Notebook: Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray celebrates his birthday in style (updated)

Two plays after having to be helped off the field following a hard hit, Aaron Murray came back in the game and threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Tavarres King. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Two plays after having to be helped off the field following a hard hit, Aaron Murray came back in the game and threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Tavarres King. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

AUBURN, Ala. – For the first time since he can remember Aaron Murray’s parents weren’t at his football game. His father, Denny, recently underwent radiation treatment in Tampa and was unable to make the trip and his mother Stephanie remained back home at her husband’s side.

That it was Murray’s 22nd birthday made it a bigger bummer. But Mom and Dad sent their son his favorite treat — chocolate-covered strawberries for this birthday — and he shared them with his teammates at the team hotel Friday night.

“When I got to the hotel last night there were balloons everywhere and chocolate-covered strawberries decorated like footballs,” Murray say. “They were great.”

With his parents watching on television Saturday night, Murray continued to share treats with his buddies. He threw touchdowns to three receivers and led Georgia to a resounding 38-0 win over Auburn.

The victory clinched Georgia’s berth in the Dec. 1 SEC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome.

“It was a great celebration,” said Murray, who had passed for 208 yards by the time he left the game late in the third quarter. “I was pumped up, everybody was pumped up. The locker room was going crazy, water was being thrown everywhere, Coach jumping up and down. It’s huge to win the East back-to-back years. That’s not an easy thing to do.”

Murray made it seem easy on Saturday. He completed his first 10 passes of the game and had 186 yards by halftime. Coaches and teammates said he was near-perfect in terms of his calls and checks at the line of scrimmage.

“Aaron’s a play-maker; he’s a true quarterback,” said sophomore flanker Chris Conley, who hauled in Murray’s first TD of the night from six yards out. “He can go out there and make plays. He can make audibles. He sees the defense and makes the right checks. I feel like he was in his element tonight. He was able to make the right checks and get us in the right plays and our offense really reflected that.”

Murray took a step toward legendary status early in the second quarter. He was hit hard on a blitz by safety Cassanova McKinzy and had to leave the game.

But Murray stayed on the sideline for just one play. Walkon quarterback Parker Welch came in and handed off the ball in Murray’s absence. But Murray came trotting back on the next down – third-and-eight at the Auburn 18 – rolled right under pressure and hit Tavarres King with a strike just inside the boundary on the right side of the end zone.

Murray downplayed the whole episode.

“Oh, just got the breath knocked out of me there for a minute,” said Murray, who now has 83 TD passes at Georgia. “I probably could have played the next play, but I thought it might be smart if I just took a play off real quick and make sure I was ready to go and not make any stupid mistakes. The next play I got in was a touchdown so I guess a play off did me good.”

Murray has torched the Tigers the last two seasons. Including last season’s four-touchdown effort in a 45-7 win, he’s 32-of-42 for 432 yards and 7 touchdowns with no interceptions.

“Guess I still have a little grudge from that last time we were here,” Murray joked.

Meanwhile, Murray said his father is going to be fine. “My dad had some radiation and he can’t be around people right now for three or four days, so he had to stay back. Sad. First game he’s missed since I was like 8 years old. He wanted to be here, I wanted him to be here, but it’s the best thing for him.”

Saturday’s victory helps coaches’ bottom line

Georgia’s victory Saturday night will cost the UGA athletic department nearly $500,000. But it’s money with which athletic director Greg McGarity was more than happy to part.

Because of a new bonus structure implemented by McGarity, winning the SEC East title was worth twice to coach Mark Richt than it did under his previous contract. Richt’s new five-year deal, finalized late this summer, doubled his performance bonus for reaching the SEC Championship game from $75,000 to $150,000 and for winning it from $100,000 to $200,000.

McGarity orchestrated similar increases for Georgia’s assistant coaches. First he got rid of the yearly $10,000 longevity bonuses and rolled that money into their yearly base salaries. Winning the East now results in a 15 percent bonus on that amount. Winning the championship outright increases the bonus to 20 percent.

The lowest salary among Georgia’s assistants is $210,000, which is shared by five assistants. For them that’s a bonus check of $31,500. It will mean $45,000 for offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, $41,250 for assistant head coach Rodney Garner and $39,000 for linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti.

Like Richt, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has a specific performance clause in this contract. Grantham earns $50,000 and $75,000, respectively, for playing in or winning the SEC title game.

Added together, Georgia’s victory will cost UGA $482,750 in bonuses.

