Murray, Georgia rout Mississippi

semerson@macon.comNovember 3, 2012 

ATHENS -- Aaron Murray had been waiting for the play call. The Georgia quarterback could tell it was coming even before it was officially signaled in.

“Our signal guy had a big smile on his face, and I was like, ‘Yes,’ ” Murray said.

There was less preparation a little bit later for the next game-changing play. But the result was the same.

Two plays turned a game from an upset chance for Mississippi into the expected rout for No. 6 Georgia and kept alive the Bulldogs’ hopes for an SEC title. They won going away 37-10 after taking their first lead with three seconds left in the first half.

Ole Miss, playing above its heads much of this season, gave Georgia a scare in the first half, in fact leading 10-0 through nearly 20 minutes of action. There was some booing among the anxious fans at Sanford stadium.

Then came the two plays: First Murray hit Marlon Brown on a trick play, a 66-yard touchdown. And on the final play from scrimmage in the second half, Murray turned a scramble into a 40-yard touchdown pass to Tavarres King, giving the Bulldogs the lead for good.

Now Georgia (8-1 overall, 6-1 SEC) needs only beat Auburn this week to clinch its second straight SEC East title.

Emotion has been a big topic around the Georgia football program lately -- why it seemed necessary to win games this year and what spurred emotion.

It was clear that those two plays provided that spark on Saturday

“Oh I don’t think there’s any doubt,” head coach Mark Richt said. “You could just watch our fans, they were getting antsy, you could tell. They were concerned about what was going on. ... Once we hit the long touchdown to Marlon that made everyone feel a bit better up on the sidelines and up in the stands. And then to have that last play at the end of the half be a touchdown and us be able to take a lead, I think everybody felt a lot better about it.”

The play was mainly contingent on Murray selling a fake handoff, and the defense biting on it. Both happened. Brown ran uncovered downfield, and Murray hit him in stride for a 66-yard touchdown.

Murray was asked what was going through his head as he basically stood still, pretending not to still be holding the football.

“Lots of praying, ‘Please don’t get hit, please don’t get hit,’ ” he said. “But you’ve just gotta trust that the play’s gonna work.”

It was the same play Georgia has run successfully four times the past 12 years, according to head coach Mark Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo. The most memorable time was in 2001 against Auburn.

“We’ve run it more times, but it’s only worked four times, so those are the only ones I try to remember,” Bobo said. “I just felt we needed something, a big play. I thought we could get the first down with one of our short yardage plays. But I just thought we needed to take a shot right there.”

“I told Marlon after he ran it, ‘You’re in the (highlights) for a long time, because we haven’t run it in a while,’ ” King said.

It was King’s turn at the end of the half. But that wasn’t so much planned.

Georgia was driving again late in the half, but seemed about to waste its chance, after two sacks and letting 30 seconds needlessly run off the clock. On a play that started at the Ole Miss 40, Murray was flushed out of the pocket and spotted King downfield. Murray threw on the run and hit King near the goal-line.

“It was one of those times that I felt like his eyes were this big, and my eyes were this big,” King said. “And we just saw each other and I was like, ‘Yeah. Throw.’ ”

“Once I got out of the pocket it was pretty easy to see him and hit him,” Murray said.

That was instant momentum turner entering halftime, and Georgia kept it going.

“I felt like it was something we needed,” King said. “It was a big play. One of many big plays. And just something we needed to regroup and refocus and that’s what we did at halftime.”

On the first drive of the second half, Murray found Malcolm Mitchell for a 42-yard touchdown. The Bulldogs scored again on the next drive, this time via an 8-yard touchdown run by Zander Ogletree.

The next score came from another Ogletree -- Zander’s twin brother Alec tackled Ole Miss running back Jeff Scott in the end zone for a safety.

It was a huge day for the Ogletrees: Zander Ogletree had the touchdown run, as well two catches; Alec Ogletree exploded for a sack, an interception, the safety and led the team in tackles.

It was a strong game overall for the Georgia defense. The Bulldogs built on their strong performance against Florida, especially against the run. Ole Miss entered the game ranked sixth in the SEC in total yards and scoring offense, but was held in check, especially in the second half.

Georgia freshman tailback Todd Gurley also had his sixth 100-yard rushing day of the season, propelled by a 31-yard gain in the fourth quarter.

Richt said he started getting his players ready for the Auburn game as soon as this one ended.

“I told the guys, ‘Get your mind right, right now. Get your jaw set,’ ” Richt said. “We’ve got seven more days before we can have an opportunity to finish.”

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