UGA’s Murray: ‘We could have pulled out a couple more wins’

A good Murray moment: Tavarres King catches a touchdown pass. (AP photo)

A Murray moment: Tavarres King snags a touchdown. (AP photo)

A note: This ran in today’s print AJC. I present it to you, our digital patrons, in the interest of full disclosure.

Tampa — Aaron Murray tried to put on a happy face, but it was a struggle. Georgia’s quarterback returned home for the Outback Bowl and will leave not as a conquering hero but as one of the causes of his team’s demise.

“I think the whole Dog Nation is very excited about this team,” Murray said afterward. “I know we’re very excited.”

The blare of a turnaround season was muted by the doings here Monday. Georgia led 16-0 but lost 33-30 in three overtimes, and the crazy game turned in the third quarter on two Murray interceptions. The first led to Michigan State’s first touchdown. The second became the Spartans’ second touchdown, and it marked the fourth time this season a Murray interception had been returned for a score.

On the first interception, Murray scrambled right and spotted Tavarres King open over the middle. He expected King to backtrack. Instead King turned and went deeper. Murray’s pass was intercepted by a diving Darqueze Dennard.

“There was a little miscommunication in the scramble drill,” Murray said.

The second interception, also taken by Dennard, was a product of a quick Murray read and a tipped throw to his left. “It got nicked,” Murray said, “and got a little off-course.”

Dennard’s 38-yard return cut Georgia’s lead to two points. Asked if he felt he’d let the grasping Spartans back in the game, Murray said: “I don’t think so. We were still up 16-14. We still kept playing. Our guys have shown all year they’re not going to fold.”

Michigan State took a 20-19 lead with 8:22 to play, whereupon Murray led Georgia’s best drive of a halting day. He threw four passes, completing three, for 83 yards and ultimately a go-back-ahead touchdown to redeployed defender Brandon Boykin. Then Murray found Malcolm Mitchell for a two-point conversion. Georgia led 27-20 with 6:44 to play.

But it wouldn’t hold. The Bulldogs couldn’t run out the clock, choosing to run up the middle to force the Spartans to use their timeouts, and were undone when Michigan State tied it with 14 seconds remaining in regulation. In overtime, three Georgia possessions lost a total of four yards. Murray threw four passes in the OTs, all incomplete.

Murray’s final numbers: Twenty completions in 32 attempts, 288 yards passing, two touchdowns, two interceptions, one lost fumble, four sacks. Not the worst day ever, but not good enough.

Asked about Murray, coach Mark Richt said: “Aaron’s future is very bright. He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the country in my mind and he’ll be one of the better quarterbacks who’ll be returning. He’s a guy we’ve got an awful lot of faith in. He’s human; he’s going to make mistakes.”

Speaking of 2012, Murray said: “As a team, we’re definitely excited about the future. But we definitely could have pulled out a couple of more wins.”

Someone wondered if this loss, coming as it did 4.6 miles from Plant High, Murray’s alma mater, hurt worse than the others. “It’s the same,” Murray said. “A loss is a loss.”

By Mark Bradley

990 comments Add your comment

george p. burdell

January 3rd, 2012
12:28 pm

just a blip on the ascent MB. Richt has ‘em poised for greatness. Dream Team. It’s all in the slogan!

Tech Man

January 3rd, 2012
12:28 pm

Supes

January 3rd, 2012
12:31 pm

Mark,

any more “softball” questions for Aaron or Coach Richt? Fire away…don’t be shy next time.

GIVE ME A BREAK

January 3rd, 2012
12:31 pm

Murray needs to read some of the comments on the blogs if he thinks everyone is excited about this team.

We Have Conference Pride

January 3rd, 2012
12:32 pm

UNFORETUNAELY

January 3rd, 2012
12:34 pm

Murray’s good gets canceled with the bad he does in games agianst good competition. I just don’t think he’s got what it takes to take this team to the next level…

chaz

January 3rd, 2012
12:34 pm

What happened to Orson? QB & OC need to do what it takes to get your best offensive player the ball. No excuse for not ever throwing to him.

BamaDawg

January 3rd, 2012
12:35 pm

Does anyone else think Murray might have a gambling problem that causes him to nut up and equalize games? Or do you think that Murray and Walsh were cells planted on the UGA football team to destroy us by the state of Florida?