Offensive lineup shuffled

Georgia’s had a different starting lineup for the offensive line for the first time all season on Saturday. Because of the left shoulder injury suffered by Chris Burnette in the first half against Ole Miss last week, the junior from LaGrange was unable to make the trip to Auburn. That resulted in the first career start for Mark Beard at left tackle. The regular starter at that position, Kenarious Gates, moved inside to play left guard and regular left guard Dallas Lee switched over to Burnette’s position at right guard.

It made for a special night for Beard, who hails from Adamsville, Ala., which is about 120 miles northwest of Auburn, just outside Birmingham.

Conley shines

Conley, a 6-3, 205-pound sophomore from Paulding County, got his first career start on Saturday. Conley started at slot receiver in place of Marlon Brown, who underwent surgery this week after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the second half against Ole Miss.

Conley had a good night. He caught four passes for 32 yards, including a 6-yard TD to open the night’s scoring.

“It was great on a couple of different levels,” Conley said of the early TD grab. “It was great just to get started, to get warmed up in the game and everything like that. But it was also great to know my coaches had enough confidence in me to make those calls and allow me to go make those plays. So I’m really blessed and it felt great.”

Wearing No. 15

Senior Tavarres King said he approached coach Mark Richt about wearing Brown’s No. 15 jersey on Monday of these past week. The two are close friends and King didn’t want waste any time making his request.

King intended to honor Michael Bennett the same way when he went down with a knee injury the first week of October. But King said his hesitation cost him the chance to wear No. 82 in that instance.

“I asked them too late,” he said. “You know they have to strip the name off the back and put yours on and a bunch of other stuff. Waited too long.”

Feelings for friends

Two members of Richt’s original staff at Georgia were coaching on the Auburn sideline Saturday in defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder and secondary coach Willie Martinez. Richt was asked if he sympathized with them in light of the Bulldogs’ offensive domination.

“You’ve got to take your feelings and personalities out of it,” Richt said. “I’m a huge fan of Brian VanGorder and Willie Martinez. I love both those men and their families. They started the journey to Georgia with me and that was a special staff, a bunch of great guys. Football, you just never know what a week is going to bring or a season is going to bring. I know they’re great coaches, I can tell you that.”

They said it

“Both of them are sweet with their own tastes. Being able to get a shutout is a great thing from a personal standpoint for the defense. But we came out here tonight to get our ticket to the SEC championship and we were able to do that.”

– Linebacker Alec Ogletree on shutting out Auburn versus winning the SEC East

Etc. . . .

Georgia’s shutout Saturday was its first against Auburn since 1978 when it won 28-0 at Jordan-Hare. It was the Bulldogs’ seventh shutout under Richt and first since blanking Vanderbilt 43-0 in 2010. . . . Georgia is now 12-8-1 in title-clinching games against the Tigers. . . . Ogletree led the Bulldogs with 10 tackles and had a sack. . . . “Gurshall” combined for more than 200 yards rushing again. Todd Gurley had 116 yards on 11 carries, Keith Marshall had 105 on 8 and they both scored touchdowns.

39 comments Add your comment


November 11th, 2012
1:39 am

guess Chip and I are the only ones still up……or sober…………..


November 11th, 2012
2:02 am

Great effort and results! We just need a little help!

St Catherines Dawg

November 11th, 2012
2:55 am

How Bout them DAWGS!!!!!!

Now lets keep it up go to the dome and remove the curse of the blackout from our SOULS!!!!


November 11th, 2012
3:04 am

“We’re ready for Alabama,” Rambo said. “if that’s who we’re going to play.”

[...] posted here: Notebook: Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray celebrates his birthday in style ← Back to Home Tags: auburn, birthday, chocolate, continued, father, football, game, [...]


November 11th, 2012
7:30 am

I wonder if anyone in that stadium regrets their tattoo??? (Cough) Rueben (cough) Foster

1969 Graduate

November 11th, 2012
8:08 am

Congratulations to the Georgia players.

Yes, Aaron Murray is a quarterback! Is he a legend? I don’t think so. However, I think if he returns for another year, and continues to improve, which I believe he can do, as he’s a seriously good student of the game, and because he has a great work ethic and plenty of talent and smarts, he might really have a shot at a legendary senior year at UGA.

Yeah, I’m making a lot of perhaps unwarranted reloading assumptions.

Go, Georgia Bulldogs!

Dawg 13

November 11th, 2012
8:19 am

GET ON BOARD….Dawgs win with class . Not like auburn 2yrs ago. No book neede like that idiot coach wrote. No classless trooper jumping around . No ghetto farley . Be proud Dawg Nation . Like the Greatest Bulldog . Number 13


November 11th, 2012
8:28 am

Rushing stats suggest to me, we may need to get the ball to Gurschell more!


