ATHENS - Aaron Murray is famously mild-mannered and happy-go-lucky. So one of the biggest shocks of last Saturday's game was Georgia's senior quarterback drawing a personal foul penalty.
It came in the waning moments, as Georgia was kneeling down to run out the clock, and Florida wasn't eager to let the Bulldogs enjoy the moment. It also came after Murray was among several Bulldogs sarcastically applauding the Gators for committing a personal foul to give them a game-clinching first down.
Tempers flared, and Murray was one of four players - two on each side - to draw a personal foul. Murray was chirping at the Gators, and was warned by an official before the flag was thrown.
"He was telling me he was about to throw a flag on me if I didn't shut up, and I just kept going," Murray said Tuesday. "He was like, 'Aaaarrooon.'"
Murray couldn't resist. It was an unusual moment for him.
"I really don't like talking trash," he said. "Because in high school the one time I did talk trash the next play is when I broke my leg. So I was like, it's just bad karma so I'm not supposed to talk trash."
Head coach Mark Richt said he thought about pulling Murray so he wouldn't get a second flag, which would mean an automatic suspension for this Saturday's game. But Murray said it wasn't an issue.
"No, after I got the flag thrown on me I was like, that's enough already, control yourself," Murray said.
It wasn't the first instance of chippiness. Six Georgia players, and five from Florida, were flagged for unsportsmanlike penalties. Georgia star tailback Todd Gurley was among them, apparently angry after having his helmet tugged. Gurley has some chippiness to him, but senior tight end Arthur Lynch and senior guard Chris Burnette were also flagged, and like Murray those two are generally known for their sportsmanship.
"It was just an emotional game. It is every year," Murray said. "There's always a lot of talking, some extra pushing and shoving. It's just the way the game goes. It means a lot to both teams. No matter what our records are, how those seasons are going, that game is always a special one. Like I said, there's always extracurriculars going on."
Hutson Mason time?
Georgia isn't making Hutson Mason available for interviews this week, or in previous weeks. But his roommate is junior receiver Michael Bennett, who confirmed the quarterback is itching to see action Saturday against Appalachian State - if it can be arranged.
"It'd just be really nice to get him out there and get him some confidence going into next year," Bennett said. "So hopefully that'll happen."
Mason has yet to throw a pass this year, and the only snaps he's taken were at the end against North Texas. It's a byproduct of Georgia playing so many close games. Mason is the heir apparent to replace Murray next year. This year, his passes have been in practices.
"He knows the deal, it's Aaron's team," Bennett said. As for how much game experience Mason would need heading into next year, Bennett added: "I don't know how much he needs, who knows, that's up to him. But it's always nice to get in the game. It's a confidence-booster to get in the game. Because practice is just different. It's not the game. So if he gets some nice passes in the game I'm sure that'll give him a lot of confidence going into next year."
Richt compared Appalachian State's offense to Clemson, at least in schematics.
"They like to spread you out. They like to go up-tempo," Richt said.
Defensively, Appalachian State likes to blitz out of its 3-4 scheme, and overall Richt compares the Mountaineers in scheme to Missouri and Vanderbilt.
So to sum up, Richt compared Appalachian State's offensive scheme to one of the teams that beat Georgia, and its defense to the other two teams it lost to. But the Mountaineers are 2-7, with all games coming against fellow FCS teams. (They're transitioning to the FBS level next year.)
Murray already has his bachelor's degree, and is working toward's a masters right now. He'll be leaving school after this semester to prepare for the NFL draft, but whenever his football career is over he plans on returning for even more school.
"Depending on how long my career lasts at the next level, I'm probably gonna try to come back and get in the graduate program, and finish up my masters, and maybe even a doctorate," he said.