DawgEd

January 3rd, 2012
12:36 pm

This game was a wake-up call for next year’s dreams.

We are on the ascent, but won’t get there without developing the killer instinct, as CTG noted after the game. As the commentators said when the Dawgs went up 16-0, “Michigan State is in danger of letting this thing get out of control.” A tier-one team would have made that happen.

Vance Duly

January 3rd, 2012
12:36 pm

The next article should be an interview with Coach Bobo to have him justify his ultra-conservative and totally UNSUCCESSFUL strategy of crawling into a turtle shell, instead of taking the game to Michigan State in the 4th quarter. We BLEW the game due to player mistakes AND terrible play-calling decisions. Did Georgia call more than 2 different tailback plays during the game? There were no toss sweeps, almost no attempts to get outside. We ran 39 times for 51 yards, so what does Bobo do? He continues to call the same running plays, and we lose…………Michigan St’s strength on defense was its LINE, so that is where Bobo chose to run over and over and over.

We may be “stacked” going into 2012, but with the same “play not to lose” offensive strategy, I don’t see how it would be possible to contend for a national title. Our offensive play-calling is NOT national championship caliber. GO DAWGS!

UGASlobberknocker

January 3rd, 2012
12:36 pm

Bobo has to gogo. that was pathetic

Cant Richt at least send his staff to Oregon or Okla State to get some tips? or steal the playbook?

Get me Rex Kramer

January 3rd, 2012
12:37 pm

If anyone really believes CMR can elevate this program to a consistent 1st tier SEC team, then you are not watching the same games as I am. Good man, but clearly does not have what it takes to compete with Saban, Miles etc.

UGASlobberknocker

January 3rd, 2012
12:37 pm

Definition of loser:

Tech Man..who has nothing better to do than to go on the Ga blog and put “first”.
that is pathetic

jj

January 3rd, 2012
12:38 pm

to the blogger “We Have Conference Pride”

what is a dwag? just asking

We Have Conference Pride

January 3rd, 2012
12:39 pm

1eyedJack

January 1st, 2012
10:31 am
I’m glad Awbun won the game for the SEC. But, I hate ‘em. 45-7.

SEC! SEC! SEC! LOL!

Paul H

January 3rd, 2012
12:39 pm

The play-not-to-lose attitude costs this team in big games. Did LSU go into conservative mode when they took a 14-10 lead over UGA in the SEC Championship? The final score says no.

We Have Conference Pride

January 3rd, 2012
12:40 pm

jj

January 3rd, 2012
12:38 pm
to the blogger “We Have Conference Pride”

what is a dwag? just asking

We cheer for the Dwags! Go Dwags!

http://i.imgur.com/KFfDc.jpg

SoGaDawg

January 3rd, 2012
12:41 pm

I believe he should have said we were lucky to not have lost a couple of more. I love the Dawgs, always will. But what I saw yesterday was more of the same that I’ve seen for the past few years. No strength and great execution by the O line. It’s horrible, has been and will be and no one seems to want to acknowledge it. Time and time again when Ga plays a good to really good team the weakness and inability of the O line to move the line forward and to pass block shows and it hurts the play. UGA’s O line was manhandled by a smaller Boise D line in the first game and it was manhandled by the equally sized D line of Michigan St yesterday. There really no excuse for it other than coaching. If people don’t believe that the O line doesn’t make a huge difference. Look back over Bama’s and LSU’s O line and watch the push they get to move the line forward and also look at the average time they’re lines give the QB to make a good throw. Murray’s two interceptions came from poor blocking and having to hurry his throws. A Highschool coach should be able to see that if Ga’s O line was better, it would be a completely different team.

DP

January 3rd, 2012
12:42 pm

Oh yeah, Richt has a lot of faith in Murray. That’s why he ran the ball up the middle 3 straight times and punted with a 7 point lead late in the 4th quarter, and why he sat on the ball in OT and tried a long field goal on 3rd down.

And disgracefully, Mark Bradley refers to Aaron Murray as “one of the causes of his team’s demise” but can’t bring himself to acknowledge the obvious, that Mark Richt choked and was outcoached and then laid the fault for the loss at the feet of his players.

Veritas

January 3rd, 2012
12:42 pm

Bobo, God bless him, has wore out his welcome as OC. QB coach would be fine but OC he ain’t. Get a proven OC who is innovative and can make good adjustments on the fly. Then we will blow the lid off this thing.

