No. 7 Georgia 56, FAU 20
For Aaron Murray, the individual records are just a bonus.
The Georgia quarterback has his sights on a title.
Murray passed for a career-best 342 yards and accounted for four
touchdowns – two passing, two rushing – to lead the No. 7 Bulldogs
back from another slow start for a 56-20 rout of Florida Atlantic
on Saturday night.
The gaudy numbers are nice, but not essential.
”The best legacy you can leave is winning games and winning
championships,” Murray said. ”I want to be known for that – not
just for throwing touchdowns and having a good game here and there.
I want to be known as a consistent quarterback and a quarterback
who led Georgia to some championships.”
Playing without Jarvis Jones and two other defensive starters,
the Bulldogs (3-0) struggled in the first half to slow a Florida
Atlantic team that scored a single touchdown against lower-division
Wagner. The 44-point underdog Owls kept converting third downs and
found themselves tied at 14 early in the second quarter.
But Georgia simply had too many weapons for Florida Atlantic
(1-2), piling up a school-record 713 yards. Murray completed 14 of
19, including a 67-yard touchdown to Michael Bennett and a
36-yarder to Arthur Lynch. Murray scored himself on a pair of
Murray, a fourth-year junior, eclipsed his previous high passing
game, a 326-yard effort last season against Vanderbilt. He now has
67 touchdown passes in his career, pulling even with Eric Zeier for
second place in the school rankings and only five behind the
leader, David Greene.
”Aaron was on fire,” said Georgia offensive coordinator Mike
Bobo. ”He was very sharp. He hit all his targets. He just threw
the ball extremely well. … It was good to see him start fast. We
needed him to start fast.”
Both of Georgia’s freshmen running backs went over 100 yards on
the ground. Todd Gurley ran for 111 yards, including a 38-yard
touchdown early in the third quarter that finally turned the game
into the expected rout. Keith Marshall had 104 yards and a TD.
”Opposing teams can’t game-plan against one facet of our
game,” Marshall said. ”They have to focus on everything.”
Florida Atlantic matched Georgia score for score in the early
Damian Fortner broke off a 43-yard touchdown run and Nexon
Dorvilus hauled in a 2-yard scoring pass from Graham Wilbert, tying
the game for the final time early in the second period.
”We came out pretty sharp,” said Wilbert, who finished 18 of
33 for 183 yards. ”We really played well against a good SEC
It didn’t last.
Marshall carried it five times for 57 yards on a 67-yard drive
that put the Bulldogs ahead to stay. He nearly scored his second
TD, but was tripped up about a half-yard from the end zone. Murray
finished it off with a sneak.
Getting it back against with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half,
Georgia quickly struck for another score that provided some
breathing room. Murray was sacked, but a slap to the face by Kayvon
Sherrill resulted in a 15-yard penalty. After the Bulldogs were
penalized for an illegal formation, Murray found Bennett streaking
open down the middle of the field, hitting him in stride for the
score that made it 28-14.
Georgia put the game away in the first 5 minutes of the second
After receiving the kickoff, the Bulldogs needed only six plays
to go 85 yards, Lynch hauling in a touchdown pass that was
initially ruled out of bounds at the 2. After looking at the
replay, the video official ruled that Lynch’s knee didn’t go down
until he stretched out to clip the pylon.
Florida Atlantic punted it away after three straight
incompletions, and Murray quickly hooked up with Tavarres King on a
25-yard pass to get the Bulldogs rolling again. Gurley capped
another lightning-quick drive with his long TD run.
The only blemish on Murray’s line was an interception in the end
zone when he should have thrown the ball away. But, in the very
next play, Amario Herrera stepped in front of Wilbert’s pass and
returned it 35 yards for a touchdown.
Georgia also struggled in the opening half of its first two
games, giving up 16 points to lowly Buffalo and trailing Missouri
10-9 at halftime. But the Bulldogs sure know how to finish,
outscoring their opponents by a combined 81-23 over the final two
Jones, who had a brilliant game against Missouri, was in uniform
and came out for the coin toss as one of Georgia’s captains. But
that was his only action, the Bulldogs deciding to give him the
night off to rest a nagging groin injury with a stretch of seven
straight Southeastern Conference games beginning next week.
Freshman Jordan Jenkins, who started in Jones’ place, had three
tackles and broke up a pass.
”Jarvis couldn’t have gone tonight and been productive, and you
definitely don’t want something to linger,” defensive coordinator
Todd Grantham said. ”We just felt like the best thing to do was
play the new guys, play the freshmen. As we move forward, that will
give us a chance to give Jarvis a breather.
Defensive back Sanders Commings and linebacker Chase Vasser
returned from suspensions, but All-American safety Bacarri Rambo
and starting linebacker Alec Ogletree remained on the sideline.
Coach Mark Richt hasn’t indicated when either will be cleared to
Before the game, Georgia introduced the newest in its line of
famous canine mascots. Russ, an 8-year-old bulldog, rode on the
field in red golf cart and was presented his collar by university
president Michael Adams.
With that, the pooch became Uga IX.
Follow Paul Newberry at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963