No. 12 Michigan St beats No. 18 Georgia in 3OTs

Brandon Boykin hopes Georgia learned an important lesson from

the Outback Bowl.

”We made a huge stride this year just coming from a 6-and-7

season last year, but at the same time, the great teams finish when

they’re supposed to,” the Bulldogs cornerback said after the No.

18 Bulldogs lost 33-30 in triple overtime to No. 12 Michigan State

on Monday.

”The LSUs, the Alabamas, there’s a reason why they’re going to

the national championship. I feel like, if we want to be one of

those type teams, we’ve definitely got to finish games. We started

off hot this game and didn’t finish. Once we figure out how to

continually pound them and just continue to be consistent on each

side of the ball, Georgia can be special.”

Boykin sure was against the Spartans.

He returned a punt 92 yards for a touchdown, caught a 13-yard TD

pass and also scored a safety.

Georgia (10-4) finished on a two-game losing streak, including a

lopsided loss to top-ranked LSU in the SEC championship game.

”As a team, we’re excited about the future,” Georgia

quarterback Aaron Murray said. ”We just have to use this as

motivation. We had our opportunities to win this game. So, yeah,

it’s going to sting.”

Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins threw for 300 yards and led a late

rally to tie it, then Dan Conroy kicked a 28-yard field goal in the

third overtime that lifted the Spartans.

”It was a great ballgame,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said.

”I’m sure everybody enjoyed it, except for us at the end.”

Georgia’s Blair Walsh became the Southeastern Conference’s

career scoring leader with a field goal in the second extra period.

But he missed a 42-yarder in the first overtime after conservative

play-calling and had a 47-yard attempt blocked on the final play of

the game.

”I’d trade all the points I could to just have three points for

us,” Walsh said.

Michigan State (11-3) ended a five-game bowl losing streak with

its first postseason win since beating Fresno State in the 2001

Silicon Valley Bowl. The Spartans overcame a 16-0 halftime deficit

and scored the tying touchdown with 14 seconds left in

regulation.

Cousins led a 10-play, 85-yard drive without the aid of any

timeouts to wipe out a 27-20 deficit on Le’Veon Bell’s second

touchdown of the game in the closing seconds of the fourth

quarter.

Cousins was intercepted in the first overtime, giving the ball

to Georgia. After the Bulldogs had a short run on their first play

in overtime, Richt elected to simply center the ball for a field

goal try on third down, and Walsh’s kick was wide.

”Once we did get the interception, I felt like my man would

make the kick,” Richt said. ”It was well within his range. I felt

like he could easily make that kick and that have ended the game

there if we did make it.”

Boykin helped the Bulldogs take the lead, but one of the

nation’s stingiest defenses couldn’t protect it down the

stretch.

”Of course I’m upset right now, you know, that we lost,”

Boykin said. ”Without a doubt, I’d take away my performance if we

can get a victory.”

Murray threw for 288 yards and one touchdown. He had an 80-yard

scoring pass to Tavarres King, who had six receptions for 205

yards.

The Bulldogs began their year with losses to Boise State and

South Carolina before rebounding to win the final 10 games of the

regular season. Georgia led top-ranked LSU early in the SEC title

game before being dominated over the last three quarters to lose a

shot at a spot in a Bowl Championship Series game.

Boykin tackled Keshawn Martin in the end zone for a safety on

Michigan State’s first offensive play, converging on the receiver

at almost the same time as Cousins’ side screen. The 2-0 lead stood

for Georgia until Murray made his long TD throw to King, who

settled under the perfectly thrown pass at the Spartans 25 and

never broke stride to get into the end zone.

Less than two minutes later, Boykin brought Georgia fans to

their feet when he settled under Mike Sadler’s punt at his own

8-yard line and retreated to the 5 before cutting back toward the

middle of the field, finding his way through a maze of defenders

and outrunning the pursuit to score on the longest punt return in

Outback Bowl history.

”He’s a very dynamic football player,” Richt said.

Boykin’s second TD, finishing a five-play, 81-yard drive fueled

by Murray’s 53-yard completion to King, put Georgia up 25-20.

Murray’s 2-point conversion pass to Malcolm Mitchell gave the

Bulldogs a 7-point advantage before Cousins went to work.

”You hate to lose,” Richt said. ”Right this minute,

definitely not too thrilled, but in time this one will heal. I

still think that our guys had a good year, not a great year.”