Georgia Football: Bulldog’s Comeback Falls One Play Short

Nov 16, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers wide receiver Ricardo Louis (5) catches a tipped ball by Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Josh Harvey-Clemons (25) and scores the game winning touchdown at Jordan Hare Stadium. The Tigers defeated the Bulldogs 43-38. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

The comeback of the year award was in Aaron Murray’s grasp, former teammate Nick Marshall snatched it away with a play that instantly became Auburn legend. Marshall faced a 4th and 18 on his own 27 yard line with just 36 seconds remaining in the game, down by one after the Bulldogs had scored three touchdowns in less than eight minutes, the 73 yard pass to Ricardo Lewis bounced off the fingers of Josh Harvey-Clemons as he ran into Trey Matthews, Lewis looked over his left shoulder just in time for destiny to fall into his hands.

Auburn won 43-38.

The first quarter was all Auburn, the Georgia offense ran a total of six plays on two quick three and outs, the Tigers put a touchdown and a field goal on the board.

Murray finally got the offense on track in the second quarter with an 8 play 75 yard drive that Todd Gurley’s 9 yard touchdown finished off, Marshall Morgan kicked a 37 yard field goal as time expired but the Dawgs defense didn’t have an answer to Auburn’s up tempo read option and the Bulldogs trailed 27-10 at the half.

Both teams traded touchdowns in the 3rd quarter, Murray led the opening drive 75 yards down the field in 10 plays and scored on a 16 yard scramble, the 34-17 score after 3 quarters felt like a mountain too high to climb to everyone but Aaron Murray.

After Auburn kicked a 32 yard field goal, Murray went to work, he found Rantavious Wooten for a 5 yard touchdown then hit Arthur Lynch on a 24 yard TD , Murray scrambled and scored on 4th down at the 5 yard line to tie the game at 37, Morgan gave the Dawgs the lead for the first time on the PAT.

Auburn fans were shocked to look up and see 1:49 remaining with the Dawgs leading 38-37. Jordan Jenkins sacked Marshall on 3rd down at the 27 to set up the play that will forever make Nick Marshall a Tiger legend.

Murray had one last shot and drove the Dawgs 55 yards to the Auburn 20 where his final attempt with 3 seconds remaining was incomplete, he finished the day with career high of 33-for-49 for 415 yards and 2 TDs plus had 37 yards rushing on nine attempts with 2 TDs.

SEC Tackle Leader Ramik Wilson finished the game with a career-high 18 tackles including 12 solo stops.

Post Game Quotes

Mark Richt, photo by Sonny Kennedy, http://www.sonnykennedyphotography.com/

Mark Richt, photo by Sonny Kennedy, http://www.sonnykennedyphotography.com/

Coach Mark Richt

On initial reaction…
“It was a very interesting ball game. Congratulations to Gus Malzahn and the Auburn Tigers. What he’s done with that team has been tremendous. We played a great team playing great in their house. It looked kind of bleak there for a minute and the boys just started fighting. We got ourselves in position to take the lead, obviously late in the game. We gave them a fourth and 18 and that’s almost as good as it gets. To their credit, they did make a play. Sure enough, our guys don’t give up then with 25 seconds to go. We had a couple timeouts and took couple shots in the end zone. Just a whale of a game I guess.”

On a situation you can’t do anything about…
“Well there are some things that we learned and we certainly did some things that cost us throughout the game and we’ve got to do better. Of course they did some things that could have cost them too; it’s just one of those games. When losing, you tend to look at the things you should have done and when you win, you just think about how great it is. There were a lot of really positive things. As good as Auburn is and has been playing, they’ve got all the momentum going. Even that stop in the red zone to force a field goal to keep it at three scores, when that happened we all said it’s not over, we’ve got a chance here still. We’ve still got a chance to get three scores, and sure enough we did.”

On Aaron Murray’s performance…
“It was a big day for Aaron and for the team. It’s a team thing. Obviously, you need your quarterback to play well to get back in the game and he did. Early on we didn’t protect very well. As the game went on, we gave him time and that was a big part of it. Guys were making catches. Coach was calling good plays. Murray did a really wonderful job.”