November 11th, 2012
9:00 am

Thomas Broun, that what they said about Texas A&M, not a chance of beating Alabama. Also, that what they said about what you said of “4 more years of the moron in the white house” had no chance of winning, and look what happened. GO Dawgs !


November 11th, 2012
9:18 am

That is why we are glad you are not a Dawg fan….just a moron!!! REAL Dawg fans are optimistic and support their team……even after after games like the SC debacle. UGa CAN beat Bama and if we get the chance to play in the NC….it will be a much easier team to beat than Bama or Florida. Go Dawgs…..think positive!!!!


November 11th, 2012
9:24 am

Tripp…….that is classic. I guess Reuban can lie to everyone(kinda like he is doing about moving to Auburn) and say the tattoo is just a “bummer birthmark”!!!!


November 11th, 2012
9:27 am

Murray is now #3 in the NATION in passing efficiency, well above media darling KSt QB, Matt Barkely, and AJ.

Murray won’t get an invite to the Hesiman, we all know that, and is not even being MENTIONED for it, which is kind of odd considering he has led his team to the BEST RECORD in the NATION’S TOUGHEST CONFERENCE and is 3RD IN THE NATION IN PASSER EFFICIENCY.

The more BIASED theANTI-UGA Media become, the more STUPID they all look.


November 11th, 2012
9:31 am

Putting up 38 points on Brian Van Gorder is nt as easy as it looks, ask LSU, they only scored 12 points on Auburn. But you won’t hear ANY MEDIA talking about that because IT DOESN’T FIT THEIR NARRATIVE.

Gurley and Jarvis Jones should BOTH be SERIOUSLY CONSIDERED for the Heisman Trophy, but neither will be,

Look at Jarvis’ impact:
#1 in nation in tackles for loss
#3 in nation in sacks

Gurley is on track if he runs for 500 more yards in the next 4 games (125 a game) to break Herschel Walker’s freshman record for yards, ON A LOT LESS CARRIES. Gurley is having a Herschel like year, on A LOT LESS CARRIES. That’s a MIND BLOW.


November 11th, 2012
9:37 am

Mark Ingram wins the Heisman rushing for 6.1 yards per carry.

Gurley is averaging 6.5 yards per carry, 11 rushing td’s, already at a 1000 yards with 4 games to go, and being ignored by the media for the Heisman.


November 11th, 2012
9:41 am

UGA was the ONLY team to SHUTOUT AUBURN.

But you WON’T HEAR that in the MEDIA.


November 11th, 2012
10:15 am


All are ranked in the top 20 scoring in OFFENSE AND DEFENSE.

KST doesn’t have 5 top 10 teams in their conference.

Aaron seems to ge a good, and is a good-looking guy.

November 11th, 2012
10:31 am

Thanks, Aaron, despite the coaches you have, you’ve giving us a lot to be proud of. WHY ISN’T AARON IN THE HEISMANN TROPHY HUNT!


November 11th, 2012
10:54 am

Conley did great filling in for injured MB. His play had to be a big boost to his coaches and team mates. Relieved a lot of fans feelings of woe as well. Murray is a good as any QB in the US when given protection and not under pressure. He didn’t look jittery as he did in the SC or FL games. If he can stay cool under pressure GA can play w/anyone in the country. GA needs AM to win. The Gurshall boys were outstanding tonight. OL dsrerves high marks for the blocking. Can’t say enough about the D and the way they’ve played since SW called them out after the KY game. I think the D can play w/AL if they’re not on the field all night. AM and the O must have sustained drives leading to scores. Keep the pressure on AL’s D and allow ours to rest. Cannot go 3 and out over and over otherwise AL will begin to tire GA’s D. That’ll spell doom for the dawgs. Keep truckin’ dawgs all the way to the dome and beyond.

Steve spurriet

November 11th, 2012
10:57 am

I was robbed. My lil team of chickens gets no respect. We are a joke and we will end up in a joke bowl. I m wonderful. Iu was my shot at the sec east and he is toast ,like my shot at SC greatness. I have done nothing that is remarkable, while at SC. Nothing.

UGA owns the east.


November 11th, 2012
11:17 am

Happy Birthday, AM. Very happy for your Dad’s recovery as well. Dawg Nation is proud and thankful to have you as their QB. Good luck the rest of the season.