KOOL AID DRINKERS

January 3rd, 2012
12:42 pm

wow must suck to be you morons, just two days ago, this was the team of the 2nd coming, now it is just a bunch of LOSERS, I realize how tough it can be to actually have to play somebody

almost better than losing to Central Florida

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

schmeckdawg

January 3rd, 2012
12:42 pm

Asked about Murray, coach Mark Richt said: “Aaron’s future is very bright. He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the country

*******************************************************************************************************

Champagne stats and beer wins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We Have Conference Pride

January 3rd, 2012
12:43 pm

Hunker Dwon You Hairy Dwags!

Dawg Man

January 3rd, 2012
12:43 pm

Who is this idiot fooling—he beat the teams they could, just lucky to have beaten Florida, what a moron. Why didnt he beat Michigan State yesterday—who caught his 3 interceptions, certainly not his teammates.

Reporting

January 3rd, 2012
12:43 pm

MB goes way to easy on AM, CMR and the entire DAWGS when reporting. He and the DAWGS are both overrated.

autotrader

January 3rd, 2012
12:44 pm

I remember when I played high school football, Whenever, we got our tails whipped, somebody would say, ” YEP, WE GOT BEAT BUT JUST WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR!!!!!!!”
Seems like things never change, this is the message from the dawgs QB.

Send'em U hauls

January 3rd, 2012
12:44 pm

Same ole same ole…… We are excited about next year. Our QB play is a joke, Our offensive line play is a joke, Our play calling is a joke and our defense looked like Willie Martinez was back with the stupid prevent D to tie the game in regulation. Will friend is a joke. Hope McGarity makes some heads roll!

Willie Martinez

January 3rd, 2012
12:44 pm

This loss, like others in the past three or four years, was embarrassing and one that should never have happened. Long past time for a coaching change in Athens.

Big Wally

January 3rd, 2012
12:45 pm

Typical Georgia philosophy. Forget about the dumb plays that cost you the game and only remember the highlight plays. Murray still makes the same dumb decisions he made as a Freshman. Then again, no one at Georgia really improves due to the lack of coaching.

Coop

January 3rd, 2012
12:45 pm

CMR and CMS share the same delusion that getting a lead and holding on is the only way to win. Neither will ever win a championship. UGA should have won that game 30 – 0. Pathetic.

DAWG with two bags over head

January 3rd, 2012
12:45 pm

The “couple of more games” were the ones (SC, MSU) in which his mistakes and lack of respect for the football cost us the game. I can’t believe he won’t man up and take full responsibility. His mistakes turned the momentum and lost the game yesterday. The SC game was almost a carbon copy with interceptions and a fumble.

Those of us who follow Murray on Twitter knew he was going to have a rough day. All week he complained about having to wait so long to play and that he was really nervous about the game. Murray is not the answer folks. He’s not a big game quarterback. He’s just a nice kid that’s drinking too much of Richt’s Koolaide. I feel for Mason and LeMay. They’ll NEVER get a fair chance to be the starter.

Tim

January 3rd, 2012
12:45 pm

he says they could have won a few more games——they also could have lost a couple more games too (Vandy-Florida). I thought they were lucky to win those.

Non believer again

January 3rd, 2012
12:46 pm

Fact: In life you perform in job or move on. It is now being said by the Grudens of the world or the local sportscasters or some ESPN casters, that UGA will be pre season Top 5 or Top 10. Fine.

With that in mind, Mark Richt HAS a contract and it is under consideration for an extension and it will be decided this time next year with on year remaining. In other words, he has two years to PROVE that he is a top drawer SEC caliber coach and he makes millions and millions for that effort. Contract? No, he already HAS a contract.

No extension. Period. If recruits scram …………..so be it.

Send'em U hauls

January 3rd, 2012
12:47 pm

Mark Richt has let our program fallen behind South Carolina. All you Richt apologist are just like him……. a bunch of clowns!

GT Man

January 3rd, 2012
12:48 pm

At least you blew a 16 point lead to a ranked team, try my coaching staff and lose a 14 point lead to a 7-5 Utah team. Dont worry about Murray, against our D.C. ” coach” Al Groh’s 3-4, Murray will have Heisman stats

PMC

January 3rd, 2012
12:48 pm

It will be interesting what the attitude will be if Murray is outplayed again in the spring.

