With today’s 45-31 victory, the fifth-ranked Dawgs under Mark Richt become only the third team in school history to register at least 12 wins in a year. They join the 1980 national champions (12-0) and the 2002 SEC champions (13-1). Georgia improved to 27-18-3 in bowl games in this their record 16th consecutive trip to the postseason. Georgia is 4-1-1 in bowl games in Orlando. Also, Georgia had its eighth game this year with at least 40 points and finishes with a school record 529 points this year, an average of 37.8, also a school record.
Bowl Records: Georgia’s 45 points was a bowl record, the old mark was 44 in the 2009 Independence Bowl victory over Texas A&M (44-20). The six TDs today tied a bowl record, also by the 2009 team in the aforementioned bowl and the 1942 Orange Bowl.
Jarvis Jones Sets 2 Records: In the first half, junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones collected two sacks to give him a school record 14.5 for the year (the old mark was 14 by David Pollack in 2002 who is here today broadcasting for ESPN). Jones also set a school-record for a season with 24.5 tackles for loss, breaking Pollack’s record of 23.5 in 2002. Jones had a team-high 7 tackles at the half. Jones missed a pair of games this season due to injury and the final two games of the regular season came against spread-option offenses. Jones finished with eight tackles.
Defense: After allowing 24 points in the first half, the Dawg defense limited Nebraska to seven points and 197 yards of total offense in the second half, and the Cornhuskers got 75 yards and the TD on their first possession in the second half. The leading tackler was junior Alec Ogletree with 13, 3 TFL and a sack. Senior Shawn Williams had 11 including a blocked punt.
Records Galore For Bowl MVP Aaron Murray: Junior quarterback Aaron Murray finished 18-for-33 for 427 yards and a school record-tying 5 TD passes. The 5 TDs and 427 yards plus 87-yard TD pass were all Georgia bowl records. The 427 yards was the fourth most in a game in school history. In the first half, Murray was 11-for-23 for 195 yards with 2 TDs, 2 INTs. Following a safety on a blocked punt, Georgia compiled a 10-play, 80-yard drive for a TD, capped by a 29-yard TD pass to tight end Arthur Lynch. Murray set the single-season Passing Yardage Record on that play, giving him 3,544, eclipsing Eric Zeier’s 3,525 yards in 1993. Later in the first quarter, Nebraska got a pick-six to take a 14-9 lead with 4:15 and erase a 9-0 deficit. Murray came right back to throw a 75-yard TD pass to senior Tavarres King for a 16-14 lead. That big play gave Murray the single-season Total Offense Record with 3,548. The old mark was 3,499 by Matthew Stafford in 2008. The 75-yard TD completion was the longest of the year until later in the contest. Murray connected with sophomore Chris Conley for a 49-yard TD strike and then a two-point conversion to sophomore Rhett McGowan to tie the game at 31 with 7:26 left in the 3rd. It was a career-long catch for Conley. Georgia is now 3-4 on 2-point conversions this season.
Murray found freshman tailback Keith Marshall for a 24-yard TD pass to make it 38-31 in the 4th. It set several marks including a bowl record 4 TD passes; tied his single season TD passes mark with 35 and established a TD-responsibility record for a season with 38. He was not done as he hooked up with Conley for an 87-yard TD bomb, the longest in Dawg bowl history to make it 45-31 with 11:03 left. It was the longest TD pass in school history since a record 93-yarder in 2003 from David Greene to Tyson Browning at LSU. Murray’s tied a Georgia record for TD passes in a game. For the season, Murray finishes with 3,893 yards, 36 TD passes, completing 249-of-388.
Another Safety To Start a Bowl: Senior safety Shawn Williams blocked a punt on Nebraska’s first possession that rolled out of the end zone for a safety and a 2-0 lead. It marked the second straight bowl that the Dawgs first points came on a safety. Last year in the Outback Bowl, it was Brandon Boykin with a tackle in the end zone on a screen. Today marked the fifth safety in Dawg bowl history along with the 1943 Rose Bowl, 1969 Sugar Bowl, 1989 Peach and 2012 Outback Bowl. Prior to today, Georgia’s last safety came against Ole Miss this year (Alec Ogletree -TFL-3).
Points off Turnovers: Georgia got 7 points off 2 INTs (Damian Swann-2) and 1 fumble (Alec Ogletree, forced and recovered). Nebraska got 7 points off 2 INTs including a pick-six by Will Compton. Sophomore cornerback Damian Swann notched his 3rd and 4th interceptions of the year to tie a bowl record. He returned the first one to the Nebraska 38 and the Dawgs eventually scored a TD on a 24-yard run by freshman Todd Gurley and a 24-13 lead. Georgia is now +11 in turnover margin and has scored 71 points off 30 turnovers. Opponents have tallied 66 points off 19 Dawg miscues. Swann is the fifth Dawg in bowl history to have 2 picks in a game.
”Gurshall:” Georgia split carries between freshman tailbacks Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley with Marshall making his first career start. Gurley finished with 125 yards on 23 carries with 1 TD while Marshall had 8 carries for 36 yards. Gurley wound up with 17 rushing TDs for the year, which ranks in a tie for third most in a single season. For the year, Gurley had 1,385 yards which is the second most in school history by a freshman, trailing only Herschel Walker (1,616 in 1980). Gurley’s season total ranks 6th overall in Dawg history. Gurley tallied 9 games with at least 100 yards rushing, which ranks tied for 3rd in school history for a season.
For Starters: Two first-time starters today in freshman tailback Keith Marshall and junior split end Rhett McGowan.
Captains: Seniors Tavarres King (Flanker), Shawn Williams (Strong Safety) and Ty Frix (Long Snapper) plus juniors Aaron Murray (Quarterback) and Jarvis Jones (Outside Linebacker) served as the captains.
Injuries: Sophomore split-end Malcolm Mitchell left the game in the first quarter with a concussion and did not return. Senior defensive end Abry Jones did not play as he was aiming to come back from an ankle injury, which had sidelined him since late October.
Final Game: In addition to the seniors on the team, junior inside linebacker Alec Ogletree confirmed that he will not return for his senior season and will enter this years NFL draft.