The tide ain't rolling and A&M stopped them

November 11th, 2012
2:14 pm

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Orlando Dawg

November 11th, 2012
2:23 pm

Kudos, Happy Bday AM and best to your Dad! Great complete game! You Dawgs make me proud! Hell, I can wear my UGA apparel around Orlando and love it! Finish the DRILL….!!!!

johnny o

November 11th, 2012
2:59 pm

It was 1976 when we shut out Auburn 28-0. We tie 22-22 in 1978!!!!!!!!!


November 11th, 2012
3:23 pm

By the way, all of you who think that Alabama losing will hurt Georgia’s chances to get to the NCG are WRONG. Actually, it will benefit UGA. Why?

1 – UGA was not going to the NCG without 2 of the 3 unbeaten teams losing no matter how highly ranked Bama will be when we play them. Even if we upset #1 Alabama, the biased folks at ESPN will not let the Dawgs leap 2 undefeated teams, no matter what. Get this in your heads. It wasn’t going to happen. We still need 2 out of 3 unbeatens to lose, nothing has changed. Now when we play them, even if they are #4, if there is only one unbeaten team left, then if we beat them we will get to #2 and will make it to the NCG.

2 – NOW that Bama has lost 1 game, the national media are forced to prematurely have the conversation about whether a 1-loss Bama team should leapfrog any unbeatens. Now, some in the media are going to say “yes, they should, if they win the SEC.” Because of this, the media is starting the conversation early, so if many of them for some reason are saying “yes, the SEC is so hard, and a one-loss SEC Champion deserves to play in the NCS (referencing Bama of course, not UGA)” they are setting themselves up for contradiction if and when UGA wins the SEC.

3 – Bama fans are the most obnoxious fans in the SEC. They’re starting to get more annoying than Florida fans and that’s saying something. It’s great to see them put back in their place and great to see them depressed. Now they have to go back to their crappy trailers and broken dreams in one of the most boring, racist, depressing states in the country. My black heart derives so much glee at this prospect.

The tide ain't rolling and A&M stopped them

November 11th, 2012
3:40 pm

Ha ha ha ha ha ha

[...] 2. Aaron Murray celebrates his 22nd birthday with three touchdown passes. [...]

Rick James

November 11th, 2012
4:02 pm

I thought it was interesting to hear Lou Holtz call Aaron Murry the most underated quarterback in the country yesterday..


November 11th, 2012
6:20 pm

Is Auburn a trailer park or what? Trash! Trash! Trash!


November 11th, 2012
9:15 pm

Beard # 79 has a tell
on pass plays he rolls his shoulders before the ball is snapped
he only does it on pass plays
so the defense can watch him and know dawgs will pass and not run
he does it almost every time
watch the auburn game you cannot miss it


November 11th, 2012
10:37 pm

When Uga was winning all those games in early to mid 2000 David Green got no Heisman talk zero, Green left the game the all time win leader in the ncaa football no talk.


November 12th, 2012
4:12 pm

Enter your comments here


November 13th, 2012
11:34 am

Enter your comments here


November 13th, 2012
1:16 pm

Tomas, president Obama was duly elected by 50+ % of the vote and 332-206 in electoral college! He is the president of e United States! It is why you vote just like it is why we will play the SEC championship. It is why we did not quit after losing to SC. You play the game!!, and guess what I like our chances!!!!!


November 13th, 2012
6:50 pm

I like your chances too Lonnie. Too lose by 21 points or more.


November 14th, 2012
9:58 am

Ok AW. That is why we play the game!!!

[...] Game notes: QB Aaron Murray celebrates birthday in style [...]


November 16th, 2012
4:33 am

Great game Murray, and happy birthday. Hope your dad has a full recovery and hope to see him at the Ga. Southern game. As Dr Lou said, Murray is underrated. Which gives him something to prove. Somebody else that’s underrated is Coach Will Friend. Not only has he continually patched together a o-line week after week but has done so with a true freshman and a couple sophomores and juniors. Yes that’s right no seniors on that o-line which means next season should be great offensively for the Dawgs. Especially if Murray decides to stay for a senior year. You know it’s got to be eating Tide Roll or Roll Tide for our o-line to prosper. King and Brown are the only 2 seniors on offense. I was on a couple of teams with Kings father Anthony, up here in the NE Ga Mountains. Great to see a local kid have a fine career at UGA. If Geathers stays for his senior season we should have a pretty good defense next season as well, J. Jones will be impossible to replace, but Jordan Jenkins is turning out to be a great replacement. JH Clemons will be added in there somewhere as well. 2013 could be another good season for the Dawgs.

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