Mike

January 3rd, 2012
12:48 pm

UGA was a young team this year overall with a lot of new faces stepping in, especially on offense. That means there will be mistakes. Still, Mike Bobo’s offense continues to bumble through second half’s of ball games. The difference yesterday was MSU is good enough to make them pay. MSU’s defense adjusted to UGA’s gamplan, and Bobo continued to show a lack of ability to adjust himself.

UGA needed ONE first down…just one in that final drive. Anything in the field of play would cause MSU to run timeouts. Running up the gut had been a disaster all day, so what does Bobo do? He runs up the gut THREE straight times for a grand total of 2 yards. In OT, the Dawgs needed to get Walsh closer. Bobo runs Thomas again, then slips Murray to the middle of the field for essentially no gain. Walsh has missed most kicks over 40 yards this year.

Seriously, Murray makes mistakes, but Bobo’s galactically conservative play calling on the final drive and in OT is what sealed this loss. Bobo continues to stubbornly call up the gut runs like they will magically start working instead of calling plays that might actually move the ball. You have to call the plays that will give the team a chance to win.

PMC

January 3rd, 2012
12:48 pm

Maybe stop running the ball and fumbling so much too.

gadawgs

January 3rd, 2012
12:49 pm

Did Murray actually say that “I don’t think so” when asked if HE let Mich St back in the game with his two picks (and don’t forget the fumble either). Really??????? That IS exactly how they got back in the game you idiot. That’s why Murray will never be an elite QB or leader he should have said yes it was on me and I let my team down. I need to take care of the ball and not nut up when it matters most. Unbelievable.

Dinkdunk

January 3rd, 2012
12:49 pm

Great year dogs, we’ll I mean pretty good. Good thing the scheds a little weak next year also. Probably only lose 3-4 again.

Posted from my -won’t pay up for the AJC app- Ipad

Shonuff

January 3rd, 2012
12:50 pm

If Georgia would have just run the ball 3 times and then punted the entire second half they would have probably won the game.

We Have Conference Pride

January 3rd, 2012
12:50 pm

It’s still great to be a Bulldwag!

reality gator

January 3rd, 2012
12:51 pm

Thanks puppies for not making it a Sec sweep yesterday: I guess this is what happens when you have a weak schedule: Dogs still have not beat a team with a wining record this year.
A big lead and puppies could not closed the show and these hard up fans at UGA are once again celebrating moral lose, what a bunch of losers””

Scott

January 3rd, 2012
12:51 pm

OF COURSE THEY’RE EXCITED ABOUT NEXT YEAR

THEY DONT FREAKING PLAY ANYONE

of course, that wont stop Bradley & co from falling over themselves to proclaim how great UGA is

Send'em U hauls

January 3rd, 2012
12:51 pm

Oh please stop the young team crap. This team has played 14 games. Our offensive line wasnt that young they were a bunch of puds getting whipped game in and game out. Even Vandy whipped our offensive line.

gadawgs

January 3rd, 2012
12:51 pm

Also…Bobo is a complete moron as an OC. But…if 11 had not made those bone headed turnovers it would not have come down to the last possession or OT. That being said Bobo needs to be relieved of his OC responsibilities immediately.

Enter your comments here

January 3rd, 2012
12:52 pm

BLAIR WALSH IS TERRIBLE

Herschel Talker

January 3rd, 2012
12:52 pm

MB:

Yeah we could have pulled out a couple more wins if Mark Richt knew how to coach. Great job in OT there, Mr. Richt. I wonder if he’ll give Bobo a raise out of his pocket for that second half and OT playcalling.

HT

Mike

January 3rd, 2012
12:53 pm

Bobo also managed to forget Orson Charles was on the team and what a weapon he can be at TE. Just like he managed to forget A J. Green was back against Colorado last year. Bobo is an excellent QB coach who is just not ready yet to be an OC. If Richt is bent on mentoring Bobo as he seems to be, he needs to put him back at QB coach. Then he could get a more experienced OC in here calling the plays who Bobo might actually learn from.

gadawgs

January 3rd, 2012
12:53 pm

And Reality Gator….This fan is not celebrating anything. This loss was horrible and inexcusable.