or play dirty! The calls never go our way. We are so unlucky! It’s not fair. Waaaah!

A Real Coach

November 20th, 2013
9:31 pm

You guys don’t know what you are talking about!! The DC does need to go, but Dooley’s record doesn’t come close to Richt’s. The problem on that pass play is called GREED!! Those 2 players pure and simple is – they were thinking about themselves and the” INT” stat. Even in Middle School, you are taught to knock the ball down on 4th down !!!