JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Orson Charles won't tell how he knew. But the Georgia tight end conceded he thought quarterback Aaron Murray was a bit antsy as the Bulldogs were leaving the team hotel prior to Saturday's 34-31 overtime loss to Florida.
"I knew he was nervous," Charles said. "I won't say how I knew, but I could tell as we were leaving. I told him I had his back."
Murray definitely endured a case of the jitters in his first game against his home-state Gators.
On the game's first play, Murray was intercepted by Janoris Jenkins, one of three interceptions by Murray, who also lost a fumble which led to another Florida score.
"I may have been a little juiced up, but that's no excuse," Murray said. "That's no excuse for the mental mistakes that I made."
Murray did throw for a career-high 313 yards and three touchdowns, but failed to complete 50 percent of his passes (18-for-37) and was 0-for-5 before hitting Tavarres King for a 63-yarder to tie the game at 7-7 in the second quarter.
"He was excited to start the game," offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. "He missed on a couple of things early, just didn't execute, but the kids didn't give up and executed a lot better in the second half."
Unfortunately, Murray couldn't get the mistakes out of his system as it was his interception in overtime by Gator Will Hill, who returned the pick 89 yards before Chas Henry won the game with a 37-yard field goal.
The Bulldogs faced a third down when Murray looked for A.J. Green but the pass was behind the Bulldog receiver and tipped into the hands of Hill, effectively ruining what chances Georgia had of winning the game.
"Yeah, I was looking at A.J. but threw behind him. You throw anything near A.J. and he's going to come down with it, but I threw it waaay behind him and the guy made a tip on the ball," Murray said. "With all the athletes they have, somebody is going to make a play in that situation and that's what they did."
It was definitely a frustrating afternoon.
Green was only targeted five times the first three quarters, catching two for just 12 yards before his 15-yard touchdown catch in triple coverage enabled Georgia to tie the game at 31.
With Green a non-factor, Murray turned to Charles who caught a season-high six passes for 108 yards and fourth-quarter score.
"We always want to get the ball into Orson's hands because he can make things happen," Murray said. "He made some tremendous plays."
Murray said it could have been more - if he had delivered the ball a bit more on time.
"I was a little erratic, especially early on," Murray said. "I know I made too many mistakes. The thing I've got to do is go back, watch the film and do whatever I can to make sure those kinds of things don't happen again."
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