TAMPA, Fla. - Brandon Boykin envisioned having a great performance in Monday's Outback Bowl against Michigan State.
That he did.
If only the outcome had been more desirable.
The Bulldog senior earned game MVP honors after his "triple crown" of sorts against the Spartans, accounting for a 16 of Georgia's 30 points, but following his team's triple-overtime loss, the sting from the 33-30 defeat was the only thing on his mind.
"That (the MVP) normally goes to the team that wins, but I guess they felt my performance was good enough to get it and I'm blessed for that," Boykin said of the award, which was voted on by the media attending the game. "But none of that can top getting a victory in my last game, so in that respect it did not go down like I wanted it to. Unfortunately, I can't do anything about that now except encourage the young guys to come back and continue to build, get us back to the SEC Championship."
It was certainly a game Boykin will never forget.
The senior made the game's first big play when on MSU's first offensive snap, tackled wide receiver Keshawn Martin in the end zone for a safety and a 2-0 Bulldog lead.
Late in the second, it was Boykin again, returning a punt 92 yards to help Georgia extend its halftime lead to 16-0 before pulling in a 13-yard touchdown catch from Aaron Murray give the Bulldogs a 27-20 lead in the fourth.
Boykin shrugged when asked if he had a favorite play.
"I don't know, I've never really had a favorite play; maybe the safety because I had never done that before," Boykin said. "I was just glad I was able to make something happen."
Boykin's punt return - his first for a touchdown after bringing back four kickoffs for scores earlier in his career, was a beautiful play to watch.
"Coach (Mark) Richt and Coach (Bryan) McClendon had told me he (the MSU punter) was outkicking his coverage. We were actually in a punt safe, so the defense was on the field; we didn't even have a return set up," Boykin said. "But I just told if they held their blocks and let me start to get going that maybe I could make something happen. I saw my guys try to make a wall, but I was too far away, I knew I wasn't going to get there so I turned up-field."
A key block by nose tackle John Jenkins helped spring Boykin for the score.
"John did a great job and after that all I saw was open space," he said. "I was pretty winded by the time I got there, though."
The return also enabled to Boykin to etch his name into the Bulldog record book on two fronts, one tying Prince Miller (2008 against Alabama) for the longest punt return in Georgia history and second topping Georgia's previous Bowl-best of 68 yards set by Charley Trippi in the 1945 Oil Bowl.
"(Boykin) is a dynamic football player and a great person, a guy who loves his team, loves Georgia and loves football," Richt said. "I know he's going to have a really good career. I'm sure he'll be a pretty high draft pick and have a great picture."
Boykin's touchdown catch was his second of the year, and third offensive score this season. He had a 42-yard touchdown catch against New Mexico State and an 8-yard touchdown run in the season-opener against Boise State.
"I've scored before on offense but never returned a kick or a punt in the same game, so it's a blessing," Boykin said. "It was a great way to go out, but I'd have been good with nothing if we would have come up with that victory."