October 6, 2013

Murray sets new mark

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - One day, perhaps long after the season is over, quarterback Aaron Murray will look back and fondly recall the afternoon he etched his name into the record book as the all-time leading passer in SEC history.

But not now, not after going through what he did to lead the Bulldogs to their 34-31 overtime win over Tennessee.

"No, that was the last thing on my mind," Murray said when asked about the record. "I was just trying to help us win this game."

Maybe later.

With a 24-yard strike to junior flanker Chris Conley on 4th-and-4 in the second quarter, Murray set the SEC record in passing yardage.

He finished the game with 11,625 career passing yards after going 19-for-35 for 196 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-tying 2-yarder with just five seconds to go in regulation. Former Bulldog David Greene held the school and SEC records at 11,528. Murray also finished with 53 yards on the ground, including a career-long 57-yard run to the Tennessee 3-yard line. This run set up a 3-yard touchdown for freshman tailback Brendan Douglas, which was the first of his career that put Georgia up 24-17. Murray's previous career long was for a 35-yard touchdown against the Vols in 2010.

"I'm so proud of him. When you've got a chance to come back for your senior year instead of going pro, when you come back for this, come back for your teammates, come back to try and win a championship … he's done everything he can do to this point and I'm really proud of him," head coach Mark Richt said. "He played like a champion."

For the second straight week, he also came up clutch.

With 1:54 left in the contest and trailing 31-24, Murray led the Bulldogs on a 10-plays, 75-yard game-tying TD drive in 1:49, tossing a 2-yarder scoring pass to Rantavious Wooten with just five seconds left in regulation.

"Whatever it was, under two minutes anyway, to bring us down the field to score was amazing," Richt said. "Quite frankly the touchdown throw, the play really called for a fade to the outside but he didn't like what he saw so he just jammed it in there. He just stuck in there, man. I didn't know where he was throwing it when he threw it but I'm glad he did. He saw what he saw and put it on it."

Murray gave Wooten all the credit for making a great catch.

"I just tried to put it somewhere where only he could catch it," Murray said. "He did a great job making an unbelievable catch. He had a great game today."

However, knee injuries to two of his favorite targets - Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley - left the win tasting more than a little sour.

"It stinks. A lot of guys when down today and that hurts a lot," Murray said. "We hit a lot of adversity all day long, but we were able to push through it. Some other guys stepped up and made big plays for us. We finished the drill."

But it wasn't easy.

"I told Coach Richt I've probably aged 10 years in the past two weeks," Murray said. "The first five or six weeks now … you've just got to love this team. No matter what happens, somebody goes down another guys steps up to the plate. We just keep fighting, keep pushing and keep finding ways to win."

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