On what he said to team after game…
“I didn’t know what to say after that. I told them I thought they were a pretty amazing group of guys to get it to 38-37 like we did. I think most teams would have folded or found a reason to quit but they didn’t do that. I just talked a little bit about what we could learn from it. We had a lot of things happen in the game that if we were more disciplined we would have been in better shape. I talked about being disciplined on and off the field. If your goal is to live a disciplined life, you probably have a blessed life. I just said be first class when you speak to the media and give credit to our opponent, who did a good job and get ready to honor our seniors next week in their last game between the hedges against Kentucky.”

On special teams play…
“We blocked a kick which was big. We covered on kickoffs extremely well, we’re one of the best teams in America at that and we did a very good job there. Unfortunately our big boy jumped over the shield and you can’t do that. He didn’t get very high, but he jumped. That was another thing that was costly to us. Obviously, we couldn’t return any kickoffs because every kick went out of the back of the end zone. We made every kick, extra point and field goal wise. They did a good job of kicking it high. We might have gone for a block, but the last thing you want to do is rough the kicker and give them life.”

On Auburn’s rushing attack…
“They’re very good at that; that’s what they do. It was their passing attack that really made a difference. When you play a team that runs the ball that much and that well, they’re going to get their yards; that’s just part of it. When they had to throw and catch it, they did.”

On the player involved in the last throw on defense…
“I talked to him. I just said it’s a team sport and what we have to learn from these things is that there are a lot of other plays that happen throughout the game that could have made a difference. It seems like it all came down that one play, but everybody else had some chances to do some good things as well. We’ve just got to learn as we go. We’ve got some true freshmen out there and sometimes you have to learn the hard way.”

On the last defensive play…
“It wasn’t a fluke play. They launched it out there and were hoping for a miracle. When you’re playing that type of prevent defense, the goal is to not let anybody behind you. The goal is to knock the ball down and end the game. It just didn’t happen.”

Aaron Murray, photo by Sonny Kennedy, http://www.sonnykennedyphotography.com/

Aaron Murray, photo by Sonny Kennedy, http://www.sonnykennedyphotography.com/

Quarterback Aaron Murray

On the last play…
“That’s a freak play. It’s like a nightmare. You try to wake up, and we are celebrating victory. It’s tough. This is going to be a tough one to get over.”

On Auburn’s defense…
“They were dropping their guys. They didn’t want to get beat deep, which gave me the opportunity to drop the ball off and get the ball into the running backs hands on the check downs.”

Wide Receiver Rantavious Wooten

On the way the game ended…
“I am extremely proud of this team for not giving up. We were down in the first half and we fought and we managed to take the lead. It’s definitely not the way I wanted it to go, but it is one of those things where it is football and it happens.”

On sending the seniors off strong…
“The season isn’t over with. We will approach it just like any other game. It’s going to be my last game in Sanford Stadium, so we have to talk to the young guys and tell them to keep the faith and keep fighting.”

Todd Gurley, photo by Sonny Kennedy,http://www.sonnykennedyphotography.com/

Todd Gurley, photo by Sonny Kennedy,http://www.sonnykennedyphotography.com/

Running Back Todd Gurley

On what his mentality was heading into the game…
“They did a great job as far as keeping the ball. Their offense was executing, so they had possession for most of the game. We just have to regroup. We knew we would be able to come back, because on the drive that we did score, we scored pretty fast.”

 On getting the lead late in the game…
“It felt good to know that we had that fight in us. Everybody was on the same track.”

On getting ready for Kentucky…
“We are going to watch film on Monday. It is what it is. It isn’t like we have never lost before this season, so we just have to get it out of the way and move forward.”

Offensive Lineman John Theus

On the protection improving in the second half…
“We were able to make some adjustments. We changed up some of our counts. We were able to execute better. That is the main thing.”

On the adjustments the offense made at halftime…
“Our coaches did a great job on the field. We came up with a plan at halftime and executed on plays we knew were going to work. We were able to execute their plan in the second half and it worked.”

On if Auburn did anything to surprise them…
“No, they played how we thought they would.”

Photos are copyrighted property of Sonny Kennedy Photography,
http://www.sonnykennedyphotography.com/

Topics: Georgia Bulldog Football, Georgia Bulldogs

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