Quarterback Aaron Murray looked up from his stool during post-game interviews and gave a sheepish grin.
Yes, his 16-yard touchdown on the final play of the first half was one of the more exciting moments in Saturday's 55-7 win over Louisiana-Lafayette.
But as Murray recounted the touchdown he did so with a certain sense of relief.
"I'm just glad I scored, because if I hadn't I would have gotten yelled at for sure by the coaches for not throwing the ball away," Murray smiled. "I'm lucky I got in or else it might have been an ugly scene on the sideline."
Head coach Mark Richt agrees Murray was fortunate that he got in.
Although the Tampa native certainly made some points by completing 17-of-26 passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns, there were moments where both the quarterback and coach agreed that his decisions were not so wise.
Among them, an ill-advised dump while under pressure to fullback Shaun Chapas that resulted in a 12-yard loss and another when Murray should have been intercepted only to have his throwaway attempt go right through the arms of a Louisiana defensive back. Earlier, Murray was intercepted by safety Lance Kelley who picked off the ball after it went through the arms of wide receiver Kris Durham.
Of course, there was plenty more good than bad.
Murray displayed a knack for putting the football right on the numbers, including a beautiful pass to Durham when he threaded a perfect pass for 3-yard touchdown - his first scoring pass as a collegian - on the first play of the second quarter.
He also showed the ability to convert plays when flushed from the pocket.
Prior to his touchdown run, Murray was forced from the pocket, but dodged two would-be tackles, rolled back to his right before completing a 22-yard pass to former high school teammate Orson Charles to pick up a first down.
"Orson was joking with me, 'just like at Plant,'" Murray said. "We used to do that all the time in high school."
His 11-yard scoring pass to Chapas and 1-yard touchdown toss to Fred Munzenmaier were completed after well-executed fakes.
"Aaron did well. He's definitely got some things to learn from. We've already pointed some things out and we'll probably have more when we see the tape," Richt said. "That's part of the learning and growing process. We didn't put a tremendous amount in the plan. We tried not to overwhelm them with the plan, especially Murray."
Durham said he was impressed with the way Murray carried himself and led the offense in front of a sold-out Sanford Stadium crowd.
"He seemed like a veteran out there," Durham said. "He was able to go through all his checks and turn around and call a timeout if he saw something different for the call. That's something you don't always see in a quarterback. Every pass he threw was on the money, even the one I dropped. I was proud of him."
Still, Richt would like to see his redshirt freshman exhibit a little better judgment, especially when feels the urge to take off and run.
"Aaron moves well. We knew he was that kind of athlete. I don't want to turn him into a robot but I don't want him to think in that mode of operation every time the ball is snapped and I don't think he does," Richt said. "He's doing what comes naturally to him. He is athletic enough to get out of trouble and find people downfield. But once he crosses the line of scrimmage, as the season goes on, there will be bigger, faster guys chasing him and when I look at the depth chart at quarterback, we don't have many of them. I don't need him to take whacks for a 2-yard gain."
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